Friday, August 12, 2011

Billboard Summer Blowout @ Pier 36, August 11, 2011

The guys from Billboard (yea, THAT Billboard) threw their Summer Blowout event/concert last night in the NYC’s worst kept “secret location,” Pier 36 downtown. This of course was the location for last year’s epic Heineken concert with Nas and Cee-Lo Green, so you knew that last night’s show was going to be just as big. First let’s do a little event coverage:

Pier 36 is a huge pier, the size of an airplane hanger or so, so you can fit all kinds of stuff on the space. There were tons of sponsors with all their stuff set up, like 7-11 (giving away slurpees!) and Pop Chips (of course), even HP was there, raffling off their overpriced Beats by Dr Dre headphones and even laptops. It was a nice little set up. The only problem I had with the set up was the bar situation. There were clearly a LOT of people at this show, but they only had two bars, with what seemed like 2 bartenders each, who weren’t the most competent bartenders. On top of that, they only gave people one drink ticket, unless they were VIPs or press with wristbands. Let’s just say it was kind of difficult to get a drink from the bar, which was fully stocked for what it’s worth.

I went to the bar to try and get my first drink, and almost missed the entire opening act, who happen to be Gentlemen Hall.  They are the Billboard Music Awards Battle of the Bands winners, and they won a chance to perform at the award show. Pretty cool huh? They clearly are loving it because they also were granted a chance to open last night’s show. So while I stood behind a mob of people trying to squirm up to the bar to get something to drink, the Boston based band took the stage and went through their set. Their sound is great, they have a sort of new age 80s rock feel to them, but don’t think 80s ballad, far more electronic than that, even complete with an autotune microphone, awarded to their lead singer. Luckily I got a drink in time to hear them do a few songs up close, and they’re excellent performers, with tons of stage presence and energy. They even have a flute player in the band, Seth, who I had the pleasure of having a quick chat with when the event was over. He was very nice and absolutely gracious of everyone showing up to the show; I felt like his vibe was kind of what the entire bands’ would be, really happy about their current situation! They’re in a good position and you can tell that these guys are about on the brink of stardom for sure, especially judging from their performance prowess.  Take a listen to their stuff at

Next on the list was Swizz Beatz, who I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing before, and not more than a month ago as well. His set yesterday was just as energy filled, as he went through his usual fare of awesome beats that he’s produced. This time was a bit different though, calling out England’s own Estelle to come out and bless the stage with a couple of her tracks, including “DJ Play The Beat.” It was her trying to bring some positive vibes (as she said) to old London town, which as you probably know could use some positive vibes right about now.  After she exited the stage he went back into his catalog of hits, leading up to his now big finish, his new dance track called “Dance Like a White Girl.” It’s a pretty hype song (kind of like LMFAO style stuff) with a fun breakdown, causing the crowd to go into a frenzy and causing Swizzy to jump off the stage! Twice! It was awesome! The first stage dive led him to tell his DJ to start the song over, while he just went crazy in the crowd with everyone! Swizz Beatz is an awesome performer, who I’ve been blessed to see twice in a month for free, but if you hear he’s performing somewhere, it would probably be in your best interest to check it out.

Having said that though, we move onto the closers of the show, the headliners, LMFAO. Now I knew that I was on for a very insane performance, and very energy filled, and most likely fun. I knew this, despite the fact that I’ve never seen LMFAO perform before.  My guess was wrong…their performance is WAY MORE CRAZY that anything I could have imagined! They opened the show with their new single “Sorry for Party Rockin,” apologizing for everything that happens during or after their exploits at a party. From there they (and the crowd) were off to the races. Before they even came on stage their Party Rock Crew of dancers came out and started throwing glow necklaces out in the crowd. That would not be the last thing that the crowd would get from the guys on stage.

The energy level of Pier 36 was off the charts from the beginning of their performance, which comes complete with Quest Crew (now famous from their stint on America’s Best Dance Crew) breaking and drinking alcohol out of a beer bong, which is then thrown into the crowd! They threw beach balls, and even a GIANT inflated zebra, that people just bumped around during the show.  All of the hits were on display last night, with a whole bunch of stuff off their new album, “Sorry for Party Rocking.” “Rock the Beat II” got some play, as well as “Sexy and I Know it,” and “Put That Ass To Work.” All the while the guys found time to spray the crowd with Coronas, which was a bit different from the water Swizz Beatz through on the crowd earlier.

Their hit song (and the #1 song on the Billboard charts for 5 weeks in a row) “Party Rock Anthem,” was surprisingly not their last song, but it was quite possibly their best performed song (if I had to choose one). It started with a break circle from the Quest Crew boys, then they came out and rocked the house. They even made a dance circle and had people ‘shufflin’ in the middle, including the ShuffleBot from the music video (if you’ve never seen this music video, please Youtube it, it is the best music video that has been made in years).  They did another song of their new album called “Champagne Showers,” which of course all culminated in the entire stage of people (which was about 13 or so) grabbing a bottle of champagne and spraying the crowd with it! This is the first time I’ve had champagne sprayed on me by an artist (or at least during a performance) and you know what, pretty cool! At this point you’re thinking, how could this show get anymore ridiculous? Well they hadn’t performed “Shots” yet, which of course was the song they finished with. Everyone on the stage was drinking at this point, mixing vodka and beer in a beer bong and just pounding it. Utter pandemonium really, and everyone was loving it, me included. My friend that I went with said it was probably the best performance he’s ever seen; honestly, it was pretty damn good really!

LMFAO are not for the boring; they probably wouldn’t do well in a place with seats, but I don’t like concerts with seats anyway, so I guess we’re alike in that regard. They are amazing performers, just bring your drinking pants, and possibly a shirt you don’t mind getting covered in alcohol. Everyone was so wired by the end of it that DJ Homicide (the DJ for the night) came on after the show and played some tracks and everyone was just dancing like crazy. It was the most fun everyone was having during his DJ set all night. To the point that security was having a hard time throwing people out at the end, everyone wanted to party more, and I can't blame them really. This was a great free show from the guys at Billboard, and I think other companies should learn that sometimes, it is all about the fans. #SorryForPartyRocking.

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