Bryson Tiller Sells Out Toad’s Place Twice in Same Night

Paul carbonella

Last Thursday, Nov. 19, New Haven’s historic Toad’s Place had the pleasure of hosting not one, but two performances from Bryson Tiller after the first sold out. The Louisville-born singer and rapper created buzz amongst hip hop channels in 2011 with his Killer Instinct Vol. 1 mixtape, but hadn’t achieved legitimate mainstream success until the release of his debut album TRAPSOUL, which hit shelves in early October. You may have even caught yourself singing along to his Billboard-charting single, “Don’t” while listening to Hot 93.7 this month, just as a room full of fans did at Tiller’s show last week.

Bryson Tiller has been gaining populatirty with his single “Don’t” (Photo obtained via Facebook)
Bryson Tiller has been gaining populatirty with his single “Don’t”
(Photo obtained via Facebook)

Tiller’s show was originally intended for 8:30 p.m. last Thursday, but due, in-part, by both a series of ticket giveaways by the local hip-hop station (which I didn’t win), and the singer/rapper’s growing popularity, Toad’s Place announced a second show at 10:30 p.m., which I barely managed to acquire tickets for.

Around midnight, a backdrop of neon white lines appeared, highlighting the smoky clouds drifting across the stage. Bryson Tiller finally arrived onstage and immediately went into “Let ‘Em Know,” the first track off of TRAPSOUL. His stage presence was exceptional off the bat—one of those rare, spirited performances you only get from performers who are just breaking through.

Throughout the night, Tiller was capable of delivering that same energy to a venue packed with fans who seemed to know every word of his record.

He performed some of my favorite cuts from the album, including “Rambo,” “502 Come Up,” and “Sorry/Not Sorry.” He also performed several singles, such as “Ease,” and other songs produced by the music-collective affiliates Soulection.

It was an inspiring to watch Tiller perform at his very best on a night of two sold-out shows and immense mainstream buzz. He seemed to take it in with humility though, both celebrating and appreciating the recent success. He even seemed surprised at some moments; he would constantly thank the crowd for coming and for enjoying his music. Earlier that day, in an interview with Hot 93.7’s DJ Buck, he said he’d been “working in a pizza joint” just a year ago. “Thank God and thank all of you,” he said, before breaking into “The Sequence.”

After a spirited performance, Tiller took some time to (again) thank the audience before he gave everyone what they’d been really waiting for.   “Don’t play with her/Don’t be dishonest/I’m not understanding this logic/I’m back and I’m better” Tiller sang on the chorus of “Don’t,” which has been rising on the Billboard charts for the last two months and has received extensive radio play in America.

His energy was radiating throughout the audience, making them feel his happiness and appreciation. I was continually grateful to have seen a just-rising Bryson Tiller perform so well in little Toad’s Place, right before he completely blows up. When the neon lights faded into black, I could only wonder what was next for Tiller.