Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Bacardi Like It Live NY @ Terminal 5, June 13, 2011
I write this update and I'm a bit disappointed in myself. Why? Because I didn't see all of the artists performing Monday night, so this review is going to be lacking and really a bit unfair to the people who I didn't really get to see. However, to make myself look a little bit better, I will be blaming the guys from Bacardi for missing on a couple acts. Basically, Bacardi through a near perfect event, and really the only reason it wasn't perfect was because there were so many things to distract you from seeing artists that I actually ended up missing a couple! Here's what happened...
The ticketing system for this show was brilliantly done. You signed up yourself plus one and then they emailed you a pair of tickets. That's it. You print it out, bring it to the show, and you're good to go. So I did that, and everything went great. Terminal 5 is an awesome space, but I found out Monday night that it's definitely much bigger than I thought it was. Upon my entering of T5 DJ Tamara Sky was warming things up with some party tracks, and there was a bar in the back (of the first floor) with free Bacardi rum, in different flavors of course. I found out later that every floor had free Bacardi, but I guess that was to be expected.
Bacardi Like It Live is a Facebook 'contest' that involves people clicking the Like button on certain things on Bacardi's page. The particular thing with the most votes gets to be brought to life by Bacardi. Here's an example: Bacardi asked it's fans whether they like old school video games or new school video games. Of course they chose old school, so they unveiled an arcade INSIDE of T5 with all kinds of old school games like Ms. PacMan and Galaga! They also had Marvel Vs. Capcom, which I don't really consider old school, but it definitely is one of my favorite games (I'm a Street Fighter guy) so I spent quite some time playing it. This would represent one of the distractions stopping me from seeing the performance of one of the artists, we'll get to that. Aside from the video games Bacardi had a half-pipe on stage, complete with skateboarders and Bikers doing tricks, and even a t-shirt maker on the roof where you could make your very own custom t-shirts. Yes that's right kids, Bacardi turned T5 into a boozy, musical adult funhouse, where everything was free. Woohoo!
So now that I've set the stage for you let's get to the performances. I already mentioned Tamara Sky was playing when I arrived; after her DJ Irie (who was also doing some hosting) jumped on the steel wheels and started playing some tracks as well. After he was done he introduced the first performance of the night, Eklips and DJ Mouss all the way from France. These guys are awesome; they're pretty much a performance DJ duo. Eklips is on the mic hyping up the crowd with DJ Mouss spins some hot tracks. Every so often though Eklips would tell Muss to "PULL UP" so that he could do a little beatboxing. His beatboxing is amazing by the way, managing to both sing/rap and do the beat at the same time, sort of like Rahzel (but definitely not as great as he is). Their performance was high energy and a lot of fun, because they know music and know how to read a crowd. Eklips also does a very good Busta Rhymes impersonation, beatboxing (and rapping) "Look At Me Now," before letting Mouss just play it instead. It's been a while since I've heard performance DJs play and I've had so much fun. I really could only think about Black Chiney from out of Florida, and that was almost 10 years ago when I saw them absolutely destroy a party at Miami. This was a great way to start things off.
After these guys were done though me and my friend decided to venture upstairs (to the rooftop lounge) and see if we could get some free custom t-shirts. This proved to not be such a good idea for Mr. Blogger over here. There was a long line upstairs, and by the time I made it to the t-shirts the only sizes they had left were XL and up. Umm, no. I realized that I was possibly missing an artist so I ran downstairs, only to find that Aloe Blacc was performing, his last song. I've been told by friends of mine that Aloe Blacc is awesome and has a great sound and since they started talking him up I've been trying to see him live. I've gotten a couple of chances to see him at shows but never made it to the show, and this time I was actually at the venue, and still managed to miss him! Upon my return to the inside he was just beginning his biggest track to date, "I Need A Dollar," which is the first single off his album Good Things, and you might have heard it as the opening theme song for the HBO show "How to Make it in America," which of course stars a certain Kid Cudi (it all comes full circle doesn't it?). It's a great song and really you can pick up on what kind of an artist he is just from listening to it. His voice is very soulful and very deep for his look, and his sound matches it to a tee. Hopefully I will get another chance in the near future to actually hear this guy out, I owe him that much.
After he finished up it was on to my next distraction, Marvel Vs. Capcom. I spent the next 45 minutes to an hour playing against various other fans of the game, all the while pretty much missing the entire performance of rapper Childish Gambino. If you've never heard of Gambino it's because he normally goes by Donald Glover, the overly talented former writer for Saturday Night Live and now stars in the NBC show "Community." Believe it or not, he's actually a very good rapper, and not every song is a joke. The songs are very well thought out and quite clever, but of course I missed his entire performance shooting fireballs at kids and using my Dragon Punch. In hindsight I'm more upset about missing this performance than Aloe Blacc, because the chances of me seeing Aloe perform are higher I think than getting another chance to see Gambino, but hey, I've been surprised before. If you get a chance to see Glover do his music thing, please do; it will surprise you how good he is.
Not to be outdone by Glover was the headliner of the show, Scott Mescudi, BKA Kid Cudi. This part of the show I did not miss, and I'm glad I didn't. Kid Cudi is a musician, not really a rapper and not really a singer. He makes music that is really trippy, with techno and house baselines but of course can flow over a hip-hop beat if need be. His shows are very enjoyable and energy-filled, something I learned seeing him a few days ago at the Heineken GOOD Music show in Brooklyn. Clearly this set was to be much longer than his 3 or 4 song set for Heineken, and of course it was well received.
The difference here was the fact that pretty much everyone in attendance was a fan of the musicians on the card, as opposed to the Heineken event, where only a handful of fans got a chance to go. T5 was filled to capacity for Cudi's performance, and those that lasted this long were in for a treat. The thing about Kid Cudi is that his music is technically an acquired taste. When listening to him I see why someone could really like his stuff, but at the same time I can see why someone would dislike it as well. I am one of the people that really likes this guy's stuff, so I'm glad I got a full out performance from him.
He touched on both of his albums, and I doubt there was anyone in T5 that left disappointed. The Man on the Moon did "Soundtrack 2 My Life," "Solo Dolo," and "Alive." From the second album he blessed the fans with "Revofev," "We Aite (Wake Your Mind Up)," and "Marijuana," even amidst rumors that he quit smoking the stuff. The jury is still out on that by the way. He dropped a plethora of hits, even dabbling in "Mr. Rager" and somehow finding time to throw in his mega-smash "Day N Nite," all before ending his awesome and powerful set with his great track "Pursuit of Happiness," which I'm starting to think is the song he usually ends on, and I can't fault him for that.
The show finished in the wee hours of the night (the doors opened at 9pm and I didn't get in until minutes to 10pm) and everyone was so tired from partying that I'm quite certain that no one had any complaint by the end of the night. Just when you thought Bacardi couldn't have done any better they had their Bacardi girls handing out bottles of water to people upon their exit. How nice are those guys?! I'm hoping to go to at least one more Bacardi event this summer, and if it's anything like this, I may be crowning them the new kings of the party...