Live: Mike Posner Serenades A Roomful Of Screaming, Brawling Ladies At Irving Plaza
Better than: Going to Duke
Within five minutes of Mike Posner taking the stage, a full-scale omnidirectional brawl between at least eight remarkably pissed-off young ladies erupts immediately behind me, fists and swaths of hair and foul oaths flying, a fearsome donnybrook that lasts for several minutes, until a few dudes get involved, which cranks up the ugliness factor sufficiently to convince security to intervene. It's easily the most visceral and unnerving display of crowd violence I have personally ever witnessed at a concert, and I just went to see Swans.
Mr. Posner very slyly encourages such uncouth behavior. A collegiate reggae-pop jiver with a pronounced nasty streak, his big hit, "Cooler Than Me," is one of those Vengeance Against the Girl That Rejected Me numbers; "I should've cheated on you," he is crooning as the crowd beat-'em-up is raging. He's got this unnerving open-mouth smile that, if you saw him in a guest spot on like Law and Order, would immediately ID him as the killer. His full backing band plays rubbery pop-funk and frequently sounds unnervingly like the Fray; Mike mostly preens, points, smiles, panders. His big thing is just standing there, completely still, for up to three full minutes, the ladies who aren't beating the crap out of each other screaming lustily. "Well, his name is Posner," someone notes.
Not the sort of dude I'd expect to pull out an ELO cover, but nope, there's "Evil Woman," nicely encapsulating young Mike's worldview. We're gonna want to work on this. He slams his mic stand around during the semi-cathartic "Save Your Goodbye," briefly does the pull-a-girl-onstage-and-paw-at-her routine during "Bow Chicka Wow Wow" (she got a teddy bear out of it, but she was also abruptly and somewhat forcibly pulled offstage by a roadie -- seriously, a trap door would've been more dignified), crowd surfs very briefly, and smiles, smiles, smiles, always with the smiling. Nearly every song is a sing-a-long, including "Drug Dealer Girl," which I don't feel like unpacking right now. "I'm not the sort of douchebag artist who stands up here and says 'I love you' and doesn't mean it," he announces, telling us he loves us, later adding that as far as his ongoing tour is concerned, "New York City has taken a shit on every other spot we've been to." Sorry, Fort Wayne.
Your opening act is the Far East Movement, those L.A. dudes behind burgeoning post-Ke$ha Asian-American electro-rap anthem "Like a G6," which, I mean, there are dumber things you can buy for $1.29. Their set is so brief they make Gucci Mane look like Ween. "Where all my girls reppin' at the Fillmore?" one of the dudes asks, betraying his lack of knowledge about venue-naming politics. They have a new album, Free Wired, the big ballad therein entitled "Rocketeer," which is totally an underrated movie. All their songs, in one way or another, seem to be about bottle service. I don't much feel like unpacking that, either.
Critical Bias: I am the oldest person in this building. "Do you work here?" someone asks. Bah.
Overheard: A whole lot of screaming.
Random Notebook Dump: He notes that "I have a song that went double platinum." Is this something people get to say now? Can we vote on this?
Mike Posner setlist
Please Don't Go
Do You Wanna
Drug Dealer Girl
Bow Chicka Wow Wow
Speed of Sound
Still Not Over You
Save Your Goodbye
Gone In September
You Don't Have To Leave
Evil Woman [ELO cover]
Smoke and Drive
Cooler Than Me