On rue Saint Élisabeth and Saint Catherine, at roughly 11:45pm in the dimly lit atmosphere of Newspeak, two of my friends and I sat for an hour until the first openers for Wiki’s show came out. We waited to get there late since the event had said the show would start at 10:00pm. By 1:00am the first opener finally took the stage of the humid club and tried to hype the crowd for Wiki’s grand appearance. Quebec rap group Les Anticipateurs catered to part of the audience that spoke French but left everyone else confused as to what was going on. The production from the group was powerful and booming but was hard for me and my friends to understand since all the rapping was in French.
Half an hour later, DJ Lucas took the stage with some old and new tracks that he had been preparing to perform live on the tour. As much as the instrumentals were banging, it was difficult to enjoy DJ Lucas as a rapper. At the beginning of his set, a fight at the front of the crowd broke out and the MC had to stop performing for a while to break up the two men disputing amongst each other. After hours of waiting for the main act with two unpleasant openers, Wiki finally appeared on the stage at 2:05am.
Waiting for Wiki seemed like it wasn’t going to be worth it in the end. We were all exhausted for waiting so many hours and sitting through openers that we couldn’t care less about. However, when the New York based MC stepped onto the stage, there was an immediate turnaround in the amount of energy in the room. He opened up his set with the track “3 Stories,” which was produced by local electronic artist Kaytranada. The crowd was full of life and bouncing to the buttery beat of the song as Wiki slammed down some hard bars.
Security was uncomfortably rough at Newspeak; they wouldn’t allow anyone to mosh during the show. As soon as they spotted the slightest act of moshing, they’d grab people from the audience and tell them to stop immediately. It was a buzzkill to say the least; people weren’t able to enjoy themselves the way they wanted. One of the security guards pushed someone from the front of the crowd all the way to the back of the club and the two got into a fist fight. The fight attracted a small audience that was separated from Wiki’s performance with people arguing that the guy being held by security didn’t do anything wrong.
Wiki kept performing for those who were paying attention to his set. “God Bless Me” and “Crib Tax,” among many other cuts from Wiki’s debut LP Lil Me, were played at the show. By 2:45am the set was over and the audience was drenched in sweat. Even with a weirdly short set from the main act, it was still an incredible experience to see Wiki completely turn the tables on what started off as a rough night. I’m going to have my reservations with shows at Newspeak from now on, but if Wiki’s ever playing there again, I’ve learned that you should show up a lot later than you would think.
Review by Michael Eidelson
Updated on November 7, 2016, we apologize for any inconveniences caused by the initial write up for the show!