Robbyn Mitchell, Times Staff Writer
Thursday, October 9, 2014 1:42pm
It didn't matter to Ty Dolla $ign that St. Pete's State Theatre was less than half full by the time he took to the stage at 11 p.m. Wednesday.
The Los Angeles native was determined to reward the faithful with a gigantic dose of Wednesday turn up. In a 45-minute set that was one part surprising and two parts "of course," Ty Dolla $ign played to the cheap seats -- bouncing around the stage, licking out his tongue and exuding the West Coast cool artists from the other side of the Mississippi River have in spades.
"I don't know how the f--- y'all heard about me and my team," he laughed as the cigarillo smoke curled into the air around his waist length dreadlocks.
Then the opening beats of Lord Knows from the $ign Language mixtape thumped in the speakers sending the small pack of super fans pressed up against the stage into a frenzy.
Ty had to shake off the the smokers rasp before the lazy, crooning style of R&B vocals he trades in began to shine.
Never Be the Same hit hard, even if it was only mostly on key, as Ty charmed his way across the stage showing an energy not universal in the building full of people who had a full day of school or work or both behind them.
The part that probably surprised the few parents in the room, gave the performer a chance to really stretch his legs and also rest his voice for the second half of the set.
He picked up the bass and played along with his keyboardist over the jail-house recording with his currently incarcerated cousin, TeeCee4800, In Too Deep.
The desperation of TeeCee's plaintive hook mellowed the mood for minute, allowing everyone to appreciate how fortunate they were to be where they were at that moment. Ty named the tour after that song, and it was clear as the crowd watched the video of TeeCee4800 singing with the simple wish to be heard that it was the moment he most wanted to share.
But that wasn't the end all. No sooner than he had placed his bass guitar back on its stand was he handing out clear plastic cups filled with red liquid that we can only assume was alcohol to lucky audience members who were close enough to the stage and had green "I'm of age" wrist bands on.
"I can't mess around with y'all young a--es," he laughed as the boozed sloshed over the rim of one such cup. "But I can smoke weed with y'all." Then he took a rolled cigarillo, put it between his lips, lit it and handed to someone frantically reaching up toward the stage.
The time to turn up had come again.
He hamstrung some of his best features into the set K-Camp's Money Baby, DJ Mustard's Down On Me and his very first major production credit YG's Toot It and Boot It.
Boiling his sound down its essence, he brought a lucky fan girl up on stage for a personal performance of Ratchet in My Benz, the type of song your mom decries while tapping her foot under the table. Vocal rust from earlier in the night was fully shaken off by the time Or Nah began ringing out with full crowd participation.
Truly grateful for the support, Ty Dolla $ign ran across the front of the stage shaking hands and proving that he pays attention ("I hope none of y'all n----s got Ebola up in here.") Then it was time for Paranoid, his biggest hit to date. He brought out show opener and tour mate, Joe Moses, to close out the four-hour affair that only included an hour and 20 minutes of actual performing.
Still, it was clear Ty Dolla $ign was committed to giving whatever he could to the precious few who came out to see him. He left the stage just before midnight and proceeded to the merchandise room to take photos and sign autographs. A legion of fans isn't built in a day.