Red lights over saturated the stage Friday night as Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def walked out with a bouquet of roses, painting the stage with petals. It had been near forty minutes, and felt like an hour, since the stage was last occupied, and fans were more than ready. They shouted out song requests to which Mos replied, “I am not a jukebox.” He’s right. But his dj pretty much was. And if fans are paying $40 for about an hour of music which they’re showing up two hours early for, hell if I wouldn’t expect to hear the jams. The red lights never switched. He covered ODB among others but wouldn’t comply to a request or two from the crowd. An artist and their audience are dependent on one another – straight up. And a live performance is no different. When the chemistry’s right, any show can be spectacular. Friday night, however, felt dull and disconnected.
A few firsts for me last Saturday at the Aragon for The Glitch Mob.
1. The most impressive merch spread I’ve ever seen. EVER. Which at first, you may suggest lends itself towards selling out and cashing in, but I found nearly everything to be affordable – this coming from someone who compares the cost of pretty much everything to a Hot-N-Ready ($5 if you didn’t know, and if you’re thinkin’ to yourself “Little Caesars sucks” then you probably waste far too much of your life eating that imitation pizza from Papa John’s. You’d be better off cutting the box in 8 triangles and dipping it in tomato water. But I digress.) And I think it speaks volume to the relationship The Glitch Mob holds strong with its fans – the fans don’t just listen to them, The Mob listens back and responds.
2. The symmetry onstage was beautiful. All three members had similar if not the same instruments surrounding each of them, and all using them as well – always cool to see artists sharing the spotlight, or spotlights, as opposed to there being one front man. And the illumination of said instruments was beyond dope.
3. Look, if you like Papa John’s, don’t take my opinions personally, you probably just have dysfunctional taste buds or haven’t been exposed to the good shit (which entails pretty much everything from Jack’s frozen to Lou Malnatti’s).
4. Sincerity from the artist. I’m not sure how to explain it, but it’s something I felt. Something in their presence, and something in the way they handled themselves that said “we don’t want to be doing anything else in the world right now except sharing this space, this music with you.” And that felt good. It felt really good.
Shoutout React Presents for bringing us the show.