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Monday, April 2, 2012

Diplo, Chiddy Bang, and Lunice at the Firebird, 3/30/12: Review and Photos

Posted By on Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 8:56 AM

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Filling up by the minute, the Firebird's diverse crowd mirrored each other with matching facial expressions: "Who are these young ass kids?" vs. "Who are these old people?" Managing the crowd to the best of their ability, the staff at the Firebird continued to do an exceptional job as they escorted out a small group of underage trouble makers as a result of their canteen full of booze.

CHIDDY BANG. PHOTO BY KHOLOOD EID
  • Chiddy Bang. Photo by Kholood Eid

Chiddy Bang mounted the stage for its sound check at 10:20 p.m. as one of the AXE touring managers pumped up the crowd while simultaneously touting AXE's products. Shortly thereafter, the duo of Chidera "Chiddy" Anamege and Noah "Xaphoon Jones" Beresin launched into "Breakfast," the title track from their 2012 album. Chiddy Bang's brand of light-hearted hip-hop comes with a certain degree of cheesiness and college/indie appeal, emanating in a perfect mix of shiny pop and self-reflective lyricism. Throngs of arms waved wildly in the air as the group ran through its catalog of party anthems. "St. Louis - What's poppin'?!" shouted Anamege as he amped the crowd. As expected, the "college" crowd danced to favorites "Truth" (which samples Passion Pit's "Better Things") and "Opposite of Adults" (borrowing the saturated pop melody of MGMT's "Kids"). "Tonight's been the most intimate show of the tour - It's a beautiful thing." said Anamege with an earnest smile.

Tangible excitement mounted in the growing crowd as the concert instantaneously transitioned from hip-hop pop show to brainless rager. After casually walking onto the stage, the man of the hour addressed the crowd - "St. Louis, I don't know what I'm gonna play - I'm gonna play some dumb retarded shit right now." The crowd erupted with a resounding scream, communing in sweat and vibrant energy. Rallying the audience with another bout of corporate swag, AXE reps assaulted the crowd with magnum-sized foam glowsticks, resulting in a sea of mesmerizing streaks of technicolor vision. He performs over 300 nights a year, so it's hard to imagine Diplo in anything but top form. By nature, he was immediately locked in, allowing the crowd to experience a true master at work.

While the current state of EDM DJs warps toward a hard-hitting, seismic drop, Diplo's penchant for propulsive house shines through as he brings his mixes to a mounting climax only to be followed by the classic 808 of deep house. His seamless mixes weave in and out of the soul, bringing split-second samples and one-line verses into his trademark stream-of-consciousness remixes. Diplo's set at the Firebird was as diverse as the crowd before him as he dropped pounds of dubstep interspersed between Tyler The Creator's "Yonkers" and Jay-Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder."

The evening continued with Diplo paying homage to former homegirl, M.I.A. with a quick injection of "Paper Planes" before moving into Yung Joc's "Goin Down" - complete with a dubstep treatment on the tail end. Up and down and down and out, Diplo furiously careened the crowd from side to side with effortless mixes of Major Lazer and into the universally-infectious "Sandstorm" by Darude. Fist pumps and human waves filled the air as Diplo continuously asked "St. Louis, Y'all doin' alright?"

Shortly after midnight, Diplo geared up for his new song "Express Yourself" by inviting a few girls up on stage. "St. Louis let me see your hands in the air!" shouted Diplo, as the girls gave it their booty-poppin' best. Judging the contest, Diplo handed out a t-shirt to a crowd favorite before saying "Now you gotta really dance though." Escalating synth arppegiation riled up the audience as Diplo invited Chiddy Bang back on stage for the new bump anthem.

The night zoomed on through a barrage of hyper crunk hits all remixed with the signature Diplo treatment: Lil Jon's "Get Low," YC's "Racks," and Drake's "The Motto." Appeasing the thug in us all, Diplo shouted "I can't stop! St. Louis, How the fuck are you doing?" before dropping Waka Flacka's "Hard In Da Paint" and the chart-topping "Look At Me Now" (produced by Diplo & Afrojack). It's no secret that Diplo's constant consumption of club bangers would make for some unexpected surprises. Mixing in Blur's "Song 2," Diplo had the audience right where he wanted them. At roughly 12:40 p.m., he let the crowd know that he was "just getting warmed up."

As the night trudged on, the once colossal crowd had diminished into a dwindling cluster of those in it for the long haul. Reaching the 2-hour mark, the show neared the end with Juicy J's "Who Da Neighbors," a recent staple in Diplo's sets. Although the crowd may have endured more than they had bargained for, it was apparent that Diplo had done them in, the right way: Ringing ears, a smile on the face, and a bag full of AXE swag. What just happened?

KHOLOOD EID
  • Kholood Eid

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