Just two months ago, Chief Keef’s plans to beam his hologram image to concerts across the country seemed promising. Earlier this year, the Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based rapper signed to FilmOn, a company owned by Alki David, the Greek billionaire who also owns Hologram USA.
Keef was set to perform in hologram form in New York, Chicago and L.A. Yet as of Friday night (Sept. 18), shows in all three cities have either been circumvented or shut down outright.
The first sign of trouble with the Bang 3 Hologram Fest in L.A. arose earlier this week. Billed as a release party for Bang 3 Part 2, the fest was scheduled to take place Sept. 18 in the Henry Fonda Theater. Yet according to a statement from Keef’s reps, venue owner AEG canceled the concert after one of the rapper’s team members was hurt during a Sept. 16 prep meeting. AEG refuted the statement, and David moved the fest to a parking lot adjacent to the Fonda.
Confusion surrounding the change of location apparently hurt the turnout. A line of fans did snake down the block, but at 9 p.m., two hours after the event started, the crowd inside was sparse. Artisan ice cream and fried chicken food trucks, as well as a bank of old-school arcade games were parked in the lot -- and along with a Glo Gang-graffiti’ed van, clothing vendors were set up underneath a tent. Kids demoed UWheels, a brand of the “ghost” scooters Keef loves, and a Marilyn Monroe impersonator probably straight from her Grauman’s Chinese Theatre shift roamed the grounds in a gleaming halter dress and platinum wig.
But as a mortifying rap battle mercifully ended and Slim Jesus was announced as the next surprise performer, the host suddenly switched gears. “I need Alki David,” he said from the stage. “I’m being told to cut this off.”
People kept drinking in the VIP area, but the only music playing was the background noise of Tupac’s hologram rapping “Gangsta Party” on the hologram stage. In fact, the setup was so pedestrian, it took a few moments before anyone realized Chief Keef’s hologram was performing, and not a DJ spinning, “I Don’t Like.”
Just as quickly as an audience formed, however, the song shut off and Keef’s hologram disappeared, the act replaced by the tone-deaf Marilyn impersonator singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Keef was sitting on a couch in the VIP area, David beside him.
From the stage, an organizer directed the crowd to a nearby club and security began to shoo people out. I found a cop and asked him what happened. “The show was shut down on a technicality,” he said, nodding at me to keep moving toward the exit gate.
Another officer seemed to be in charge, and I asked him what that technicality was.
“They didn’t have the proper permit,” he said. “They had some, but not the one-day event permit. They didn’t give enough notice to our captain. Our captain will never approve a one-day event with one-day notice. He needs time to review what it is, what kind of people will be coming.”
Though David threatened -- and, according to the Washington Post, has basis for -- legal action against the shutting down of the show outside Chicago, this time, it appears the police have the law on their side.
David responded to the L.A. shutdown with the following statement.
"Just pathetic,” he said. “The city of Los Angeles was clearly doing the dirty work of corporate giant AEG by shutting down Chief Keef's festival. It was shaping up to be a great night at the lot and we had 80,000 fans watching on FilmOn.com. We are so pissed off we are planning to build a permanent venue for hologram concerts next to AEG's Fonda Theater.”