Review: Quinn XCII is a showman worth watching

Quinn XCII is your standard white, Midwestern blog rapper. He fit the venue of Fortune Sound Club perfectly — a small and intimate venue for primarily electronic music-backed artists with tight production.

This show was a very intimate affair and it quickly became clear that Quinn is very much on the way up. Having only released his first EP in mid-2015, his latest release has spawned a number of notable singles. His best-known track is a collaboration with ayokay called “Kings of Summer,” which topped the Spotify viral charts for a few weeks.

The crowd was sparse to say the least. I’ve sadly seen better attendance at the most recent AMS annual general meeting. But scarcity of fans is not always bad — shows like this are often crucible experiences for artists and their fans. The fans that did attend the show were very into the experience, coming close to the stage, jumping around with their hands in the air and providing a strong reaction each time Quinn asked, “Can I hear somebody scream?”

Quinn himself didn’t appear too fazed by the size of the crowd during the show. Crossing the Canadian border is a rather sizable task for a blog-rapper and this is especially true in the days of Toronto’s stranglehold on Canadian hip hop. I’ve definitely seen bands (Metric, live in Phoenix in 2012, as well as others) disappointed with the turnout of a crowd and throw diva-hissy-fits onstage.

Quinn XCII’s whole show reminded me of a younger Hoodie Allen — fresh buzz surrounding him, an engaged fan base and a lot of potential. Backed by tight production, as well as his incredibly talented and energetic band, Quinn put on a performance that showcased his strong abilities as a performer. His stage presence was not one of a disappointed white rapper playing a half­-filled room in a different country — it was one of a festival act with a good crowd, excited to be able to play a show for new fans.

Weaving once ­relevant radio bangers like “Riptide” by Vance Joy into his set, Quinn navigated his whole discography ­as well as a cover of Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” quite well. You’d be surprised how many songs you can write about being successful which are actually written about women, or how many songs are written about women but are actually about wanting to be more successful. But they were all performed incredibly well, and definitely left me impressed with the way Quinn and his band performed.

With the show he put on at Fortune, Quinn will for sure be someone to watch as he continues to grow as an artist. I would love to see him explore other areas of inspiration in his forthcoming album, but nonetheless, his performance was strong. Speaking personally, his brand of frat-t­rap would make him a strong fit as an early act in a UBC event like the Welcome Back BBQ. Keep him on your radar because Quinn XCII definitely has strong potential as an artist.