Classified live at Crazy Horse in Kanata, Ontario on October 10, 2013.

You can always tell veteran savvy. It is more than a person’s age or ability and it is something that can not be bought or learned.

As such, you can always tell when a live performer has been through the grind, has played the empty and dingy bars and has learned how to win over every single person in the building. Luke Boyd, better known as East Coast rapper Classified oozes veteran savvy from his every pore.

Classified spent many years rocking bars and building himself up from just another rapper to one of Canada’s premier emcees and the lessons he’s learned along the way were evident from the first moment of his hour long set to the last few bars of his version of “Oh Canada” – the last song of the night.

Flanked on stage by his DJ, a drummer, a guitarist (his brother) and fellow rapper Mic Boyd (his other brother), Classified, kept the crowd engaged with his banter between songs, made sure his energy level never sagged and delivered a nice mixture of crowd pleasing hits and tracks off his recent album Classified.

The audience did its part, as they stayed active through most of the set. When they did lag, near the middle, Classified easily won them back with a show stopping performance his most well-known song, “Inner Ninja”. By the time he brought a fan on stage to sing with him on “All About You”, Classified could do no wrong in front of the loud, mostly female, crowd. The rest of the show was basically preaching to the choir, but it was still damn good gospel.

The fact that the gig was a “win to get in” promo show for Silver Spice, Captain Morgan’s latest rum (Note: It’s awful.) didn’t matter as Classified clearly didn’t phone anything in. In fact, it was another demonstration of a veteran in action. Being a promo show, he did exactly what they’re meant to do – deliver just enough to make people want to see a proper gig but know when to stop playing and get off stage on at the shows peak.

A veteran move by a veteran performer who proved to be a true class act.

Disclaimer: The photo above is of Classified and the author of this review. It is the only quality photograph from the evening.

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