As the saying goes, “there’s no place like home”. No one knows how to come home in style quite like Tech N9ne and Strange Music. As part of their forty-five city Independent Grind Tour, the Strange Music crew rolled into Kansas City this past weekend for their hometown show. Held at the historic Uptown Theater, which some may recognize from the Absolute Power album cover, the night was sure to be full of surprises.
No doubt hungry for a slice of home, Tech’s first stop in Kansas City was Gates Bar-B-Q on Friday afternoon. The Strange Music bus could be seen outside the Main Street location. There was no shortage of promotion for the tour: posters, flyers, and even radio ads could be seen/heard throughout the city on late Friday afternoon. The anticipation was beginning to build for those lucky enough to share Tech’s hometown.
The night of the show, a large mass of people could be seen lined up around the venue before the doors even opened. The crowd drew spectators of its own as people drove by taking pictures and video on their cell phones. One fan even entertained the crowd by riding his bike up and down the block blaring Tech’s latest album. In an effort to raise awareness, Guvera.com was also present. They held a raffle for fans to win an autographed shirt from the Strange roster.
By show time, the Uptown was at near capacity. Droves of fans piled into the general admission floor while others took time to check out all the new Strange merchandise. People of all circles were in attendance, all waiting for their hometown hero. Irv Da Phenom made a surprise appearance opening the show with a short solo set. He played his own hits and even stunned the crowd with his part on “Hunterish” from K.O.D.
The tour boasted a mighty lineup of independent artists. Glasses Malone rocked the crowd with West Coast tunes and invited Stevie Stone on stage for a brief appearance. Strange Music’s newest acquisition, Jay Rock, made his Kansas City debut under the snake and bat. The Watts native left a good impression on the crowd and closed out his performance with the smash hit “All My Life”.
The Ambassador of the Bay himself, E-40, was in full effect. Forty Water and his hype man did not let up as they tore through his biggest hits including: “Snap Yo Fingers”, “Tell Me When To Go”, and “U and Dat”. Forty was obviously having a blast as he had a smile plastered on his face during the whole performance. Fans in the crowd could be seen Krumping in small circles and getting hyphy for E-40. The Kansas City crowd loved every minute of it.
The sound of the crowd grew into a roar as the time had finally come for Tech N9ne and Strange Music. The lights dropped and the stage set came alive. Complete with actual grinding gears on the right side, the stage set also included an enormous LED screen used as a backdrop. The screen was capable of rising and lowering throughout the night. Tech N9ne’s intro had begun and the lights emanating from the stage were almost overwhelming. Below on the screen, images of soldiers and entire armies marching flashed as Tech N9ne rose above the stage, cementing him as the Kansas City King. Technicians in the crowd popped and officially welcomed the emcee to his city.
Tech exploded off the platform with “Industry is Punks” and hit the audience with a slew of solo favorites. Kutt Calhoun soon joined Tech on stage with his own intro and hits like: “I See It”, “Laughing Stock”, and “Gangsta Shap”. The duo moved in unison, keeping the crowd alive on their own until Krizz Kaliko joined the festivities. Krizz bursted up on stage with Irv as his hype man, playing new material from his Shock Treatment album. The surprises kept coming as soon enough Big Scoob came out and rocked his own set complete with features from the rest of the Strange crew. The highlight of the night may have well been the amazing performance of Big Scoob’s “Salue”. Always a crowd favorite, it felt just a little more special on this night. The stage filled with the Strange Music roster and the entire building sang in unison to the party anthem.
Fans weren’t the only ones to welcome the artists though. Both Kutt Calhoun and Big Scoob had their families in attendance, watching from a balcony above the stage. It was very clear that the artists were happy to be home and perform in front of their loved ones. Tech’s set continued with more hits, including the recent “Keep It One Hunit” and “O.G.” He made sure to address his real fans in the audience by leading a crowd sing a long to some of his older songs. Even at the two hour mark, Tech N9ne showed no signs of slowing down. The energy was absolutely mind-blowing. To close out the show, the emcee pulled out his very popular single “I’m A Playa”. He was joined on stage by every artist, crew member, and even some lucky fans. It was a quite a sight to see a group of that size all dancing in harmony to the music. Krizz Kaliko did the honors of ending the night with shout outs and thank you’s to everyone in attendance.
Though the show had just ended, the party continued. Fans rushed to the Strange Music merch table for the opportunity to meet Krizz Kaliko, Jay Rock, and Makzilla. Even two hours of performance couldn’t keep these individuals from giving back to the fans. For the Tech N9ne experience, there is no comparison to a Kansas City homecoming. Forty-three shows in forty-six days is what it took to complete the massive tour. Undoubtedly, it had to feel good to be back. The Kansas City native had given his hometown everything he had on this night, and the fans couldn’t have been more gracious.