The Smile, You’re on Camera Tour had a secret weapon

Texas act PNTHN was stealing shows left and right on road with Vince Staples

PNTHN’s members have the gall to be conscious of their stage presence. The freshly seasoned Texas group is riding its first wind as far as the sail will allow. The all-male group appeared in control of their stage presence Tuesday in Atlanta at work with West-coasters Buddy and headliner Vince Staples. This happens to be PNTHN’s most accessible tour yet. Learning to mesh with audiences that aren’t necessarily coming to see them bodes well for their future. On the verge of entering the next, upper tier of artistry, this is your best chance to see PNTHN live before their price goes up.

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Credit: hotel party

The name PNTHN comes from a member’s interest in mythology, thus the word “pantheon”, which is how PNTHN is pronounced. They took the stage at 8:30… all of a sudden, there were six rappers on stage, each commanding their own pocket of the floor, while their DJ looked the ever consummate professional. Perhaps the most riveting aspect of their brief but illustrious set was just how young they looked on stage, and how much fun they looked like they were having. Clearly, PNTHN lives for the moment, and continues to do so on stage.

The DJ drops a tag in between songs: “It’s the PNTHN, baby,” a member of the group said in an Austin Powers twang. PNTHN rapper Tony Tone tells ATL to turn the fuck up. A tiny mosh-pit begins to formulate as red, blue, and green lights accent the stage.

Much to the crowd’s chagrin, PNTHN leaves the stage at 9:15, allowing Buddy to pick up where they left off at 9:30. Admittedly, Buddy’s performance started off very slow, and there was hardly any crowd engagement until he was three songs in. It appeared the dynamics of the group on stage before him could not be matched by a single performer. This gives PNTHN a reputation that should ensure them a long career in live performances: more bodies on stage, more things happening, more good rap music, more shows for now and later.

Vince Staples took the stage at 10:15 for the tour he had announced in December. The California artist went through hits like Blue Suede, but saved the best for latter in his set: Big Fish was by far the best sounding song live, as Staples performs without a backtracking vocal, but ultimately became a caricature of itself as Staples ad-libbed “late night” three times during the hook. The third time was in poor taste.

NOEL Drops “Mount Olympus”

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Houston, TX rapper NOEL is preparing his album Generation Mac for release this year. To precede this project, he’s released his new music video for his song “Mount Olympus”, a far cry from the R&B offerings found in his earlier work.

In “Mount Olympus”, NOEL puts his bars on full display while showing his inclination for theatrics: narration, subtitles, intermissions, and more. These things go a long way for new artists making a name for themselves. The sticking point for me watching the sleeveless NOEL catapult himself around this barren mountain where the video was shot was his proclaimation that he was “Zayn with some 808s”. In an industry where branding has overtaken, a lot of artists choose to play the game while hoping to maintain their own identity. If I were NOEL, I would stick with the Zayn with some 808s tagline and turn into a social or media campaign.

Watch the video here: