T-Pain picks up where Wayne left off

By Chase Myers, @chasemyers_DE

Still rolling from the Lil Wayne performance on April 20, Levels welcomed R&B artist T-Pain to the stage last night for a free show to kick off his five-date The Iron Way Tour.

The atmosphere was similar to the Lil Wayne show with hefty security enforcement and a growing turnout as the doors opened, but without the $50 ticket charge.

While it was a special show for T-Pain, being his first stop on tour, this was also significant for Levels because its goal was to show appreciation to those disappointed by Lil Wayne’s short-lived performance, as well as all customers who have attended over the years.

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“Greg [Knoob] and myself wanted to come back with something just so we could get a taste in everyone’s mouth for the end of the semester and also his retirement,” Michael Blakemore, promoter for Blakemore Entertainment said. “T-Pain arose as an opportunity, so we thought it would be a good idea to give back to customers.”

Knoob, owner of Levels, has been running the show at Levels all year and has been a disc-jockey for more than 30 years. He will be retiring at the end of the spring semester.

“Greg always has a heart for Carbondale, SIU students and customers, so this is a give-back to him and we want to send him off properly so he can ride off into the sunset,” Blakemore said.

A few of the stops on T-Pain’s tour are in smaller cities like Carbondale, with stops in Danville on May 16 and Jacksonville, Fl., on May 28.

Similar to Lil Wayne, the R&B singer will be focusing on club venues and promoting his new mixtape “The Iron Way,” released on Mar. 27.

“I think Levels is a good place for T-Pain because it’s fitting for his music and fitting for the scene,” Nicole Mellecker, a junior studying humanities from Chicago said.

Unlike Lil Wayne, T-Pain took full advantage of the VIP section of Levels nightclub, where some attendees were allowed access, including Brooke Cleary, a junior studying fashion and design from El Paso.

“It was kind of cool being like, ‘hey, there’s a celebrity in the same area as me,’” Cleary said.

T-Pain was in the building by 11:45 p.m. and onstage by 12:15 a.m., 15 minutes after his rumored performance time.

As his performance progressed, the venue’s hot temperature became more noticeable with such a packed crowd and electric response.

His performance was much longer than Lil Wayne’s, exiting the stage shortly after 1 a.m., while continuing to mingle in the VIP section afterward.

“Carbondale responded very well,” Blakemore said. “The Lil Wayne show was a set up for bigger events … we have a lot more great things planned for the SIU and Carbondale community.”

The club cleared out at about 1:45 as police and security officers were scattered outside to ensure safety as attendees flowed into the parking lot. 

Other than a few quickly diffused altercations in the club and outside shortly after, the show was a smooth finale to Levels’ star-studded spring semester.

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