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The Calgary Stampede 2023: The Big Four Roadhouse show reviews 

By Nimra Amir, July 27 2023—  

For Calgarians and tourists alike, the Calgary Stampede is much more than a ten-day festival —- it is a celebration of Albertan summer that brings the community together through a host of events at the Stampede Grounds like rides for the adrenaline junkies, rodeos for the true-blue cowboys and shows for the music lovers. 

Shows were put on every day and night from every genre across four stages. One of the four stages — and my most frequented stage — was the Bud Light Stage at The Big Four Roadhouse, a recently renovated modern venue with a rustic vibe appropriate for the rural roots of the Calgary Stampede. The shows I attended at the Bud Light Stage were Lil Yachty on July 11 and Murda Beatz and A$SP Ferg on July 12. 

Just as suspected, crowds for shows began lining up hours in advance given the fact that anyone with admission to the Calgary Stampede also had admission to all shows at the Bud Light Stage, except for the separately paid show for Lord Huron on July 9. While the integrity of the line quickly dwindled as people began pushing through the barricades, those like myself who did not care enough to rush inside were still able to get in quickly. Once inside, the crowd was dispersed into the venue from dancing near the stage to getting food and drinks near the back. Of course, that was until the shows began. 

Lil Yachty

Suitably for his stage name, American rapper Lil Yachty began his show on July 11 at the Bud Light Stage by throwing water into the crowd to a song he was rapping so unintelligibly that it was almost impossible for me to recognize. While he continued to throw water into the crowd throughout his show — with the favour returned at some point when the crowd began to throw ice at him — the songs he was rapping became easier to recognize. 

His setlist was made up of older pop-rap songs like “Yacht Club,” “iSpy,” “Broccoli” and “From the D to the A” which brought a sense of nostalgic hype to newer pop-rap and alt-rap songs like “Poland” and “Strike (Holster).” Surprisingly, Lil Yachty did not perform any songs from his most recent album Let’s Start Here, but instead closed out the show with the same high energy he began with in a cover of “Take a Step Back” by Ski Mask the Slump God and XXXTentacion. 

Murda Beatz 

Murda Beatz, a Canadian producer, set the expected tone for shows on July 12 at the Bud Light Stage by giving everyone their main character moment by playing beloved but overplayed rap songs that everyone could vibe along to like “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” by Kayne West or “I Don’t Fuck With You” by Big Sean. The culmination was when Murda Beatz played “Nice For What” by Drake — one of the most popular songs he has production credits on. It was exactly the type of show you would expect and while the show was mediocre, there is still not much to complain about when Murda Beatz played the safest songs that he could.

A$AP Ferg

Following Murda Beatz, American rapper A$AP Ferg began his show on July 12 at the Bud Light Stage. For those like myself, who are not familiar with A$AP Ferg outside of his most popular songs like “Plain Jane” or “Work” which he performed near the end of his set, there was no need to worry. A$AP Ferg, clearly a natural-born performer, put on an energetic show from the jump with songs like “New Level,” “Jet Lag” and “Me (FWM).” Throughout the show, he continuously interacted with the crowd by welcoming new fans, urging old fans to “show them how it’s done” and even disappearing into the crowd mid-songs. It was a show that everyone could enjoy.

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