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All photos by Darin Kamnetz

One of this month’s most anticipated shows hit First Avenue this week, exceeding even the most lofty of expectations. Taylor Gang‘s sensual singer Ty Dolla $ign returned to the Twin Cities for his Don’t Judge Me tour, and he didn’t come alone. Backed by some incredible openers – including a dancefloor-swarming set by Go 95.3‘s own DJ Bonics, Ty made for quite the memorable Wednesday night. Here’s our five takeaways.

1) Brevity is the wit of soul – There wasn’t a weak link in the line-up, with one of the most memorable sets coming from Toni Romiti. As if the strong visuals of her body-language’s silhouette through the strobe light weren’t enough, her blunt abbreviated banter and consistently empowering and engaging tracks set the vibe for the evening.

2) The vocals were the ultimate special effect – Ty Dolla $ign’s Don’t Judge Me tour has been acclaimed for its use of elaborate LED screens and lightwork, but as much as these added to the trippy and emotive experience, everyone who hit the stage could really sing. Opener Marc E. Bassy packed such a diverse array of styles into his set, all without needlessly showing off or feigning aloofness. Bassy shamelessly seemed to have as much fun singing as the crowd did hearing it.

3) Ty really made it a movie – The prevalent slang of  “life is like a movie,” which more recently has evolved into “we’re making a movie” typically conveys an experience that feels like it was lifted from the silver screen. Ty’s stage show took this one step further, filming scenes and montages that weaved in and out of the tracks in a way that many of his contemporaries have attempted and failed. Ty got the cinematic balance just right, allowing the visuals to compliment his music to perfection.

4) Special guests with Eazy access – Of course, the night’s biggest story might be the surprise appearance of G-Eazy. Coming straight from a show in Colorado, Young Gerald popped-up the night before his own show across town to bewilder and excite an audience who completely erupted at his sudden performance. In an age of social media where it’s getting harder and harder to genuinely surprise people, G-Eazy’s appearance was the most welcome of cameos.

5) So much to Ty together – Ultimately, Ty Dolla $ign threw a party that solidified both his dexterity as an artist, as well as his masterful showmanship. He played guitar, he sang his heart out, and he knew just when and how to keep the evening moving. It’s rare to see a show in a nightclub that feels from both the performance and the reception that it could have been a stadium show, and even a few days removed I still feel a high from the memorable evening.

Check out our full gallery of photos from Ty Dolla $ign’s performance here.

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