T.I. with Franz Ferdinand? Chaka Khan with Hot Chip? These unlikely combinations were on display as part of Diesel’s “rock’n’roll circus” Saturday (Oct. 11) in Brooklyn, N.Y., as part of its 30th anniversary bash.
N.E.R.D. and a visibly pregnant M.I.A. were also on hand, alongside acrobats, a marching band and fire breathers in a makeshift venue resembling a big top circus on a pier in the DUMBO neighborhood.
T.I. delivered one of the most explosive sets of the evening, whipping the crowd into a hand-waving frenzy throughout his five songs. Dipping into his back catalog, T.I. opened with a pounding “Bring Em Out,” which eventually yielded to “Swing Ya Rag” and a dark, angry version of “What You Know.” His mood shifted to more playful for the recent Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Whatever You Like,” and M.I.A. jumped onstage for backing vocals on “Swagga Like Us.”
While T.I. was finishing, Franz Ferdinand plugged in to provide the live accompaniment for the rapper’s current chart-topper, “Live Your Life,” with Franz guitarist Nick McCarthy adding solos for good measure. The band continued on with its own set, featuring a handful of new songs pegged for its next album, as well as old favorites such as “Michael,” “Matinee” and “Take Me Out.”
M.I.A.’s short set highlighted material from the “Kala” album,” opening with “Bamboo Banger” and segueing seamlessly into “XR2.” She was then joined by N.E.R.D. (mostly for moral support) for an extended rendition of “Paper Planes.” N.E.R.D. then closed the night with a quick, three-song set featuring “Lapdance,” “Spaz,” and “Everyone Nose.”
Earlier in the evening, Hot Chip served as the backing band for Chaka Khan on hits like “I Feel For You” and “Ain’t Nobody,” with Hot Chip putting a more modern, electronic spin on the ’80s staples. Hot Chip’s own set consisted of “Shake a Fist,” “One Pure Thought” and “Ready for the Floor.”