White River Amphitheatre, Auburn, WA
6LACK—née Ricardo Valdez Valentine—is one of those names that most people awkwardly avoid saying. Is it “6-lack?” Do you just sound like you don’t know who you’re talking about? If you say “black,” will people think you’re talking about Kodak Black? The questions are endless, but to put it to rest before you read the rest of this article in your head, it is, in fact, pronounced “black” (trust me, half his merch says “6LACK pronounced black”).
So while the Atlanta-bred singer, rapper, and songwriter’s name may have been left out of many conversations about Chris Brown’s “Heartbreak on a Full Moon” tour lineup, his set was definitely one worth catching. Even after a 3-hour drive from Seattle to Auburn in 90-degree weather, the hot set at White River Amphitheatre was just that—hot.
Maybe not the ideal summer jams, 6LACK produces tracks that are dark and emotional, full of anger or resentment usually, and relatable themes. “PRBLMS” and “Ex Calling” from his debut album, Free 6LACK, were the most familiar to the crowd, prompting many to rush from the concession stands back to their seats, pulling out their phones to record.
Live, the songs are really interesting. They don’t have quite the same dark moodiness as they do on the album, but of course still sound great with his voice, which gets a little less R&B soft, and a little more shout-y live. “OTW” was a nice change of pace—a Kahlid collab that brought in the other singer’s lighter, more pop sound was happily welcomed by fans.
After 6LACK, H.E.R took the stage, a queen among fans, to perform her beautifully smooth tracks. And of course, Chris Brown closed out the night with nothing short of a full-on production, complete with backup dancers, costume changes, and an elaborate set that easily kept the audience engaged and excited not only for the duration of the set, but also the two-hour traffic jam of a parking lot afterward.
Review and photos by Lulu Dawson