Ryan Hemsworth entertains at U Street Music Hall show
Ryan Hemsworth’s first time performing at U Street Music Hall in D.C. wasn’t Nov. 19. Last year, the 23-year-old Canadian producer headlined at the same spot.
This time around for his Sucker For Punishment tour, Hemsworth brought along emerging artists Tennyson and Ricky Eat Acid to set the mood. Featured on his Secret Songs project, the young artists managed to excite the crowd early on, though they couldn’t distract them from talking to everyone around them instead of paying attention to what was happening on stage.
Eighteen-and-up shows are a blessing and a curse for many reasons, but it really comes down to the fact that the maturity level is sub-par. The packs of wasted bros clapping off-beat filtered in, followed by the overly excited girls with X’s on their hands and no rhythm in their bones. One party brought a hula-hoop, because that’s really necessary for a late show at an indoor venue.
There’s a lot going on in North America right now, but Canada seems to be spitting out the most incredible producers of our time and Hemsworth is proof of that. In a year, he has tremendously improved his live show, going from performing in a booth behind a laptop to manning several different pieces of machinery in the middle of a stage. To engage with his audience, Hemsworth took stage visuals to the next level with an inflatable cloud, a rainbow strobe light and a large machine reminiscent of the wind-up piece on the back of toys in the back corner. Images also projected on the back wall but were difficult to distinguish due to the painted U Hall logo.
When Hemsworth emerged from the darkness, the energy level cranked up several notches. Hemsworth incorporated a solid amount of his own material off albums “Alone for the First Time” (“Hurt Me,” “Walk Me Home [with Lontalius],” “Snow in Newark [with Dawn Golden]”) and “Guilt Trips” (“Against A Wall,” “One For Me- Tinashe,” “Weird Life”) while also slipping in Soundcloud remixes and collaborations (“Cream Soda [with Tomggg]” and “Every Square Inch [with Qrion]”) that would keep the crowd dancing until 2 a.m. Hemsworth loves hip-hop, rap and R&B, and he made sure that everyone was aware of this when he leaped back on stage for an encore consisting of “Me & U” by Cassie, “6 God” by Drake and Frank Ocean’s classic hit “Thinkin’ Bout You.”
From the crowd’s behavior to Hemsworth’s music itself, the whole experience felt like a never-ending adventure in a video game. Every winning moment was accompanied by one problem after the next, but regardless if that’s what he intended, Hemsworth totally pulled it off. Coming from a grown man that plays Nintendo 64 before all of his shows, it had to have been done on purpose anyway.