Even with his newfound fame, multiple Grammy nominations, an appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” designer clothes (Tommy Hilfiger dressed the rapper for The Met Gala), and a #1 single (“Industry Baby” featuring Lil Nas X) — Atherton High A graduate of the school, Jack Harlow has not forgotten his hometown.
Harlow kicked off his first of five consecutive sold-out shows during the “No Place Like Home” tour on Tuesday at Louisville Palace, 625 S. Fourth St. Harlow says the five shows have been added to the second half of his multi-city “The Creme De La Creme Tour” are his way of saying “thank you” to the local fans who have cheered him on from his early days to his current success.
“Kentucky, what’s up?” Harlow shouted over the deafening noise of the crowd. “What a night, what a night. I mean, if you have tickets, you must have moved fast and I love you for being here.”
And he paid for that loyalty in spades on Tuesday night when he announced there were 50 tickets for the Forecastle Festival 2022 registered under lucky seats. The annual festival, which was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will return to Louisville next year on its new date of Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29 at Waterfront Park, with Harlow headlining.
“I want to make a special announcement, you heard it here first. In 2022 I will be headlining the Forecastle Festival,” he told the ecstatic crowd. “I want to see everyone there. Check under your seats – 50 tickets came out in the crowd. If you didn’t get any, I still want to see you there.”
Harlow opened the show with “Tyler Herro” before telling the audience, which included his parents, that he was going to give them “a special show that I don’t give anyone else in the world,” playing a lot of little songs from his first mixtape “Gazebo”.
Of Harlow’s five “No Place Like Home” makeup gigs, with the final show Saturday at Old Forester’s Paristown Hall, only the Louisville Palace is a seated venue. Of course, by the time Harlow took to the stage dressed in all black, no seat audience of just over 2,600 bouncing fans remained standing for the duration of the show.
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Harlow’s stage set was full of iconic Louisville locations that were important to him growing up. A neon Ear X-tacy sign and a Morris Deli sign, plus a larger-than-life Louisville Slugger and a mini-version of the St. James Court fountain were all part of Harlow’s Louisville tribute set.
The high-energy gig took place less than five miles from the 23-year-old hip-hop star’s middle and high schools. As Harlow performed his triple-platinum single “What’s Poppin” and songs like “Same Guy” and “Loose,” he stood on a stage less than three miles from many of the places he raps about in his songs and used as backdrops in videos, like “Baxter Avenue”, “River Road”, “Heavy Hitter” (yes, as in personal injury attorney Darryl Isaacs) and others.
The rapper often thanked his Louisville fans for their support early in his career. Remember when he performed at the Kentucky Derby Festival Chow Wagon, small town clubs, and the 2015 Forecastle Festival when he was just 15? (What a long way!)
At one point, Harlow introduced his song “Confetti”, saying “2019 was an amazing year in Louisville. I was on tour but came back every other weekend. Life in 2019 was a party. So I gave you ‘Confetti’,” he said. .
The rap star also uses his hometown concerts to shine the spotlight on other local and Kentucky artists. Each of the five nights, held at a different Louisville venue, will feature local and Kentucky artists, including Nappy Roots, Dr. Dundiff and 2forwOyNE – a member of The Homies, a local hip hop group co-created by Harlow .
On Tuesday, Harlow shared the stage with The Homies, DJ Lil Jerry, DJ Fresh and Marzz.
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He also gave a shout out to fellow Louisvillian and Grammy-nominated artist Bryson Tiller.
“When I was in high school, Bryson Tiller became an inspiration to me and I have to pinch myself that we became friends,” he said before launching into a performance of “Luv is Dro,” which puts featured Tiller.
He continued to guide audiences through the most important songs as he built his career and how Louisville influenced his songwriting.
“I went to Bloom Primary School in the heart of the Highlands, right next to Mid City Shopping Centre. Every month they had a skate party at Robbens Roost. And somehow, 10
years later, I found myself shooting a video at that same roller skating venue,” he said.
Earlier this week, Harlow announced a partnership with Kentucky Fried Chicken to support communities affected by the storms, which killed 74 people on Tuesday, with more than 100 people still missing, according to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. KFC and its parent company, Yum! Brands and Harlow are donating a combined $250,000 to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts.
Harlow and KFC are encouraging fans and customers to donate to affected communities via kfc.us/tornadorelief.
If you couldn’t snag a ticket to any of Harlow’s five shows this week in Louisville, you can catch him at the Grammy Awards held at the historic Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 31. The awards will be broadcast live at 8 mp on CBS.
Harlow is nominated for Best Melodic Rap Performance for his feature on pop star Lil Nas X’s single “Industry Baby.” year, giving Harlow another nomination as a featured artist and songwriter.
Contact Kirby Adams at [email protected] or Twitter @kirbylouisville.
Jack Harlow’s “No Place Like Home” Shows
- December 15: Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road
- December 16: Zanzabar, 2100 S. Preston St.
- December 17: Mercury Ballroom, 611 S. Fourth St.
- December 18: Old Forester’s Paristown Hall, 724 Brent St.