Weeknd maintains elusive appeal

The vibe was unique, the atmosphere was electric and the audience was a far cry from the typical Turret partiers. The crowd at Laurier’s Turret nightclub this past Wednesday and Thursday proved that The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) appeals to a hipster and hood hybrid style that is equally as original as his music.

The evening’s opening act for The Weeknd was DJ Charlie Brown. Though the DJ had promise, the set was tragic, as he would play the first three lines of a perfect hip-hop banger before abruptly changing songs.

Despite Charlie Brown’s case of musical ADD, the crowd was pumped for The Weeknd to come on.

When the show began, it became glaringly apparent that The Weeknd is too big for the Turret. This is to say that his fans — the approximate 300 people crammed at the front of the stage belting the lyrics to all of his songs — seemed privy to some knowledge that the rest of us were lacking. The artist’s significant fan base are positive that The Weeknd is the best R&B artist and best Canadian artist out there.

The Weeknd serenaded the audience with his sexual lyrics and impressed with his uncommon ability to sound exactly like he does on his three mix-tapes.

Abel Tesfaye a.k.a. The Weeknd ultimately showed the Wilfrid Laurier University crowd just how big he really is. He didn’t dance, he didn’t use lights, he didn’t have a smoke machine.

He simply stood in front of a packed audience and poured his soul into the microphone. Tesfaye got into his narrative, closing his eyes at some points focusing on his music and astounding the audience with his pitch-perfect live performance.

What is even more astounding is that he is gaining popularity differently. The Weeknd didn’t sell out and sign with a large record label for a small fortune. He typically steers clear of media spectacles, high profile interviews or magazine covers in fact, he has never actually done an interview, period.

The Weeknd is the most mysterious person in the music industry right now. Not much is known about him or his crew (dubbed the “xo crew”) and he declined to be interviewed by The Cord, as well as disallowed any official photography of either of his performances.

Fourth-year Laurier student Darryl Julott attended high school in Toronto (Birchmount Park C.I.) with Tesfaye and commented on the mystery shrouding The Weeknd. “People don’t know if it’s a guy, or girl or group, but no matter what everyone loves his music.”

The secrecy surrounding The Weeknd is exactly what is leading to his success.

He is going viral while polarizing the music industry. Julott described The Weeknd’s fan base as “a cult following,” adding, “It’s been this big word-of-mouth thing and it’s gotten him a lot of attention.”

It sure has gotten him a lot of attention, as he has landed a high-profile gig at Coachella music festival in mid-April 2012.

In the end, it is The Weeknd’s talent and singing/songwriting capabilities that have began to fuel his ascent into stardom.

The Weeknd absolutely stunned the Turret last week and left with just as much mystery (however a lot more intrigue) than he entered with.

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