Scenes From Saturday’s Sold-Out Post Malone Hometown Debut at Trees.

Hours before Post Malone took the stage for his sold-out gig at Trees on Saturday night, with the sun still up and daylight still illuminating Deep Ellum, a group of young Dallas rappers congregated on the venue’s smoking patio, trying to put into words the night’s significance.

“This has never happened,” one of them said. “Dallas has never had this.”

Cue eyeroll? I’m not so sure. He was talking on a couple of points — Dallas’ current hip-hop state, the collaboration that had transpired over the course of #DallasWeek, the quick ascent of the night’s headliner. And, sure, maybe a little naivete and youthful optimism was clouding his outlook on things. But he wasn’t wrong, per se.

Recent history on each of those three fronts cast a clear significance on the night’s festivities. A little perspective on Post Malone in particular for those who’ve been sleeping on this side of the local music game: What’s happening with this Grapevine-sprung 19-year-old isn’t really that far off from what’s happening with fellow local darling du jour Leon Bridges; actually, after coverage from Complex, Vice and Slam, Post Malone’s probably an even bigger deal to Dallas’ hype-loving youth. (But that, maybe, is a story for another time. In the near future, we’ll have a more in-depth profile on the rapper born Austin Post and his head-spinning rise.)

Point is, the deck was stacked in this night’s favor heading in. That much could be seen, too, even before any rappers took the stage. With his hour-long opening DJ set, bemyfriend had a good 70 percent of the floor bouncing in unison and chanting along to the hooks of his every selection. The others tapped to pave the way for Post — at least nine opening rappers stood front and center on the mic at some point, for those few counting at home — too took advantage of the fever pitch. None performed for more than 15 minutes max — and none dared challenge the attention deficiencies of the mostly under-21 crowd, which meant shirts tended to get torn off within 30 seconds of an on-stage sprint.

Post was more cool about things; his appearance was less an attention grab than a meeting of demand. Donning a Dirk Nowitzki jersey and a Dallas Cowboys ballcap, he reveled in that adoring spotlight, too, his smile wide and his grill reflecting the light back out. He only performed a half-dozen songs — one of which has yet to make an appearance on his Soundcloud page and two of which (the opener and the closer) were his breakthrough “White Iverson” smash — and, though short, his set was still twice the length of any that preceded it. It was about 20 times more vibrant, though, with seemingly the entire crowd — or at least those on the floor of the venue — singing along to Post’s every word as he shimmied about the stage, happy to play the role of a ham.

Yes, Post Malone’s first-ever honest-to-goodness show in his hometown was about as triumphant a showing as these things can be from an artist’s standpoint. And from the audience’s perspective, it really was a highly entertaining time. The fact that his songs are actually for-real strong no doubt helps a lot.

Was it the Dallas hip-hop milestone of a concert that some in attendance 100 percent wanted it to be? I mean, it might’ve been; it really was pretty cool. And it was a thrill for Post, as he acknowledged after the show, that his first-ever sold-out performance happened here in his hometown, with his family there to watch on.

On the flip side, was it an absolutely over-the-top display of the hype machine at work? Yes, for sure, almost hilariously so.

But was it a good time and, at the very least, a confirmation that there might actually be a little magic behind what Post Malone’s putting down, an indication that maybe the hype is merited? Yes, definitely.

Now, one final question, addressing those young rappers’ concerns from out on the patio before the night really got started: Has Dallas never seen anything like this before? I honestly don’t know about that. It’s a fun talking point, but also moot one. Because, cornball as it is to say stuff like this, it needs to be said yet again, even if we’re sounding like a broken record as we do: Whatever this is, whatever all this is that’s happening in the local hip-hop scene these days, it’s pretty special.

Saturday night’s show repped that well. Real well.

All photos by Kathy Tran.
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