Normally I’m not the one writing the recaps for shows. In fact, I’m normally the one documenting the goings on visually rather than thinking about them verbally. However, since Stone was out of town and I already had a ticket, I got the honor of recapping the Major Lazer show at Rock & Roll Hotel. So if you’ve already read some other recaps…I’m sorry this took so long. I did have over 200 photos to go through, so cut me some slack.
I’m not a huge fan of shows that are put together as a thinly veiled marketing ploy. However, I tend to go to a number of them because they are more often than not free. Such was the case with this show, where by simply filling out a Bacardi survey online, you received a ticket to one of the super exclusive BLive Concert events. In case you haven’t been following the concert series through The Fader’s video coverage, Bacardi has been putting together shows in all different cities across the country. These shows have brought together all kinds of talents including A-Trak, Santigold, Q-Tip, MSTRKRFT and DJ Jazzy Jeff (who was actually the center of scandal as he was kicked off stage in Kansas for playing Hip Hop…I know, right?). DC was lucky enough to get a great concert line up: DJ Stereofaith and Brooklyn based band Matt & Kim opened for Major Lazer, the new project from America’s Diplo and the UK’s Switch.
Major Lazer, for those of you who don’t know, is a Jamaican commando who fights zombies and vampires on his jet powered flying skateboard. He’s also a cartoon whose adventures are backed by amazing beats and riddims all of which are provided by Diplo and Switch.
But before I get too ahead of myself, let me get back to the actual concert.
Disclaimer: The photos you are seeing in this post were in fact taken pseudo illegally. I had to finagle a press pass from someone (that in itself is another story that I’m not gonna get into because I might come off sounding mean).
The show started out with DJ Stereofaith playing a wild set. Though it took a while before the room became crowded because so many people were upstairs waiting to get the free t-shirts that Bacardi was screenprinting and giving away. Yes, free swag will always outweigh good music. But eventually everyone came downstairs and got down with Stereofaith. He really is one of the best DJs in DC, because that room was going nuts.
After his set, Matt & Kim came on to the already psyched crowd. The place was packed with M&K fans and the duo did not disappoint. Kim, especially. That girl can really beat some drums. Personally, I didn’t know too much of their music, but their show was definitely a bonus to the evening. At one point, Matt even said that it was quite possibly the best show they’d done in DC. One of my favorite points during their set was when they played the intro to Dead Prez’s “Hip Hop” and had the entire room singing the lyrics.
Between that, Kim’s dance break and her crowd surfing from the stage to the bar and back with their manager, it was all not what I had expected to see that evening.I They closed with their single “Daylight” and the crowd lost it.
MAJOR LAZER REVIEW AFTER THE JUMP
After they left the stage, the crowd started filtering out. I assumed they were just going out to smoke cigs or get drinks, but I found out later that a number of people left after Matt & Kim. It was hard to see that from right up against the stage though, because I was getting bumped around the entire night.
Diplo and Switch came on stage wearing black suits with white shirts and looking dapper as hell (dapper looking DJs are always sexy, by the way). They started playing and it seemed like it was just going to be a dance party from there on in…until the dancers in gold booty shorts came out. Then from backstage, 77Klash walked in. You know it’s a good show when 77Klash is your hypeman. For people who are confused, he’s not a Bob Marley wannabe. He’s one of the best things going on right now and it’s a shame that more people don’t know about him. At the show, he didn’t look like he really wanted to be there. He kept walking on stage and then would retreat to the back. Though to be honest, after interacting with some of the people there, I wouldn’t have wanted to be onstage either.
With TVs playing the cartoon videos featuring Major Lazer himself, Diplo and Switch played banger after banger, even throwing in Darude’s “Sandstorm” (flashback to my days of wearing UFO pants and always carrying an extra set of glowsticks) and a reggae remix of “Pop Champange”. And they of course played tracks from the album. “Hold The Line” and “Pon De Floor” are two tracks that stick out in my mind. Needless to say, it seemed like everyone was really enjoying themselves. 77Klash even brought some ladies up from the audience so that they could “dance” to the music, though it seemed like most of them were just trying to shake the little amount of gluteus maximus that they had. Off beat.
Overall the show was great. Anytime I feel sore and sweaty from a show, I know it had to be a good one. And this certainly was one of the better shows I’d been to this year. It’s a shame all the people who left, left when they did, because they missed out. Diplo has an understanding for reggae that a lot of electro DJs who mix it don’t and Major Lazer reflects that. If you still haven’t bought the album yet, go out and do so now. It’s one of the best for 2009.