TVD Live Shots: Machine Gun Kelly, Avril Lavigne, and Willow at Oakland Arena, 7/19

In a sign that his trajectory shows no sign of slowing, Machine Gun Kelly brought his “Mainstream Sellout” tour to the Oakland Arena for an over-the-top rock show that left nothing to be desired.

Soft-spoken but with a big voice, Willow Smith kicked things off to an enthusiastic crowd. Clearly trying to shed her “Whip My Hair” origins, the twenty-one-year-old is making a big step towards recasting her image through her latest release Lately I Feel Everything, an opening slot for MGK and a few between-song f-bombs no doubt helped in this regard.

Next up was Avril Lavigne who, with a new album out earlier this year, arguably could have been given a longer set time. As it was, she only had around 30 minutes to cram a pair of new tunes off of Love Sux in with the expected fan favorites. Given the crowd response, the Bay Area is likely hoping for a proper headlining date in support of the new album.

The Oakland crowd started to get a good glimpse of what was to come as the crew made quick work of the stage, assembling a sloped circular checkerboard section of stage with sections cut out for the drums and keyboards. Of course, the helicopter not-so-subtlety positioned directly above the stage was hard to miss from the beginning of the night, but its purpose was not so obvious.

With My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade” giving the audience a little pre-set pump, the appearance of MGK’s girlfriend Megan Fox side stage distracted a corner of the arena from the start of the comical video that had the aforementioned helicopter flying to the back of the arena to pick up Kelly and bring him to the stage while he sang “born with horns” dangling from a rope ladder. While by this point in the tour anyone paying attention knew what was coming, it definitely did not keep them from losing their minds.

That pretty much set the tone for an what would prove to be an appropriately over-sized arena show that not surprisingly paid special attention to Kelly’s latest release, Mainstream Sellout, but leaving room to highlight at least one collaboration with Avril, joining him on stage for “Bois Lie.”  Say what you will about MGK, but the there’s no denying that the dude knows how to put on an epic show.



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