Schoolboy Q, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul, and Danny Brown - Best Buy Theater - 7/23/14
PeterPalooza 3 - Schoolboy Q, Action Bronson, Ab-Soul and Danny Brown - Best Buy Theater 7/23/14
Peter Rosenberg Birthday boy Peter Rosenberg
Better Than: Elmopalooza. Yeah, I said it!
After a certain age, people seem to begin to bemoan their birthday. The idea of growing another year older doesn't seem quite glamorous. Fortunately for us, Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg uses each completed lap around the sun as an excuse to celebrate. Since 2012, his PeterPalooza (a name he told us was inspired by Waynestock in Wayne's World 2) has seen him gather his favorite new hip-hop acts under one bill for an incredible party. Rosenberg himself called last night the best PeterPalooza to date, so if you placed a bet on the DJ having a happy birthday, please proceed to collect your winnings that you've acquired in a very bizarre means of gambling.
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Before the show we spoke to Rosenberg about how PeterPalooza compares to his other favorite birthdays, including Chuck-E-Cheese Birthdays which got "serious" and going to Oriels games in the Baltimore team's pre-Nationals days. He told he enjoys pretty much everything about his birthday, with the sole cringe-inducing moment coming from hearing people sing "Happy Birthday," becasue "it sounds like a funeral procession. The tone and tune of 'Happy Birthday' sounds like a farewell." We asked him what song he feels should replace "Happy Birthday" and he instantly told us Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones (Part II)." "It's a different feeling than happy birthday, but everybody knows all the words."
The sold out crowd ready to celebrate the day of Rosen-birth was among the livest I've ever witnessed. While there were more than a fair share of brolic jacked white dudes whose blood type appears to be Monster Energy Drink permeating the air with testosterone, the excitable crowd seemed more interested in turning up than beating up. Host Larry Legend, ring announcer for numerous east coast wrestling and boxing events, mastered the ceremonies like a true showman. Legend actually excitedly told the crowd why they should get hype for the relative unknowns who opened the show, giving enough backstory that made everyone taking the stage seem special.
Daniel Vasquez Danny Brown, Ab-Soul and Peter Rosenberg
Chris Rivers was the first to touch the mic, a natural showman who kept the crowd engaged and impressively continued through his set unfazed even after being hit in the head with something pelted from the audience. Rivers is also the son of legendary rapper Big Pun, but more than stands on his own two feet as a hot talent. Retch followed and despite some technical issues with a distortion in his beats and a muffled flow from cupping the mic, his sheer visceral energy was enough to win over the Best Buy Theater audience, especially as his set slowly dissolved into the chaos of stage diving and jumping on stage.
Chaz Kangas Ab-Soul Lights Up the Crowd
Rosenberg came out next to the WWE's Degeneration-X theme, thanking the crowd for supporting "Real hip-hop music." Rosenberg then brought out Ab-Soul for what wound up being the night's longest set. Right off the bat you could tell the audience's passionate obsession with Ab-Soul and the rest of his TDE compatriots by their instant unprompted shouting along with every time the music dropped out. Notable about Ab-Soul's set was how different the songs from his new album These Days sound live. While the album versions all feature a detached vocal delivery with an airy mixing and layers of production effects, hearing Ab-Soul do these same songs live in a stripped down MC-over-a-beat format really fired the tracks up and highlighted quite a few more elements. His set ended with the outrageously cool closing visual of the lights being turned out as the audience raised their lighters and cell phones.
After Atlantic Records recording artist Lorianna sang "Happy Birthday," Rosenberg's wife brought out an elaborately decorated WWE-themed birthday cake which the DJ had the audience help blow-out alongside him. What better way to follow cake than Danny Brown? While we did get a glimpse of Brown in Ab-Soul's set, dropping by for a guest verse with new green highlighted hair and glasses, Brown's masterful controlling of the crowd bordered on puppeteering for how he could get the Best Buy Theater audience to instantly bend to his whims. We've seen rappers get a crowd to chant a hook along with them or finish a line when the beat cuts out, but Brown getting the thousands in attendance to handle the entire seven-second "Blunt After Blunt" chorus without a beat each and every time it rolled around is one of the most impressive performance feats I've ever seen. Brown's DJ also abandoned standard DJ sound effects during his set in favor of the AIM message chirps and a dolphin noise.