When Bryson Tiller’s TRAPSOUL dropped in October of this past year, he seemingly became a R&B superhero overnight. When I first listened to him he was an elusive Soundcloud supernova, which is usually how I find new artists, and you could tell from the first listen of Don’t that he was definitely headed for radio play and mass appeal.
After endorsements from legend Timbaland and Six God’s Drake, it was official: there was a 502 come up in motion and the Louisville native took on a pretty ambitious tour, traveling to over twenty cities. I initially wanted to attend the concert in Memphis, since I live here, but the tickets sold out so quickly that I decided to buy tickets for Nashville. The concert was held at Cannery Row, on a rainy night, but that did not stop the fans from arriving two hours before the doors opened. Even as it began to rain the line began to wrap around the street, but everyone’s energy was so positive that the rain was a mere obstacle to getting inside.
Once inside everyone packed to the front to get a view of the elusive Tiller who has a propensity for mysteriousness over magazine covers and shoots. We got a great spot, standing center front at the stage, surrounded by hard-core Bryson Tiller fans and some THEY fans; the R&B duo that opened Tiller’s concert.
THEY and Tiller’s DJ (please comment below if you know the name) definitely set the vibe for the artist’s TRAPSOUL music. The DJ played tons of 90’s R&B jams, reminding the audience that much of Tiller’s musical inspiration stems from a generation saturated in Lauryn Hill, Aaliyah, and R. Kelly jams. THEY opened with a few songs from their new EP and it wasn’t surprising that Bryson chose the duo to open for him. The crowd received them very well and their production definitely had a tinge of TRAPSOUL within its feel good music.
To prepare for Tiller’s grand entrance, plumes of smoke spread over the stage and the lights were dimmed. Before I could see him walk to the front of the stage fans were screaming at the top of their lungs, announcing his presence before Tiller opened with Intro (Difference).
The entire concert was overwhelmed by fans who sang along to every song, which was impressive seeing Tiller just became a mainstream heartthrob. One fan told me she paid over $200.00 for two tickets (almost four times the original price for two tickets) before crying once Bryson’s DJ transitioned to Exchange. His setlist included all of his TRAPSOUL EP while his DJ and drummer provided nuanced versions of the song, which was much appreciated. I hope as Bryson continues to grow in popularity and mature as a singer he will add a guitarist to his set, it would definitely be transformative.
Overall the concert was dominated by true TRAPSOUL fans, showing that loyalty doesn’t always happen over time, but shows people have been phening for a new sound. Bryson Tiller has figured out a way to deliver the feel-good vibes of 90’s R&B with Trap 808’s and futuristic sounds. Well done.