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Joey Purp brought ‘QUARTERTHING’ to life at Mercury Lounge with KAMI (review)

Joey Purp
Joey Purp at Mercury Lounge – 10/10/18

After his DJ warmed up the crowd with songs by Kids See Ghosts, Jay Rock, Sheck Wes, and more, Joey Purp took the stage at Mercury Lounge last night (10/10) for his first NYC show since the release of his great new project QUARTERTHING. Purp started with an older song, and then said “that’s how I used to start my sets, but things are different now that QUARTERTHING dropped,” and then proceeded to go into a string of songs off the new album. The crowd was packed with people who knew the words to all the new songs and all the old ones, and Purp was an even more commanding performer than when I saw him at SXSW last year. Whether he was backed by his DJ or doing a verse a cappella, Purp showcased a sense of precision and control that you don’t hear every day from an artist as new to the game as he is.

The older songs he did were great (especially “Girls,” which features Chance the Rapper on the album version, and which was one of the biggest crowdpleasers of the night), and it was cool to see Purp bring out opener KAMI to play some songs from their collaborative Leather Corduroys project, but for me, the show was all about the QUARTERTHING songs, which came across as good or better live than they do recorded. He handled the musical diversity of the new album perfectly, mixing in electronic dance music-inflected songs like “Elastic” and “Aw Sh*t!” seamlessly with the more “traditional” sounding rap songs like “Hallelujah” or “Paint Thinner.” He sounded great on every song, and he played just about every song I wanted to hear, but it was truly one of those shows that I didn’t want to end. His roughly-hour-long set flew by, and I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing it was twice as long.

Watch Joey play “Elastic” at last night’s show:

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