Saturday night at the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa was one of those nights you don't see often enough, regardless of location or music scene.
People of all backgrounds, races, and walks of life filled the small venue. Preppy white guys boat shoes rubbed elbows with cholos in snapbacks as Coby Smith's mom and sister thanked everyone for coming out to the benefit concert his brothers at Abstract Workshop were holding for him. Hipsters with man-buns peered over cornrows and afros to get a peek of Exile working the turntables on stage, knowing that the biggest performer of the night was soon to take the stage.
Whether they were there in support of Coby or just to see Aloe Blacc, no one in the packed crowd wanted to miss a moment of the OC native's set.
The soulful rapper generally kept his set on the lighter side, given the cause of the night (and the fact that most of his music is relatively cheerful as it is), and kicked things off with "Hey Brother," "Take Me Back" and "Good Things" before getting to the first fan favorite of the night with "I Need a Dollar."
During "I Need a Dollar," most of the chattering in the Wayfarer's bar area ceased, as much of the crowd began to sing at least the choruses. At one point, a fan even began dancing while seated atop her companion's shoulders, much to the dismay of the underprepared security guards. Apparently, they're not used to actually having a sold-out crowd in the venue.
Blacc followed up his first hit with "Lift Your Spirit" and "Love is the Answer" before getting to the moment(s) that the bulk of the crowd was probably most familiar with.
A heartfelt singalong rendition of "The Man" (although lacking Richard Sherman, Kevin Garnett or Colin Kaepernick) preceded the brief Avicii concert that broke out during "Wake Me Up," and upon hearing the songs they knew, about a third of the crowd filed back out to the bar area to get another round of drinks and check out the silent auction.
Undeterred, Blacc continued on and closed out his set with a handful of Emanon tracks, including "Count Your Blessings," "Blind Love" and "The Words," from his old days with Exile and debuting a new track from the long-awaited Emanon return album.