Machine Gun Kelly threw a rager at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis! Fans gathered in anticipation on a warm summer night to witness the Mainstream Sellout Tour; the energy, both inside and outside the venue, was palpable as the crowd made its way into the stadium, buzzing with excitement.
Machine Gun Kelly is a polarizing figure in the American music scene.
Dipping his toes into multiple genres — such as rock, pop, punk and rap — has allowed MGK to amass a huge following and an almost equal number of haters. Many rock/punk ‘purists’ will tell you that MGK is a tourist in these genres, however, his mainstream success and massive fan base would like to say otherwise. He has been recording and playing music since 2009 and quickly became known for his wild live performances, which often include dangerous stunts, like climbing scaffolding and performing while hanging in the air above the crowd. The evolution of this rockstar’s trademark performances was evident as the show began. MGK started his performance in a crate, from which he was lifted into the air on a ladder, hanging from the bottom of a helicopter. As the helicopter made its way over the crowd, Kelly sang his opening tune, while swinging carelessly through the air. With one hand on the microphone and the other holding the ladder, Kelly looked perfectly at home in the air. One could imagine that this is the result of a compromise between MGK and the producers of the tour, who could not sign off on him scaling another stage scaffold, risking his life on each night of the tour (Kelly’s current helicopter stunt is done while safely harnessed).
After his dazzling entrance, MGK landed safely on the stage, which was a massive checkerboard-patterned disk, propped up at a 30-degree angle in front of the crowd. How the musicians were able to maintain a steady footing on such an incline while still shredding their instruments and head-banging is a mystery to me, but they all seemed to be sure-footed enough that it was not a concern. As MGK landed, he exchanged a few words with the crowd about how much he has been enjoying St. Louis, which was met with extreme enthusiasm from the crowd. It was clear that a lot of the people there were diehard fans of the pop punk icon. A massive sea of black and pink clad fans screamed their adoration as he nonchalantly smoked a cigarette and gazed out into the crowd.
After a brief introduction, the show began in earnest as Kelly powered through hit after hit, with the crowd screaming along.
The rest of the show was a high octane marathon of pop punk bangers, including MGK making his way out into the crowd to sing along with his fans in a more intimate way. Like any rock show worth its chops, the concert was full of pyro, head-banging and cigarettes.
No matter how you feel about Kelly’s spin on what it means to be a rockstar, you cannot deny that the man knows how to put on a show. His performance brought an energy and rawness that are often lost in stadium shows of this scale. MGK obviously loves his fans and went to great lengths to keep them involved with the show, and rocking out to all the jams they are used to hearing on the radio. The Mainstream Sellout Tour is definitely an exciting experience and if it is heading to a city near you next, you better not miss it!
Photography by Sean Rider