Photos by Pooja Pasupula.
The past four months for PartyNextDoor have been nothing less than successful. In early June, the singer/producer released a four song EP titled “Colours 2,” a sequel to his previous EP titled “Colours” that was released back in 2014. PartyNextDoor also contributed to writing the summer anthem “Wild Thoughts,” which was performed by Rihanna and also featured was another celebrated R&B act, Bryson Tiller. On May 3, the established pop-singer Halsey announced the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom World Tour with PartyNextDoor and British singer and songwriter Charli XCX supporting the American leg of the tour; on Oct. 17, the tour arrived at the Spectrum Arena in Charlotte.
As expected, PartyNextDoor confidently walked out on stage to thousands of screaming young women, with their boyfriends just as enthusiastically cheering behind them. With his eyes closed as if he’s still soaking up every moment, he queued the first song of his set. The first song performed was “Recognize,” which was the first song that put him in the spotlight. The song features Hip-Hop superstar Drake and was one of their first songs together. Not even after the opening 10 seconds of the song, people starting getting up out of their seats. “Gotta get real again, gotta get real again” the crowd sang in unison with Party. “You got n***a’s, and I got b****e’s, but I want you!” Party yelled to the crowd to an explosion of bass and lights. However, on stage Party came with a different approach to his live show. On this tour he performed with a live band. His drummer Saiku, Mike who was the keyboardist and Adrien X who was playing the guitar all had undeniable chemistry together and transitioned flawlessly from song to song.
The following PartyNextDoor songs were off of his first self titled album back in 2013. He sang stand outs like “Relax With Me,” “Right Now” and also “Break From Toronto,” a single that samples Miguel’s “Girl With The Tattoo” that went completely viral. Most of the crowd seemed to be composed of college-aged young adults. PartyNextDoor’s production and lyrics also identify with the young and reckless lifestyle. Party is very bold in his lyrics and tells stories about casual no-strings-attached relationships that the young and careless can often relate. College girls in dirty vans, some in fishnet leggings and other alluring outfits closing their eyes and screaming every word summarizes what a PND concert is.
During the middle of the set, Party toned down the energy in the building as he started performing his slower paced hits. At one point, as soon as the crowd’s screams of approval from the previous song died out, the familiar notes of an electric keyboard filled the air. Party, cockily walks to the edge of the stage and simply sings the words “Persian Rugs.” The stadium then erupted with gender unified screams, then everyone seemed to fix their posture just so they could sing the words and attempt to mirror Party’s accuracy. The Soundcloud hit “Persian Rugs” was released back in 2014 and now has over 33 million plays. The beat itself is as basic as it can get, but hits so perfectly at the same time. The whole time, aesthetically pleasing images of palm trees, streams and valleys project onto the wall behind him, something he his known to use during his shows. Sometimes even just colors appear to set the mood and make his music correspond to the images as well as the crowd’s emotions.
Party then closes out his performance with another hit song with Drake and perhaps his most popular song to date, “Come and See Me.” The song dropped out Soundcloud in April 2016 and was instantly made a hit.
“Oh you talkin’ ‘bout we a lot, oh you speak French now?” the crowd screams emphasizing that famous third line of the song. Together, couples, or people who came with their friends seemed to sway back and forth together and sing the rest of the song like one stadium sized choir. After Party sings his last words of the night, the performance is punctuated by a drum solo by Saiku, while Party claps for and cheers on for, and just like that Party shouts.
“Charlotte, North Carolina, I go by the name of PartyNextDoor, I hope you enjoyed tonight! Thank you!” and just like that he turns and walks into the darkness behind the stage more casual then when he arrived.
The American leg of the Fountain Kingdom World Tour wraps up in July in Cleveland, Ohio on Nov. 22, which would conclude the first of two tours for PartyNextDoor. In Feb, Party heads out on his Affinity tour starting in Dublin, Ireland. Hopefully between now and then he keeps providing hits and cult classics he can perform at every show. If it’s one thing we know about the PartyNextDoor, it’s that he’ll always get it done, but it will always be done his way.