LIVE: Red Bull Soundclash, DC

by Winston "Stone" Ford

Photos by Marcus Flores with help from SynKami

Is there any brand that is better at marketing than Red Bull?

The energy drink brand supplements its traditional ad model with beat battles, Recording Academies, Air Races, Flutags, and New Year’s Jumps. It’s innovation in marketing has definitely made the brand a darling in media circles, and one of their unique concepts was lucky enough to make it down to DC this past weekend.

The Red Bull Soundclash is unique indeed. It pits two acts of different genres against each other in a battle of the bands format on two opposing stages with the audience deciding the winner, all of this taking place in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, on one of the busiest weekends I’ve seen in DC in a long time.

The challenger’s for this event? DC’s native son and still great rap hope Wale against Canadian emo rockers Tokyo Police Club. The challenge? To win the crowd over through several challenges, including covers, to determine who is the the king of the Red Bull sponsored throne.

As Wale and UCB dominated, Tokyo Police Club completely unimpressed me, and let’s say damn near put me to sleep. So we left the event early, confident that our hometown hero and quite possibly, the best band on the East Coast, would pull out the W for the Capital City, right?


I was startled to realize that somehow the Canadians (who’s stage faced their own embassy) beat out the hometown dude 4-3. It’s like turning off a Redskins game in the 3rd Quarter, while they have two touchdown lead, only to find out that they squabbled the lead.

Even though Wale beat Tokyo Police Club in Boston, somehow the Canadians beat him and UCB on his home turf. With Tabi on support? I don’t get it. Was the fix in? Were there too many teenyboppers. Who knows?

Can DC win at something this year? Geez.