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Lil Xan Disappoints at 20 Monroe Live

Lil+Xan+performing.
Lil Xan performing.

Lil Xan performing.

Lil Xan performing.

Marisol Evangelista-Evans, Contributing Writer

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So the time had come… Lil Xan was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for his eighth stop in the U.S “Heartbreak Soldier” tour.

October 6, 7 PM had rolled around the chilly day and many were getting ready for the ‘Lil Xan’ concert being held in downtown GR. Lil Xan, or Diego Leanos, had swung several shows in before heading straight to Grand Rapids from Minneapolis. 20 Monroe Live, a relatively recent live venue after its debut in 2017, graciously hosted the show and it was certainly lively.

I guess I should explain how I got to witness the hot mess of a show that was “Xanarchy: Grand Rapids.” Around last year, I discovered and dove into Lil Xan and his music which by the way, I actually really liked. Yeah, he could be incredibly cringe-worthy, but I was there for the music so his quiver inducing personality didn’t bother me all too much.

Being a pretty basic and mellow fan, I got into his number one hit “Betrayed” and other relatively aged and older music of his. A few weeks go by of being a fan after he initially announced the show in great Michigan ‘Beer City.’ I was dead set on going. I planned on going with a friend and buying the ultimate VIP package: one ticket to the show, early entry, access to the soundcheck, pre-show hang out with Diego (photo booth, Skittles, and tattoos included), one exclusive merch gift, one lanyard, and early access to merch shopping. Yeah, I was really going to spend $90 on all of this. My mother had no issue with this as well; I had the money and I was going to pay for the ticket myself so I was completely set. A year flies by and my tolerance for Xan is dwindling, his personality is starting to get to me. This dude was really dropping song after song (weeks within another), bragging about his several flings whom would later “break his heart and trust” with a hashtag “Heartbreak Soldier”, and preaching to his fans on his Instagram story too, and “f**** the haters, [he] has money.” Basically, I was over him at this point and I hadn’t talked about the concert in months and spent all of my savings.

Friday, October 5, 2018, I was in a class as a normal student would be and the familiar feeling of my phone buzzing sparked my curiosity. “I just won you Lil Xan tickets!!” I realized two things from this text by my mom. One, she was really happy she won them and didn’t have to pay for them and, two, she was way too good for this world. I was incredibly confused and I couldn’t stop laughing. I felt extremely terrible, she had gone through all the trouble of winning me these tickets and I didn’t want to seem ungrateful and decline. My solution: drag my sister with me to endure the pain together.

We arrived at the venue at 7:30 p.m., purposefully half an hour later than necessary. We walked into the actual area of the venue where the concert would be taking place and– whew… it’s a mess. There were girls dressed in short shorts and tight cropped shirts accompanied by males with baggy pants and ripped shirts and some even with no shirts at all. Drinking, don’t even get me started on how many there were drinking; alcohol made people do some pretty weird things that night.

The initial opener, of the many openers that night, was a small green haired girl named Phem. Phem’s sound was quite basic, her tunes were ones I had heard before; the sound of wanting to be ‘original’, ‘quirky’, and ‘different’. If I’m being quite honest, it was cringe-worthy as well. Her songs detailing quirky things “young and hot” and rebellious teenage girls do in their lifetime. Although I did not enjoy her songs or trashy stage personality, the crowd seemed to appreciate her music and simply bopped along to her (nearly identical) songs.

Onto the next opener, not including the several DJ’s, Eliozie. I’m not sure how to describe Eliozie’s style of sound. In contrast to the previous singer, Phem, Eliozie is a rapper with weird tones. He sounded similar to Lil Xan and his ‘gang’ of rapper friends but I feel he was mature in sound/beat-wise. Eliozie’s lyrics, however… Big miss. Childish ‘hyped’ screams regarding girls, drugs, and literally anything else he could think of at the time when he initially wrote the lyrics. His songs were as messy as ever.

Soundcloud-born rapper ‘$teve Cannon’ wasn’t any better. Now before everyone comes at me for bashing Cannon, I will say this: his style of music is not really in my type, my flavor. So why go to a rap-based concert if you’re not even that into rap? Well, the answer to that question is… I don’t know. This is a concert review and I didn’t want to hurt my mother’s feelings, now, proceeding to Steve Cannon. His set was also quite messy as he took song requests straight from the audience. One of the various DJ’s (I can’t remember which one, there was so many), was placed on stage behind him taking the song requests from Cannon as he Googled the songs and played them as a backing track to Steve’s live vocals. I mean, I understand the needed interaction with fans, etc, but I think a setlist should be properly prepared before shows as a respectable sign of professionalism and organization.

Finally, the man of the hour appeared. After many chants of Xanarchy, Lil Xan literally skipped on stage and then sang/screamed his first song of the night. He settled for a second after his first song finished, communicated with the crowd for a couple of minutes, then prepared for his next song to be sung. The next few songs followed the same outline, settle, communicate with the crowd (throw an open water bottle or two), and prepare for the next song. Lots of water went to waste that night…

With a total of about eight songs (not including the one replayed at the end of the concert), Xan then played three songs dedicated to inspirational fallen artists from 2017-2018. One song each from Lil Peep, XXXTentacion, and Mac Miller were played as homage and remembrance at the concert. Xan requested either no lights or blue lights (depending on the songs) for each song. He would then encourage others to sing along and would pass the Devil’s grass from person to person in the crowd. At this point, I was basically over the concert and as soon as he left the stage, I fled.

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