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GRIEVES Cuts No Corners at Fine Line

GRIEVES Fine Line Music Cafe Mr. Nice Guy Tour September 18 2019
GRIEVES by Katie Ahrens

Rhymesayers artist GRIEVES made a stop at Fine Line Music Cafe last night in the early weeks of his Mr. Nice Guy Tour. Bringing three unique artists along for the ride, the night was certain to be a riot for Twin Cities hip-hop lovers.

The Coolest Nur-D Guy Around

Nur-D GRIEVES Fine Line Music Cafe Mr. Nice Guy Tour September 18 2019
Nur-D by Katie Ahrens

I won’t lie, hip-hop isn’t typically the genre of music that I gravitate toward. But local rapper Matt Allen, also known as Nur-D, started the show off in a way that held my attention.

Before he even took to the stage his DJ warmed the crowd up with a well-balanced mix, including samples from Minnesota’s own Prof. Part of me was really digging this DJ because I’m still not over how horrible Lil Wayne’s was last week, but he didn’t really need that extra boost as his mixes were well-composed.

Soon enough, Nur-D stormed the stage with incredible zest and took control of the room within seconds. The guy is just a happy, sassy, and effervescent dude who likes to make a lot of old-school geeky references in his music (hence, the name).

From Mario Kart to Harry Potter, to the WWE (yeah, I noticed the Bullet Club nods), Nur-D has a reference for any flavor of nerd you may be.

I look super hot right now, girl take my picture

Nur-D

His whole gimmick was carefree and fun, but I’ll admit, I felt a great deal of responsibility during “Take My Picture” as he sang out, “I look super hot right now, girl take my picture” and I realized I was the only woman in the room with a camera.

Not wanting to disappoint, I did just that.

Nur-D GRIEVES Fine Line Music Cafe Mr. Nice Guy Tour September 18 2019
Nur-D by Katie Ahrens

Easily the best part of his set was when he brought out a brass section to aid him during “Gunshot Sounds.”

It became a full-on funky dance party at the points in the beat where it seemed like that sound effect should go instead, which is exactly the opposite of what you expect to happen when a song titled “Gunshot Sounds” starts play.

After his set, Nur-D could be found taking photos with fans and dancing along to the songs of the other artists on the tour. It was so genuine, and to have that same positive energy both on and off stage is beyond admirable.

With the deadly combination of Nur-D’s wit, charm, and talent, I can easily see this guy being the next Minnesota artist to blow up.

School is In Session

Student1 GRIEVES Fine Line Music Cafe Mr. Nice Guy Tour September 18 2019
Student1 by Katie Ahrens

Keeping in line with the apparent school-themed lineup, Student1 followed Nur-D.

As he took his place on stage, the first thing he announced was that he basically just liked getting high and spitting bars. (Clearly, this student is the school stoner). Complete with a backpack he wore throughout his entire set, Student1 was well-equipped to sell the gimmick.

Though it was hard to keep the energy flowing after Nur-D left the stage, I did still enjoy Student1’s style. It was more mellow, and much more in line with the bluesy hip-hop that headliner GRIEVES aligns himself with.

He announced that he played at Soundset this past summer, which I was definitely excited to hear, because I like the idea of this guy getting attention from a larger audience, as I adored his stage presence.

Student1 GRIEVES Fine Line Music Cafe Mr. Nice Guy Tour September 18 2019
Student1 by Katie Ahrens

Student1 has that, “I don’t have to try too hard to be cool” kind of vibe, which works really well for the character he plays while performing.

Still, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of him asking his DJ what song was next before starting every single one of them, but then effortlessly spitting out the words to his insanely precise hip-hop pieces.

Oh, its just weed – just weed, and notebooks

Student1

As his performance came to a close I couldn’t help but wonder what was, if anything, in the backpack he carried throughout the show. Luckily, someone else asked that question aloud, to which Student1 replied, “oh, its just weed, just weed and notebooks”. So there you have it, folks.

Swipe Left

Mouse Powell GRIEVES Fine Line Music Cafe Mr. Nice Guy Tour September 18 2019
Mouse Powell by Katie Ahrens

Mouse Powell Came out wearing a full-on blazer and a giant smile. He brought an insane amount of energy to his performance immediately. Despite his lively stage presence, I do have my criticisms.

His sound was fine, but his vibe was more of a fratboy-bro-rap, which never was and never will be my style. And if that isn’t bad enough, he took valuable seconds of his time on stage to make fun of his ex-girlfriend for liking F.R.I.E.N.D.S which is not cool ever.

My favorite aspect of his performance was honestly Dan E.T., who DJ’d and played various instruments throughout the performance while dressed in a fabulous sparkly jacket.

Mouse Powell GRIEVES Fine Line Music Cafe Mr. Nice Guy Tour September 18 2019
Mouse Powell by Katie Ahrens

Besides a spunky DJ and an upbeat stage presence, Mouse Powell didn’t bring much else to the table. It’s like he set the table up really nicely with very fancy dinnerware but then forgot to provide his guests with a meal.

Instead, he chugged whiskey on stage and talked about tinder. In the end, like most tinder bachelors, he was nice to look at but not all that interesting at his core so, I’d probably swipe left.

I’ll Take some Hip-Hop, On the Rocks

GRIEVES Fine Line Music Cafe Mr. Nice Guy Tour September 18 2019
GRIEVES by Katie Ahrens

It’s no secret that Minneapolis loves GRIEVES. Fine Line filled up for him the moment Mouse Powell concluded his set and waited impatiently for the local favorite. Soon enough, GRIEVES cooly and calmly walked up the stairs and approached the microphone stand at center stage, all smiles, as fans welcomed him warmly.

He greeted the room with gratefulness, then it was time for the show to begin as he broke into “A Okay.”

I appreciate GRIEVES as an artist for his cool, mellow beats and for his bluesy and jazzy undertones. I’ve seen him play once live before at Soundset in 2019 so I had a pretty good idea of what the energy would be like once he took to the stage. I was off by a long shot.

GRIEVES Fine Line Music Cafe Mr. Nice Guy Tour September 18 2019
GRIEVES by Katie Ahrens

Something to consider is the difference that location can make in a performance. Of course, I overlooked how limited GRIEVES was on the Soundset stage in comparison to how much more was truly available to him in a more intimate setting where he is headlining,

Based on what I’ve heard from his discography, I didn’t picture GRIEVES as one to joke around much and have fun on stage, but he turned out to be a riot.

From joking around with fans, to running back to DJ himself, to muffling the trumpet when Dan E.T. (our favorite member from Mouse Powell’s set) came out to join him on stage for a song, he clearly wasn’t taking himself too seriously.

As the night continued, he played plenty of favorites, both new and old and was sure to engage with the crowd all along the way.

For someone who doesn’t typically listen to hip-hop, I sure lucked out with this show!

GRIEVES Fine Line Music Cafe Mr. Nice Guy Tour September 18 2019
GRIEVES by Katie Ahrens

GRIEVES Setlist:

  1. A-Okay
  2. Perspective
  3. Bloody Poetry
  4. Sunny Side of Hell
  5. Tragic
  6. December
  7. I’ll Be Better
  8. Scar Gardens
  9. Let the Devil In
  10. Man Down
  11. Vice Grip
  12. Shreds
  13. On The Rocks
  14. Kidding Me

Author: Katie Ahrens

Written by Katie Ahrens

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