Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Redbull SOUNDCLASH: Wale x Tokyo Police Club 80hat

All photos provided by Redbull.
This was an eventful weekend in DC — as typical understatements go.  It was Halloween weekend so there was the typical ghoulish buzz with no shortage of costumed parties and events around the District. On top of that, I heard rumors that some Americans had gathered on the National Mall on Saturday to mock media sensationalism, or to climb trees, or something apolitical like that.  Then people who are much better human beings than me ran the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday – presumably after partying on Saturday night.  All this intensity subsequently made the Metro freak out.  Fun times!
Perhaps lost in all the madness this weekend was Red Bull Soundclash on Saturday night.  Red Bull characterizes the event as ”a unique live musical experience that brings two bands with different sounds, styles, and influences together under one roof to compete for the devotion of a room full of fans.”  For the DC edition, local hero Wale was pitted against the indie up-and-comers Tokyo Police Club – who ironically hail from Canada.  In short, Wale was playing an outdoor show at night in front of the Capitol building.  Enough said.  I’m a homer for homegrown talent playing in my hometown.
Soundclash is billed as a competition between two divergent musical styles.  In this case, hip hop vs. rock.  Or America vs. the World.  Or awesome vs. whatever.  Penn Ave was converted into a mini-stadium with a secure perimeter, two stages on opposite ends, bleachers, bright lights, and a large pit in the middle for the crowd to witness these two national acts battle it out for fabricated supremacy.  It was an impressive production that required an impressive budget.  Cameras were swinging from cranes that were probably engineered by Jesus and operated by robots.  Michael Bay would’ve had a boner – and that’s not a meager accomplishment.
Throughout the night, the bands were ordered by some Hot 99.5 personality to perform various musical tasks like covering a song (Tom Petty’s “American Girl”) to playing versions of their own songs to the tune of different musical genres (country, punk, reggae) with the final round being a free-for-all.  Between each round the crowd was asked to cheer for their favorite and the performer who registered loudest on the Red Bull sound-o-meter won that round and the points that came with it.
Sounds like a slam dunk for the hometown MC, right?  Not so fast, Dale Earnhardt.  Despite my unabashed support and drunken roars for Wale, those scrappy kids from Ontario somehow managed to eek out a 4-3 ‘victory’ over Wale – who by my biased opinion DOMINATED every aspect of the show.  So much for home-field advantage.  After Tokyo Police Club was declared the winner, Wale took over and was joined on stage by another local MC, Tabi Bonney, to close out the show with an epic version of “No Hands”.
Despite this event being more of a showcase for musical talent and camaraderie, I was pissed Wale didn’t win and am still bitter as I am writing this.  But the adults would gladly remind me that there really are no losers – and there really weren’t any at Soundclash DC on Saturday.


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