Words Shawn Moodie
You may not yet know Quinn XCII by name but having previously after topped the Spotify viral charts with his track “Kings of Summer”, there’s a good chance that he’s the man behind that song that you just can’t get out of your head.
I’ll admit to being one of those people who hadn’t yet heard of viral streaming sensation Mikael Temrowsia (Quinn XCII), but it seems like I was the only person in the intimate but passionate crowd at Auckland’s Tuning Fork that fit that category.
This was an audience that knew that Quinn XCII is a rapper on the rise and they couldn’t hide their excitement at getting the chance to check him out live and before the rapper even took to the stage on Wednesday night, his fans were already matching his crazy energy, impatiently chatting and dancing to whatever song was playing though the speakers.
As the house lights went down and the sounds of “Intro (Slow)” came through the speakers, the crowd bolted to the front of the stage with the band (a drummer and keyboardist) seamlessly transitioning to Candle from his debut album The Story Of Us. As the Detroit-based singer walks on stage, The Tuning Fork went ballistic, and from that very moment Quinn XCII had everyone in the palm of his hands.
“Auckland, put your hands up like this!” shouts Quinn XCII, so of course we all follow in unison.
I was immediately struck by two things – firstly, how catchy Quinn XCII’s songs are and secondly, how effortlessly the musician is able to fuse a slew of sounds including hip-hop, electronic, and even reggae into his own unique and vibrant pop sound. This is the type of music that you listen to when you want to be in a great mood and I caught myself, almost instinctively, making my way to the front of the crowd – keen to get amongst the infectious energy.
It was obvious that Quinn XCII was thrilled to be on stage, half way around the world, with fans singing back every word of his songs. His fantastic energy was a constant, as he continued to hype up the audience throughout the entire show. This is a musician destined for festivals and arenas.
“You guys singing my own lyrics back, word for word, is surreal” exclaimed Quinn XCII during the set.
After playing a selection of songs from his latest album, “The Story of Us,” yellow lights illuminated the stage, resembling his album aesthetic for “Fake Denim.” The crowd, predictably, screamed every single word to the song, one of his first released from the album.
Quinn XCII’s whole show reminded me a little of a younger Hoodie Allen — fresh buzz surrounding him, an engaged fan base and a high ceiling for success. His tight production, infectious music, and dynamic performance also compared favorably to the likes of Post Malone and Logic. That is, if Post Malone had the ability to hit every note with perfection. Quinn XCII was connected to every note and feeling every lyric.
Quinn XCII’s upbeat music masks some serious subject matter, detailing his problematic relationships, heartbreak, and making mistakes without even realising it. These songs are relatable and certainly endeared the performer to the Auckland crowd on Wednesday night. I don’t know how Quinn XCII is able to effortlessly combine genres and emotions, but he does, and it works. Anyone who was at the Tuning Fork on Wednesday night can attest to that.