By Jenna Hynek
I arrived at the Waiting Room an hour before Grieves came to the stage.
I had done my research—listened to his music, read his lyrics and even read through bios and webpages about his life. Grieves grew up listening to punk but as he grew up he morphed his musical pallet into hip-hop. His real name is Benjamin Laub and he grew up in Seattle. He was popular in the 2000s and released an album called “Running Wild” after a three-year drought of creating new music.
Grieves entered from the darkness of backstage into a room of people with their arms up and rock n’ roll hands ready to jam.
He gave the audience a smirk and asked us, “Are you guys ready to get it?”
A voice to my right responded, “Hell yeah we are!” The voice belonged to 27-year-old Grieves fan Kaylyn Angerman.
“I’ve been listening to Grieves since I was in high school,” Angerman said. “I actually went to see another band and Grieves opened for them and I was like, ‘Wow, this guy is really good,’ and so I got more into him and I’ve seen him multiple times since.”
Together, Angerman and I jammed to the set. Grieves made the show seem personal—he cycled through the front row of the audience and looked them eyes as he rapped lyrics. Also stopping mid-set to discuss the last time he came to Omaha—a man threw a brick through a window because he wasn’t allowed inside the building—and finished the story by complementing Omaha on its wild behaviors.
Grieves provided a lullaby of hip-hop while also bringing the hype to his set by letting his band members step away from their designated spots on stage and interact with the audience as well. The fan base may be smaller in the Midwest, but the fans he does have are incredibly die-hard and will travel to him as Angerman drove an hour and a half from Sioux City, Iowa to see him again live.