An unruly youth movement that has infiltrated the pop charts attracted more than 15,000 revelers to the Flyover festival at Providence Medical Center Amphitheater on Saturday.
Post Malone, 22, headlined the nine-hour show in Bonner Springs. Because of delays elsewhere in the event, he didn't take the stage until nearly midnight, but many of his fans seemed willing to wait.
Austin Post, the Texas native who performs as Post Malone, spewed profanity and extolled inebriation. Yet Post’s most profound act of rebellion came embedded in his music. He rejects the foundational elements of hip-hop and rock and roll in favor of an ahistorical sound. The approach clearly resonates with his generation.
Post has claimed a spot as one of the most popular artists of 2018. Even though his slacker demeanor makes him an unlikely hit maker, songs from his new album “Beerbongs & Bentleys” were streamed on Spotify a record 411 million times the first week of its release.
A few of his ill-considered remarks and his breakout hit “White Iverson” have led to accusations of cultural appropriation, but Saturday’s predominantly white audience showered him with affection that was untainted by racial animus.
Performing without a band or an on-stage DJ, Malone confessed, “I feel fat and drunk.” Even so, his talent showed throughout his karaoke-style set.
He accompanied himself on acoustic guitar on “Feeling Whitney” and “Stay.” Near the conclusion of his 75-minute outing, he railed against naysayers who incorrectly predicted he’d be a one-hit wonder.
Post’s formidable stage presence and the strength of “Beerbongs & Bentleys” suggest that while his nascent career could take many directions, it’s more likely to ultimately resemble the wide-ranging rock of Kid Rock than the path of iconic rappers like Jay-Z.
The festival fell behind schedule when event organizers abruptly shut down a secondary stage shortly after 6 p.m. Jessie Reyez, an aspiring feminist pop star from Toronto, was among the four artists originally slated for that second stage who instead appeared on the main stage in a reshuffled schedule.
California speed-rapper Snow Tha Product and the apocalyptic New York rap crew the Flatbush Zombies were the most impressive of the other 14 acts on the ambitious bill, which also included rapper Lil Pump.
Post, in his first song, crooned “I don't wanna die too young," a candid acknowledgment of the risks inherent in the hedonistic lifestyle he glorifies in his lyrics. Should Post or any of his fans at Saturday’s concert meet an untimely demise, their friends and families should know that almost everyone at Saturday’s concert participated in a jubilant, if somewhat depraved, celebration of life.
The Flyover festival was produced by Mammoth, an event production company based in Lawrence.
Post Malone set list: Too Young; Over Now; Takin' Shots; No Option; Big Lie; Deja Vu; Psycho; Candy Paint; 92 Explorer; I Fall Apart; Up There; Feeling Whitney; Stay; Jonestown (Interlude); Go Flex; Rockstar; White Iverson; Congratulations.