Ok, this is where I admit that I’m old, not the hipster all one of you may think I am. Starting off as a YouTube sensation, Austin Mahone is blowing up big time. The obvious comparison is Justin Bieber (before he went nuts), but I don’t want to compare. When I saw him at JingleBall 2013 a few months ago, I was astounded by how crazy the 16,000 fans that packed the Verizon Center was for this floppy-haired kid.
The place shook every time his name was mentioned and this was on a bill that included Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Paramore, Flo Rida, etc. The one everyone seemed to be there to see was Austin Mahone. I had no idea who he was. So it came as a surprise when MTV gave me a shout about his upcoming stop in Silver Spring, Maryland on March 4, 2014 for the MTV Artist to Watch Tour.
The 2,000 standing room only crowd at the Silver Spring Fillmore lined around the block and waited for hours in near zero degree weather to see their latest idol. The packed bill included other hot up-and-coming artists including W3 The Future, Midnight Red, Becky G, and DJ Alex Angelo. From the moment W3 The Future came onstage, the hot crowd never calmed.
W3 The Future
Young Money Entertainment’s W3 The Future kicked things off. Three best friends – 3siXT, DG, and Edge One – delivered a fun, fast-moving set that included “Wildout,” “No Army,” and the pretty cool catchy, “Young Forever” that is a take off of a popular track from the ’70s – it’s driving me crazy that I don’t remember the song. A DJ handled all their backing beats.
After W3 The Future we got DJ Alex Angelo, who somehow managed to work it out; every time I turned my head he was doing something different. He got the crowd into it by waving his hands and going crazy behind the mixing board, interspersing that with dancing and he even took a stab at singing a couple of songs from his new EP.
By the time Midnight Red came out, the crowd of tweens was ready to explode. There were people fainting and climbing the rails to get close to them. The group made some noise as the opening act on the 2011 NKOTBSB Tour. The five-member band, Joey, Colton, Eric, Thomas, and Anthony, worked the crowd with tracks “Hell Yeah,” “Nothing Lasts Forever,” their hit “Take Me Home” and “Miss Firestarter.”
After a string of boys, we finally got a little estrogen in the place – not that 2,000 tween girls don’t count. Oh, you know what I mean! Backed by a DJ and two male dancers, Becky G hit the stage decked out in all black – it seems to be the fashion choice for pop stars these days. I’ll admit, I heard her song “Play It Again” for the first time on the drive to the show and thought it was a fantastically addicting track. Of course she did it as part of her set, in addition, she did “Can’t Get Enough” (which features Pitbull), “Problem,” and “Built for This.”
Austin Mahone made the crowd explode. Rocking a 2 level stage, he flipped, flopped and shimmied his way through a half-hour set that included his hits “Banga Banga,” his cover of the Biz Markie classic “Say You’re Just A Friend,” “Mmmmm Yeah,” and “What About About Love.” After seeing him up close and personal, I kind of get it now. Don’t think I didn’t pick up on the fact he was wearing an outfit that reminded me a bit of The Flash. The kid is seriously talented.
MTV’s Artist to Watch Tour moved at a quick pace and served as a nice showcase for folks that we’ll most likely be talking about a lot by the end of the year. For ticket information check out AustinMahone.com, or any of the other artist websites – Midnight Red, Alex Angelo, W3 The Future, and Becky G.
All photo credits by the author
This article originally appeared on here on blogcritics.