Machine Gun Kelly Returns to Syracuse

On Tuesday July 5th, Machine Gun Kelly played his first ever show in Syracuse, NY at St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater. Joining MGK on his Mainstream Sellout Tour was Avril Lavigne and Iann Dior. The rapper turned rock star is no stranger to the Syracuse area even though he’s never played there. In 2018 MGK was part of the cast for Big Time Adolescence, which filmed in Liverpool. Kelly addressed his time in Syracuse filming alongside star Pete Davidson partying and buying his 1978 yellow Camaro.
It seems like just yesterday I was watching MGK open for Limp Bizkit at The House of Blues and the Oakdale Theater. Watching the “wild boy” then, I knew his career would continue to grow. Within 10 years of his debut album Lace Up, MGK has found himself going from playing clubs to headlining and selling out Madison Square Garden. Along the way, Kelly has continued with his core of musicians around him including drummer Rook, Baze, and Slimxx.
Prior to MGK taking the stage Tuesday night, a trailer for his new Hulu Documentary, “Life in Pink” played on the video screens. The entire venue seemed to have already watched the film and applauded heavily. After the trailer cut, a video played with MGK portraying a pilot saving himself from being trapped in a box that the internet put him in. When the video screen cut out, the giant helicopter above the stage lowered and lifted MGK up off the stage into the air over the crowd. Kelly performed most of the song “born with horns” while dangling from the helicopter’s ladder. 
After coming back down to the stage, Kelly and the rest of his band worked their way through the rest of the 27 song set. The stage show that was put on is definitely one of the best Syracuse has ever seen. The tour had built it’s own tilted stage over the top of the amphitheaters stage. The checkerboard stage had cutouts for Rook’s drum kit and 2 spots for keyboards and other equipment. The front of the stage featured fake television sets that had LED screens inside of them where MGK’s guitar player Justin Lyons stayed most of the show. Opposite of Lyons on stage was new guitarist Sophie Lloyd who seemed to blend perfectly after only being with the group for a few months. 
Every song throughout the night, Kelly had the entire theater singing along with him. From the front row of the pit all the way to the back of the lawn, the entire crowd was energized the entire night. Even with the rain rolling in before he took the stage, fans weren’t having their night ruined the slightest. Standing looking around at an amphitheater full of die hard MGK fans and comparing it to MGK’s sold out 2017 show at Upstate Concert Hall in Albany was insane. In just 5 years and 4 new albums, MGK has officially blown up and certainly isn’t going anywhere. 
The production for the entire set was next level. There wasn’t just CO2 cannons, these cannons blew smoke left and right around the stage. There was also plenty of pyro throughout the set that blew out from the top of the stage around Rook. Towards the middle of the set a giant blow up creature with a TV head appeared. This was described as “The Internet” which Kelly talked about trying to put him down time and time again. The motto of the night as MGK put it was “fuck the internet.” His music “battled” against the TV headed internet creature and pushed the message across to fans that don’t give up on your dreams and listen to critics that put you down. Later on in the show, the helicopter was once again used but instead of lifting up MGK, the chopper blew out fireworks over the front of the stage. When it comes to the stage show for the Mainstream Sellout Tour, nothing was left out. Looking at years to come, if this is what MGK is doing now on his first headlining arena/amphitheater tour who knows what future stage sets will look like. This was definitely a nice change of pace compared to many bands who’s stage show consists of a few big LED screens without much else. 
There were a few surprises for the thousands of fans who attended last night. During Kelly’s set, opener Avril Lavigne joined the band on stage to play “Bois Lie,” one of her songs. Kelly also made a couples marriage proposal even better after he pulled both of them on stage for a song. The two danced away while the band played aside them and got to share a beverage with MGK during “emo girl.” The rest of the show was filled with more songs from the last two albums Mainstream Sellout and Tickets to My Downfall. This was certainly the right choice the tour as many of the fans may be more interested in the newer material from MGK versus his older stuff off Lace Up and General Admission. Although, I’m sure there were plenty of people in Syracuse ready to go off to songs like “Wild Boy,” and “Till I Die.” 
The Mainstream Sellout Tour continues in North America until August 13th where it wraps up in MGK’s hometown, Cleveland at FirstEnergy Stadium. A month after that, the tour moves to Europe until the middle of October. 
For a list of tour dates, visit
Syracuse Setlist:
1. born with horns
2. god save me
3. maybe
4. mainstream sellout
5. drunk face
6. drug dealer
7. ay!
8. fake love don’t last
9. more than life
10. die in california
11. why are you here / jawbreaker
12. Floor 13
13. title track
14. El Diablo
15. papercuts
16. bloody valentine
17. roll the windows up
19. WW4
20. emo girl
21. Bois Lie
22. lonely
23. I Think I’m OKAY
24. forget me too
25. make up sex
26. my ex’s best friend
27. twin flame
Photos/review by Mark McGauley Photography
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