Bacardi “Like It Live” With Kid Cudi
Monday, June 13
Better than: Sleeping. Just kidding!
The thought behind Bacardi’s “Like It Live” marketing campaign is simple: if people “like” something on Facebook, they must love it in real life. So as soon as you put a bunch of “like”-able things in one big room—say, one the size of Terminal 5 —that event automatically becomes one to remember, a night that will never be topped.
But that’s not true at all. You throw a bunch of shit together and you get a Turducken.
You “like” Playboy bunnies? They’re having a pillow fight (sort of) in the middle of the crowd. You “like” video games? Here’s an arcade in the entryway. You “like” basketball? The very-retired Allan Houston and Ron Harper are going to go on the roof and teach you how to hoop (assuming they remember)!
DJ Irie, on hosting duties, kept yelling “It’s crazy! It’s crazy,” even though it wasn’t. The hits just kept coming: Judson Laipply performed a never-ending eight-minute version of “The Evolution of Dance,” a YouTube video that was already past its expiration date in 2006, now updated with moves from Beyoncé and Soulja Boy. A French beatboxing team stayed onstage for an hour; Aloe Blacc—who has one song to perform—did a three-song set. BMX bikers and boarders went back-and-forth on a halfpipe that sat too close to the ceiling lights, so their X Games-worthy stunts resembled a game of Pong. Childish Gambino, the Drake-ish alter ego of comedian Donald Glover, did a set that stretched for 45 minutes; kids chanted “Cudi! Cudi! Cudi!” before, during and after each of his songs.
At some point after 1:30 a.m., Kid Cudi touched the same stage that so many had before him. His moves were lazy, slow; he marched in place as if plodding on a Stairmaster. In an unzipped hoodie and vintage Guns N Roses tee, he looked like he had just rolled out of bed. Looking at the time, maybe that’s exactly what happened.
Just a few days ago, he had been part of the Kanye West’s triumphant show in Brooklyn, where he zoomed around as if hopped up on Five-Hour, bouncing and animated. That night, he was Herbie Reloaded.
If Kanye’s show was the party, last night was the hangover. A full Kid Cudi set is sleepy, downbeat, and boring. While his albums are intimate pockets of paranoia and loneliness, those feelings got lost in Terminal 5’s echo chamber. Super-introverted throughout, he gazed at his shoes, which were almost always held fast to the floor. As song after song blared, he either planted himself by the microphone stand like a dog tethered to a tree or paced from one side of the stage to the other, a roam without a cause. As his set was winding down, Cudi said, “Do you mind if I slow it down?” which would be appropriate if his entire set wasn’t made of cement. Sure, he has a few bangers—”Cudi Zone,” “Memories,” and “Day N Nite”—but they were all lumped together as a medley near the very end, when much of the crowd had already gone home.
But like Kanye, he had guests, sort of: Weirdo rapper Cage, shielded by his bangs, recalled Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club as he clung to the outreaches of the stage; Chip Tha Ripper moved like a boulder going up a hill.
But like Kanye, he had visuals, sort of: Cudi-themed desktop backgrounds would flash on the screen, a slideshow of poor graphic design. Then, there were the hallucinogenic screensavers that seemed like they came from late-20th-century Windows settings menus.
In a night where bigger was supposed to be better, Cudi felt like a smaller and largely unfocused version of Kanye. This felt like money being thrown at a wall to see what would stick, and what resulted was an event that, to put it in terms the organizers could understand, was un-“like”able.
Critical bias: I “like” on Facebook, but there’s something deeply wrong with interchanging “likes” and loves so easily.
Overheard: “It was a good event! Bacardi seemed like they spent a lot of money!” (This is while I ate free Bacardi-labeled pizza and drank a free bottle of Bacardi-labeled water while standing next to a flat-bed truck full of the products, after the Bacardi-labeled show at 3 a.m.)
Random notebook dump: This was the first show I’ve been to where people seemed more content to take pictures of one another than the actual stage during a performance. There were entire photo albums taken of people just standing by a wall and holding their middle fingers up while Kid Cudi performed.
REVOFEV (Revolution of Evolution)
Scott Mescudi vs. the World
Soundtrack of My Life
Mojo So Dope
Mr. Solo Dolo
Up Up and Away
Man on the Moon
All Talk (with Chip Tha Ripper)
Hyyerr (with Chip Tha Ripper)
Maniac (with Cage)
Memories/Memories (Dubstep RMX)
Day N Nite
Pursuit of Happiness