Marc E Bassy at the Regency Ballroom, by Robert Alleyne
Marc E. Bassy (photo: Robert Alleyne)

On Thursday, October 19, Bebe Rexha, and Marc E Bassy’s Bebe & Bassy tour stopped in San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom (after a last minute change from the Warfield). Albanian-American Rexha is the daughter of an immigrant, and mid-way through her set, she shared her father’s story. Travelling from country to country, and even finding himself detained, before finding his home in New York. It was a heartfelt story which serves to explain Rexha’s tenacity as a musician. Writing for the likes of Tinashe, Iggy Azalea, and Selena Gomez helped to put her on the map, and now with this year’s release of All Your Fault (Part 1 and 2), she is planting her flag firmly in the R&B-pop landscape.

One of the themes of her music is empowerment — beating the odds, or getting up when you feel like you cannot. “I’m tired of trying to be normal / I’m always over-thinking / I’m driving myself crazy / So what if I’m fucking crazy,” she sings on the thunderous “I’m Gonna Show You Crazy.” On this night it is sung acoustically; the words felt like they were being set free. Before performing it, Rexha confessed it was a song that, fans tell her, has saved a lot of people — just knowing this adds an emotional weight to the performance.

Rexha is a very personable performer, one who can effortlessly switch from emotional moments of high energy with the charm of a wizard. She has an air of authenticity to her, which makes her easily relatable. Towards the end of her set, she invites a “super-fan” on stage, only for him to be tackled by her security. She jokes the moment away by explaining they were “doing what they’re paid for” and within a few beats the two are dancing away on stage as if none of the commotion happened.

Marc E Bassy at the Regency Ballroom, by Robert Alleyne

Opening the night was the Bay Area’s own Marc E Bassy. The 30-year-old singer moved back to the Bay Area in the last few years, and during the show, he confesses that his career didn’t begin to “pop off” until he moved back to NorCal. The euphoria of being at a hometown show is not lost on Bassy, and the set is full of proclamations of Bay Area love. To affirm the fact he was “home,” towards the end of his set he bought out World Champion Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee. After a little on-stage banter, McGee settled down to the keys, and the crowd erupted in a mixture of shock and awe at the revelation the 7-foot basketball player is also a producer.

“You guys being here, with all this energy makes me feel so good,” he proclaimed at one point. The audience roared back in appreciation. With his album released just the week prior, it felt like a good time for Bassy to be in the Bay. His latest single “Plot Twist” was sung back to him, and “You & Me” rocked the crowd in a way that felt like, for one night at least, he was being anointed Homecoming King.

Rexha also has ties to the Bay Area through her collaborations with G-Eazy, and while he was not in appearance this time, “Me, Myself and I” got a booming reception at the start of the set. Rexha and Bassy represent a new wave of R&B/pop musicians who are authentic through their life experiences, which they wear proudly on their sleeves.