Around 7 p.m this passed Tuesday, an hour before the Mercy Lounge doors opened, a line of eager fans began to snake all around the boundaries of the parking lot, anxious and determined to snag a prime spot for Kevin Gates’ By Any Means Tour with special guest, Chevy Woods. As soon as 8:00 rolled around, the upstairs venue quickly began to flood with hip-hop addicts and supporters. DJ Truestarr effortlessly entertained the audience before the first openers, talented, local rapper, Openmic and DJ Rod Youree came on to perform their sets, followed by Taylor Gang’s very own Chevy Woods.
The Nashville crowd exuberated nothing but love, and with each set the crowd proceeded to grow in size and excitement. By the time midnight rolled around the venue was packed end to end in what felt like 110*F and 97% humid body heat. Skin, hair and clothes drenched in sweat, makeup melting off, unfamiliar bodies packed tightly together, a strange elixir of smells floating above the saturated air, but no one seemed to mind. The environment added to the anticipation and intensity of seeing and interacting with one of XXL’s top freshmen. A very live, amped up crowd began chanting, “Kevin Gates” before the man himself walked on stage, giving the people what they demanded. The hype immediately went to max volume, hands shot up in the air, and iPhone flashes lit up the stage. Shortly after being introduced, Kevin brought Starlito up to join him in performing “MYB”, to which the entire venue went wild for and impulsively began rapping and bouncing.
Engaged and connected, Gates and the crowd exchanged bolts of electricity between one another, fueling the energy level of the room. In reference to his OG Bobby Johnson freestyle, “WE AIN’T TIRED” was an appropriate and frequently used phrase throughout the night. Towards the end of his set, Gates unexpectedly jumped down with his mic and casually walked through the hundreds of fans, as they desperately tried to touch him. The only thing in sight were reaching hands tugging and pulling at anything they could, hair, shirt, chain, arm, leg, etc..literally anything. About half way through the crowd, security intervened, pushing belligerent fans off the rap star, but Kevin didn’t turn around right then. He made sure to make a full lap around the room before getting back on stage, and even then, people were still reaching for him. His set lasted an hour at the most, but it felt like 20 minutes, leaving Nashville wanting more. Blinding flashes from the multiple photographers and videographers on stage, as well as those in the audience, created an extra illuminating spotlight on Kevin as he graciously took a bow and thanked his Nashville fans. Overall, the event was a success thanks to Lovenoise and the Mercy Lounge crew who did an excellent job of putting it all together.
Kevin Gates will return to Nashville two more times before the end of this year, so if you missed him this time, learn from your mistake, and look out for upcoming ticket sales.