It’s hard to describe the day without first noting the weather: MoMA PS1’s Warm Up lived up to its name on Saturday (July 20). “I don’t know about you, but I’m hot as sh*t,” rising dancehall star Shenseea told the Long Island City crowd upon removing a shimmery metallic jacket that she admirably wore for the first three songs of her set, giving way to the rest of her neon green getup. The heat index, which ballooned to a sweltering 110 degrees all afternoon, was the conversation of the day, with artists and attendees alike trying out the new Perrier® & Juice Drink and using free bottles of water for both hydration and as pseudo ice packs.
Large crowds began to roll into the Queens museum venue around 4:30 p.m., with the first signs of notable head bobbing and body swaying coinciding with the jazzy undertones of The Marías’ “Ruthless.” The Los Angeles five-piece band served as a nice, mellow vibe to greet many of the partygoers for the day, though a few of the evening acts more aptly played with the day’s tropical heat. Everyday People, accompanied by the group’s co-founder DJ Moma, came after The Marías with a 90-minute dance set that quickly elevated the environment’s energy levels. Shenseea later followed suit by covering two classics from her native Jamaica, putting her personal spin on Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” and Sean Paul’s “Temperature.”
The event’s highpoint came with its penultimate act, Smino. He took the stage during the golden hour of the evening, as the setting sun glinted off his transparent, rainbow-tinted glasses frames and billowing smoke from the crowd built on an already hazy aura. Onstage workstation fans brought the rapper’s Miami Vice meets futuristic rockstar chic to life, adding a steady breeze on his braids, Michael Jordan Space Jam t-shirt and ‘314’ area code chain that tributed his St. Louis roots. The 27-year-old kicked off the set with blkswn’s namesake, with fans eagerly belting out “Smino, more like Smi-yeah” alongside the budding talent. From there, he ran through an abbreviated catalogue of crowd pleasers, including “Anita,” “Z4L,” and his recent Dreamville collaboration “1993” before concluding with an encore performance of “KLINK.”
Crowd interaction played as a constant throughout the whole day. Compton-born rapper Boogie brought several people onstage, handing fans the microphone to fill in lyrics on cuts like “Soho” and “Oh My” and ending his by giving two younger attendees a chance to briefly rap battle. Shortly thereafter, Shenseea handpicked three people from the crowd to participate in a twerking contest. Smino audibly approved of a mosh pit that broke out in the middle of his set. Though MoMA PS1 made relaxation a priority with hammocks and cool-down stations readily available, the vast majority of guests were more interested in battling through the heat with song, dance and the occasional bottle of water on the neck.
July 20 marked the third of nine installments in the 2019 weekly summer series, now in its 22nd season. Warm Up will take place at MoMA PS1 in Queens every Saturday from now until the end of August.