Indie hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis rock The Observatory

Macklemore (Ben Haggerty) stands center stage on Oct. 26 at The Observatory in Santa Ana. (Evan Da Silva / Lariat)

Evan Da Silva

Last Friday, Oct. 26 at The Observatory in Santa Ana the indie hip-hop duo from Seattle, Washington Macklemore & Ryan Lewis made another stop on their 50-city world tour celebrating the release of their debut album The Heist.

The group consisting of Ben Haggerty (Macklemore) and his beat producer and DJ Ryan Lewis, met in 2008 after Haggerty finished his stint in rehab for OxyContin and Codeine addiction. Until the release of The Heist on Oct. 9, 2012, the duo had only managed three short pieces of work including The Vs. EP, The Unplanned Mixtape, and finally The Vs. Redux. Along with these EPs, the two also created five singles being “The Town,” “My Oh My,” “Wing$,” “Can’t Hold Us,” and “Make the Money.”

Throughout the night the two used a fair mix of old and new work. They opened with “Ten Thousand Hours” the first track off their new album, and while commenting on the variety of Californian hairstyles in the audience, Macklemore transitioned into one of his first hit songs entitled “Crew Cuts” which samples The Bravery’s “Believe.”

Following it up would be another early work, “Life is Cinema,” which samples The Killers, “All These Things That I’ve Done” and had the entire Observatory singing, “I got soul but I’m not a soldier” in unison. After Haggerty and Lewis headed back to The Heist and dropped the funky and almost Beastie Boys-like “Thrift Shop” to which fake fur coats and leather jackets could be seen being flailed across the venue.  

The show would take a more sober turn for some time as “Otherside,” which touches on Macklemore’s struggles with substance abuse as an emerging rapper, and the same sex marriage advocating “Same Love” would drop. After finishing the song, Haggerty announced that the group had been contacted by the “Ellen” show to make its national television debut on Oct. 30. The two will also be performing Dec. 10 on the Jimmy Fallon Show.

Once finishing their next song, “My Oh My,” which is a tribute to the late Seattle Mariners’ play-by-play announcer David Niehaus, the duo brought on what may be their most popular song, “Can’t Hold Us” to which a Macklemore stage-dive led to an absolute frenzy in the pit below the stage. I would know, I was in it and he landed just inches away from me. It was incredible.

“The Town” epitomized the group’s love of their Seattle home, “Wing$” brought the crowd’s word-for-word harmonizing, “Gold” supplied more Lewis and Haggerty stage dives, and “Awake” provided a soothing change of pace to rest the venue which had been nothing short of manic the entire night.

“Victory Lap” was just that … an appropriate end to an absolute champion of a set and it ushered in one of the most incredible encores The Observatory had ever seen.

The encore  began with “Castle,” by far the strangest but one of the catchiest songs on The Heist, and the fan favorite, “And We Danced” followed. “Irish Celebration” however was in a league of its own. A song that celebrates both Haggerty and Lewis’ strong Irish roots caused absolute pandemonium with green, orange, and white strobes and flood lights, Irish flags throughout the entire crowd and more stage dives that rocked the venue. It  took Macklemore three solid minutes before being able to make his way back up to the stage, after circumventing the entire pit and stopping to dance with his awestruck fans.

After thanking the entire city of Santa Ana for their hospitality and proclaiming it as their favorite stop on the world tour to this point, Lewis and Haggerty led a, “We are f******* awesome” chant in honor of all those who attended.

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