Earl Sweatshirt's "secret" show yesterday (July 15) was at Ludlow Garage -- an auto repair shop. Cameras on tripods, microphones and DJ equipment replaced automobile tools; FADER affiliates replaced oil-covered mechanics; and Odd Future fans and media-related persons replaced concerned car owners. In other words, "Fast and Furious: The FADER Edition."
In partnership with vitaminwater, The FADER has become known for its #uncapped music series, where artists perform in rather unusual settings like a laundromat, office space or, in the case of last night, an auto repair shop.
At 8 pm EST attendees were allowed entrance into the garage. In one corner was a large container filled with different types of vitaminwater. Underneath a car adorned with the vitaminwater brand were issues of The FADER's latest magazines: one with Juicy J and Earl Sweatshirt; the other with Haim and Ciara. At the front of the garage was the stage, a mid-sized square with Fluorescent-lighted cars on both its left and right sides. A DJ played Katie Got Bandz, Future, Migos and other rap artists, while people conversed and took photos.
Around 8:40 Sweatshirt made his way to the stage, bumping into an car's tire hanging overhead along the way. Syd tha Kyd, Vince Staples, Matt Martians and Lucas Vercetti followed shortly after, with Syd serving as Sweatshirt's DJ and Staples, his "hype man."
Sweatshirt looked out into the crowd, all "fucking 30 of y'all," as he put it, and began his set with "Burgundy." The Pharrell Williams-produced song off of his upcoming debut album, "Doris," is a reminder as to what makes Sweatshirt so great: He's not only a lyrical wordsmith but he seems to only get better with age.
Sweatshirt then went through a combination of old and new songs: "Drop" (from the "Radical" mixtape), "Chum," "Hive," the Mac Miller-featuring "Guild" (from "Doris"), and set-ender "Earl" from his self-titled mixtape. Miller came through for his verse on "Guild" (although we weren't able to hear the first seconds of it because his mic wasn't turned on) and Travis "Taco" Bennett came shortly before Sweatshirt finished his set, requesting that the audience participate in rap karaoke to Drake's "Started From The Bottom." Taco and Sweatshirt danced onstage and recited the lyrics, with Taco adding some really spot-on DMX ad-libs to the song.
But the real winner of last night was some random teenager that really wanted to beatbox for Sweatshirt. With the show basically over the rapper handed the guy the mic, and he immediately went into a beat that sounded like The Neptunes' "Grindin." He then began making some really impressive sounds that no human should be capable of making, leading Miller to low-five the guy several times, and leaving Sweatshirt speechless.
Sweatshirt's set was short and sweet, which was great considering the garage felt like an oven. (Kudos to you mechanics that have to endure that heat for several hours every day.) The FADER's motto for these unorthodox shows is, "turning boring into brilliant." Although last night's show was more awkward than brilliant, Earl's performance was a great way to start off the week.
Other observations worth noting: A guy wearing a Napalm Death t-shirt while singing the lyrics to Future's "Turn On The Lights." People wearing Google Glasses. The nearly-endless supply of vitamin water that was available. And, once again, the random guy that basically stole the show with his beatboxing.