McKinley Dixon’s First Home Town Show

Photo and Article by Bri Guntz

The sidewalk outside Schubas Tavern was crowded on September ninth as fans waited to enter to see McKinley Dixon perform. The show began with a local representative from the Prison Neighborhood Arts and Education Project (PNAP) named Orion Meadows opening the night with acts of spoken word. His first piece opened with the phrase, “Rhythm is life and life is rhythm.” His piece took on a style similar to slam poetry as the crowd stood in absolute silence, hanging onto every word. When Meadows concluded his piece he shared the goals of PNAP. According to Meadows, PNAP is centered around the idea of a “university without walls” and seeks to provide higher education for incarcerated individuals. He concluded his time on stage sharing his experience with the prison system before introducing the next opening act.

Samira Truth took the stage following Orion Meadows. A self described “rapper, sound designer,(and) beat maker”. Truth’s set consisted of her rapping over beats that she played live on a SP-404 MKII, better known as a creative sampler and effector, which is essentially a synth soundboard. She hyped the crowd up for Dixon’s set by keeping her setlist angsty and danceable. During Truth’s performance she danced with a man in the audience while exclaiming, “I see that white dude!” During Samira Truth’s set McKinley Dixon himself could be seen dancing with the crowd and recording her performance in the front row.

Finally, Dixon took the stage opening his set with tracks off of earlier albums before jumping into his newest record Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? This record takes on a distinctly anti-police theme as Dixon sings lyrics like “F*** 12” to the audience. While some die hard fans knew all the words to the earlier tracks, there was a distinct energy shift for the new album and Dixon seemed pleased when he heard the crowd singing his lyrics back to him. He went on the say, “Y’all really listen to the f***ing record, it’s a pleasant surprise.” The energy stayed high throughout the entire night and the good vibes were infectious as the band grinned out at the audience. For McKinley Dixon’s first home town show, the city of Chicago welcomed him with open arms as he played what can only be described as a fantastic show.

Check out McKinley Dixon out on Instagram and Spotify below!

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