RJD2 is decidedly not a robot character from Star Wars, though he did make his entrance – and exit – wearing a Daft Punk-esque robot suit at Brooklyn Bowl.
If you think you don’t know who RJD2 is, as I didn’t before I heard him on my Big Gigantic Pandora station 6 months ago, think about whether you’ve ever heard the Mad Men theme song. You have? Then you know him, and let me assure you that it gets so much better than that. RJ (his first 2 initials are, in fact, RJ) creates smooth, diverse hip hop, and seeing him live was, well, an experience.
The evening began with D.V.S., an electronic music producer who reminded me a lot of Big Gigantic because of his use of live instruments (he plays guitar, and at times brought out a drummer, a violinist, and, like Big G, a saxophonist). I hadn’t heard of him but I will definitely be seeking out more of his stuff in the future.
During the break between sets, I made some new friends when I backed up into a group of girls in an attempt to escape from a vomit situation that was happening directly in front of me. I apologized and explained why I crashed into them, and we bonded over the fact that we were happy to not be the person who got so drunk that they puked in a bowling alley on a Tuesday evening. We then spent the next hour or so explaining to anyone who tried to push forward as to why they didn’t want to stand in that particular spot and laughing over their horrified faces. Until a group of people zoomed in front of us before we could stop them and spent the remainder of the evening dancing in someone’s vomit. None of us had the heart to tell them; it was too late.
When RJD2 came on, I had the pleasure of standing next to a couple that I had a hard time telling if they were hilariously stoned or just plain hilarious. They narrated to each other (and, unknowingly, to me) what RJ’s songs sounded like to them.
“Oh my god it’s like I’m melting!”
“It’s raining! It’s raining! It’s raining!”
“This is a 70s game show!”
The thing is, they were right. It did sort of sound like melting, it did sort of sound like the plip plop of rain drops, and it did sound like a soundtrack straight from the $100,000 Pyramid. These were all good things, because when mixed with RJ’s beats it just created fun and totally unique hip hop tracks.
Shortly after this, the couple lit up a joint, and then got thrown out about 5 minutes later. It was a sad time for all of us.
Despite standing closer to a pool of puke that I would ordinarily like, I was happy to be pretty close to the stage because watching RJ work is incredible. He uses 4 turntables simultaneously, going back and forth playing and scratching on each of them, then hops over to keys, and then uses whatever electronic equipment he has (I should learn the names of this stuff one day, maybe). He never stops moving.
For the last few songs of his set, RJ brought out a few friends. The first was a rapper who looked – and sounded – like a hip version of Steve Urkel.
The second was a soulful singer who was dressed like a college professor and could have been the love child of Dave 1 from Chromeo and John Legend.
Everyone was ridiculously talented, but the group up there just seemed like a posse from the Island of Misfit Toys. Which I guess wasn’t a bad thing.
Overall, it was amazing show full of highlights and lowlights and weirdlights. Definitely worth trekking in 19 degree weather for, and while I went alone, RJD2 definitely has more mass appeal than a lot of the electronic shows I typically go to (hint hint, non-EDM friends, for the next time he comes around). A+.