Machine Gun Kelly, Avril Lavigne & Willow at The Greek Theater

Machine Gun Kelly stopped at the KIA Forum Wednesday night (7/13). MGK’s last L.A. show took place at the Greek Theater this past October which had oversized stage props all in pink, some being pill bottles. MGK is back with a bigger production than ever. 

MGK has definitely been making a name for himself over the past decade since signing with Bad Boy Records and releasing his debut album Lace Up in 2012. Lace Up made its debut at number 4 on the Billboard 200 and since then has achieved Gold status selling over 500,000 copies. After several acting roles MGK portrayed Tommy Lee in The Dirt (2019). Another milestone came when MGK was the only artist to have a rock album debut at number 1 on the Billboard 200 for 2020 with Tickets to My Downfall which had tremendous success. Now MGK is back with Mainstream Sellout released on March 25th this year which includes guests Lil Wayne, Willow, Oli Sykes, and Young Thug. Mainstream Sellout hit number one on the Billboard 200, Top Alternative Albums, and Top Rock Albums. Blink 182’s Travis Barker played drums on the album and was one of the producers. MGK embarked on his first arena tour June 8th in Austin, TX. The opening acts include Blackbear, Iann Dior, Pvris, Trippie Redd, 44phantom, and from July 8th-28th Avril Lavigne and Willow. Lavigne and Willow both performed at the KIA Forum in January this year at iHeart AlterEgo.

After Willow’s performance, Pop-Punk princess Avril Lavigne took the stage. Prior to her surprise iHeart AlterEgo performance, Lavigne last publicly performed December 2019 with all performances since being TV or private. Lavigne’s last performance at the KIA Forum was in 2014 opening for the Backstreet Boys. Back in the early 2000’s Lavigne dominated the charts with her debut album Let Go (2002) going diamond number one in her home country of Canada and two in the U.S. Her second album Under My Skin (2004) went 5x platinum and number 1 in both Canada and the U.S. Her third album The Best Damn Thing (2007) went 2x platinum and hit number 1 in Canada and the U.S. Lavigne re-emerged in 2019 with Head Above Water her first album in six years and first tour in almost five years. Now Lavigne is back with Love Sux released on February 22nd, 2022 which reached number 3 in Canada and 9 in the U.S. Travis Barker was the drummer on the album. Before joining MGK’s tour, Lavigne had a massive Canadian tour spanning 17 dates. Lavigne also performed at the Boston Calling festival. 

Lavigne performed an eight song set starting with her number one hit “Girlfriend,” which she rose from the stage with black balloons above just like the album cover for Love Sux and streamers shot out The set included hits “Complicated,” “My Happy Ending,” and “Sk8er Boi.” There were also streamers on “Sk8er Boi” as I would say Halloween colors since they were orange and black. Lavigne also performed the two singles off the new album “Bite Me,” and “Love It When You Hate Me.” Blackbear joined in for “Love It When You Hate Me.” The final song was “I’m With You” from Let Go which had the audience waving their phones like concert attendees did with lighters many years ago. It was easy to see how many Avril fans were there with many girls dressing up like her different outfits from the music videos. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Let Go and she hasn’t changed a bit and is still a voice for teens. The band is musical director/keyboardist Steve Ferlazzo, guitarist David Immerman, bassist Matt Reilly, drummer Chris Reeve, and her new lead guitarist Cameron Hurley. 

Before MGK came out there was a sing-a-long of My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade” MGK made a grand entry like no other. There was an intro video of a face-time call of MGK sitting in a shipping box with packing pellets communicating with a fictional pilot, as the pink helicopter with black stripes moved around from a track built into the ceiling with a search light on. Once the helicopter got to the soundboard MGK climbed up the ladder hanging off and stayed there until he got to the stage while performing the first song off the new album “Born With Horns” followed by “God Save Me” and “Maybe” the second and third songs from the new album. The helicopter would return later. The stage looked like a giant chess board but round with its checkerboard design. The performance spanned two hours over 29 songs. By song six MGK brought out a huge surprise guest which was Lil Wayne to perform “Drug Dealer” and “ay!” for the first time together. On the eighth song Lavigne joined MGK for their duet, the title track from her new album Bois Lie. MGK’s band is guitarist AJ Tyus, bassist Steve ‘Baze’ Basil, drummer JP ‘Rook’ Cappelletty, and keyboardist Brandon ‘Slimxx’ Allen. The newest member is YouTube sensation Sophie Loyd (guitar). MGK reflected on how he was playing the Roxy 10-11 years ago and made it to The Forum. 

One of the show themes was the internet and how much can be fabricated such as MGK saying the internet could make it look like the show didn’t sell when it was actually sold-out. However there was a massive stage prop MGK named the internet. Think of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon that can stand upright and have arms that move. For at least six songs the internet stood behind the stage which was a man’s body with a giant computer screen for a head with a digital face that could change expressions. At one point the helicopter was firing at it. Later next to stage left a giant inflatable woman rose. 

There was another big surprise about halfway through the show with Barker joining in for two songs “Title Track” and “Bloody Valentine.” The real surprise was that Barker was able to play after being hospitalized earlier in the month for pancreatitis and with as much intensity and this was his first public appearance since then. Barker wasn’t the only surprise guest though. Since this was L.A. it had to be over the top, Willow joined in for song 20 “Emo Girl,” but that wasn’t the last guest. Before the last four songs Halsey joined for “forget me too” and the next two songs Blackbear came out for “Make Up Sex” and “My Ex’s Best Friend.” The closing songs were “twin flame” and “9 Lives.” All together MGK performed 14 songs from Mainstream Sellout which is the entire album minus one song and an interlude. 

The Mainstream Sellout tour runs through October 12th ending in Amsterdam.