Classified took the stage at Maxwell’s last night with as much energy as if it had been a sellout crowd at the ACC for the 300 or so people that were there. Classified has been around for a long time, but I wasn’t expecting the largely older crowd, mixed in with a dozen 8-year-olds and a handful of teenagers who couldn't have been older than 18.
Robby G, one of three opening acts, is from Guelph and has been making music for almost 10 years. There was a positive message in every song he performed last night including messages about being yourself, not selling out, facing your fears, and that it’s never too late to start over.
“Life’s too short, grab your friends, and face your fears,” he said to the crowd. Robbie. G fan Jessyka Gritzen said she doesn’t mind her 8-year-old daughter listening to Robbie G because she doesn’t have to worry about inappropriate content. His message for university students was to not get too focused on the books and focus on your dreams and goals. He is currently working on a new album called “Inner Outer Space” and a Canadian tour.
The next opening act was TwonDon from New Jersey. I caught up with him backstage after the show and he said that his music is “lifestyle music” and it is, again, directed towards people following their dreams. He wanted fans to know that he struggled in life — living in a one-parent household, fighting through depression, and dealing with suicidal thoughts — but that he hopes everyone can follow their dreams and make them a reality. This was TwonDon’s first show in Canada.
I hadn’t heard of either of these opening acts and chances are you haven’t either, but I would highly recommend that rap fans give their music a shot.
Next, Classified had one of his own take the stage, Elijah Wohlmuth. Elijah sang six or seven songs, which was a little odd since he hadn’t introduced himself and launched right into screaming into the mic. Once he got his nerves under control and started having fun, he sounded great too, but there was a piece missing in his showmanship, which was later cleared up by Classified when he said that Elijah had only performed solo on stage twice before but had been touring with Classified for a few years doing backup vocals.
Classified finally came on stage to a roaring crowd of approximately 300. His music was similar to the opening acts — positive messages and sending good vibes to everyone, save for a few instances. He told one of the kids in the crowd: “Don’t drink. Don’t do drugs ‘til you’re old, when your life sucks, like when you’re 29. Sometimes we like to pretend like we’re having a good time drinking. Don’t do drugs [kids],” then launched into a weed-smoking anthem called “Higher,” with lyrics such as “I don’t drink much, I don’t do any hard drugs, but I smoke weed every day.”
And finally he addressed another child and said “kids are a blessing,” and then performed a song with lyrics “How come ever since I had kids life switched up, now I gotta watch over my shoulder when I twist up, I cant even smoke in my own house, its tough, I’m trying to stay positive but sometimes kids suck.”
Classified’s manager, Mitch Brown, described Classified as a “nice, down-to-earth family man, who is probably the coolest dad.”
The rapper ended the night by performing “O Canada” and an encore of five of his songs in less than five minutes.
It was a testament to his artistry that there were 8-year-olds in the crowd until midnight, singing along to every word of every song.
Maxwell’s owner Paul Maxwell said they decided to make the event all-ages to encourage both locals and students to attend.
Maxwell said that there would be more artists announced soon and that students can look forward to seasoned pros that are willing to do smaller shows, as well as new acts on their way up to becoming big names.
Next up for Maxwell’s are SonReal at the end of the month and July Talk in October.