If you know me, or follow me on Twitter *points to sidebar*, you know that I am a Kelela stan on the low.
I listened to her album , CUT 4 ME on a whim sometime last year and I was SUPER impressed. For an alleged music snob who hates everything (I don’t!), this was big. I ran this album into the ground for months until I got tired, didn’t think about it, then bought it back to life.
I was lucky enough to catch her in October at the CMJ edition of Fader Fort out in Brooklyn. The Internet was also on that bill. Needless to say, crazy show. I also wanna put this out here, I was pretty drunk off of Captain Morgan Black by the end of this, so that was probably why I was in the front row, turned into pure putty while Kelela was singing. Yeah. The drinks. It’s not because I’m soft and partial to women who sing. Nope.
Fast forward to last week, and I remember that Kelela is doing 2 shows in Brooklyn. I HAD to attend at least one. I kinda had a lot going on that weekend (COOL GUY ALERT!!!!) so I saw that there were still tickets on Friday and took the plunge. I was flip flopping between this and the Natural History Museum party with Machinedrum , but an industry buddy (who I actually met at CMJ, and is a pretty nifty DJ) told me “IM GOING TO KELELA!”. I go to plenty shows alone, but if you have the chance to go with other people…you should take that. Plus she’s is also a stan, so it works out.
So that was that. I set out into a semi crappy weathered night and head to Williamsburg for the show. I step in and my first thought is “wow, there are a lot of bad, weird black girls in here, right now”. I move around a lil’ bit and hit the bar and get a rum and Coke, because I’m a cool guy who drinks boring shit. I’m drinking and watching the stage, which has a DJ duo just going to WORK. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the transitions but they seemed to get better as the night went on. It’s a guy and a girl, who I later recognized were Shayne and Venus X of GHE20G0TH1K fame (if you know, you know). They were really playing some daring stuff (BMore club) and songs that will at least make you smile if you arent a lame (Aaliyah – One In A Million). Everything was working. The people were beautiful, the energy was good, I was starting to get into it (AND INTO MY RUM!).
A little later, she texts me that she’s in Rough Trade, so I set out to find her and her friends. I start to walk over and I look up and see…Dev Hynes. Now as someone who loves Solange and pretty much followed Dev from his work on “True”, this was kind of a big deal. Dude’s a real talent and I had basically a few seconds to decide “Am I gonna walk over and say what up or am I just gonna drift over to my destination.” I opt to not be a bitch and quickly show my appreciation to Dev (very gracious and humble guy) and head over. FULL DISCLOSURE: I was guzzling Rum and Coke number 2 so I’d bet money I shook his hand too quickly and was probably talking too loud. SO WHAT. Also, someone on Twitter linked me to this. Dev is wild, son.
I get to her and her friends, introduce myself, and Kelela takes the stage immediately.
Let me be frank.
Kelela is fine.
Anyways, here’s some footage cause I’m tired of typing.
When I go to shows to see singers, I’m specifically trying to see can they recreate records live. If I found out Kelela was CB4, I might not have recovered. LUCKILY FOR US, she is not. Not at all. Her song “Send Me Out” is one of those test your vocal chops tunes, and she killed it. There were actually a group of girls next to us were just standing there dissing Kelela the whole show. While that shit is kinda weird, Send Me Out shut them the fuck up. So thanks Kelela, good lookin’. She’s powering through basically all of the songs you’d want to hear off of her album, including reworking a few with different edits (such as “Keep it Cool”).
While doing this song, the j appears. Now mind you, this is an alt r&B show, of COURSE there’s weed right? But I’m gonna tell you something about me.
I am a rookie smoker. Possibly less than rookie. I could count on my hands the amount of times I’ve burned and still have enough fingers left to shoot a jumper. Or toss a frisbee, for our shoes off in the grass buddies. I’ve never really put time into learning the intricacies of smoking, because its just too ill. It literally feels too good; I feel like if I learn to roll, smoke in any situation and light roaches etc, I’m going to become Redman. I’m just gonna keep doing it. So, I stick to rare recreational settings where I don’t have to do too much but pull.
Anyone who’s been in the presence of weed will tell you, you got about a split second to decide are you gonna hit or not. I hastily said yes.
“Yo, you gotta relight it.”
I don’t know how to relight this shit, man. I’m in the dark, cant even see my fingers, trying to open the lighter, light the j, and pull in one smooth ass motion. I failed, almost burnt my upper lip off, and inhaled wild weed flakes into my mouth. Was like chewing mesquite wood chips. I’m so fucking wack. I got away with this with only one person peeping me PLAYING myself. I’m now in the dark, watching Kelela, constantly touching my possibly singed lip. If I fuck my lip up, my sex appeal gon’ be on E, and I can’t afford that. Luckily I was ok.
A little after this, Kelela walks into the crowd.
This is how close I was.
I did not walk over there, because…well I don’t know. Seeing her up close confirmed my “Kelela is bad” thought, word to dude who was less than 5 feet away who refused to make eye contact. SHOOK!!!!! (As I notice this 10 feet away.) She thanks us, goes backstage for few, and comes back to encore a bit then close with “Do It Again” , which is a favorite of mine.
Show ends, I linger a lil bit, say my goodbyes, and skate up outta there.
It was a good night, Shayne and Venus did their thing and Kelela was very crisp and has a good feel for the stage. Most fun I’ve EVER had while trying to burn my face off with a lighter.
To summarize it all:
Drunk Levels: Low to Moderate (2 Rum and Cokes)
Bae Levels : A lot of weird brown/black baes who definitely talk about the eco system and co-washing in the same breath…..and thats my type of scene
Show quality: 8/10 -9/10
Venue : First time being at Rough Trade, and I loved it. I’ll be back.
If you guys like, I’ll keep doing Rav Report Live for events I go to. Any shows in NYC you think I’d like (even ones I wouldn’t), let me know!
This was gold! You should def keep this up… Although I’m silently dying at the DARE commercial setting of your weed encounter