Kanye West surprises the Brooklyn Bowl (10/24)


    So I just concluded my own version of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, only without the Kat Dennings/trying-to-win-the-girl storyline. At 10:30 pm, shortly following the premiere of Runaway, I received a tip that the film’s creator would be putting on a secret concert 15 blocks north. It was to be at the Brooklyn Bowl, where the label Fool’s Gold was celebrating its third anniversary.

    Since West’s personal DJ, A-Track, owns the label and the G.O.O.D. Music-signed Cyhi da Prince was already on the bill, I didn’t think twice about making the trek northward, even if the idea of seeing the Chicago MC at a 600-person Brooklyn Bowl still sounded too good to be true. Upon entering I was greeted by the sounds of Titus Andronicus finishing up Pitchfork’s #Offline shindig. They would have been the greatest openers ever had Fool’s Gold not chosen to then kick off their festivities with DJ Treasure Fingers and Japaneses pop punk outfit The Suzan — but that’s a story for another 4:30 am posting. By the time 2 am rolled around, I was beginning to have my doubts that this whole surprise appearance was actually real, but then Atlanta MC Donnis got the rhymes flowing and A-Track asked how we enjoyed Runaway and followed it up with a huge grin. Hesitation turned into expectation and once Cyhi took his turn, there was little doubt that West would appear from the dark for a joint performance of “So Appalled”.

    Even without the element of surprise, the packed crowd — which seemed more like 6,000 instead of 600 — still greeted Mr. West with an eardrum popping collection of screeches, which he graciously accepted with a smile. In fact, that may have been the most noticeable thing about West’s 15-minute set — the smile never left his face. He looked like a kid up there. One second he’s giving everyone in arm’s reach a high five, the next he’s handing the audience the mic to sing along to “Runaway”.


    But, let’s face it, you care more about the music. So, here are a few tidbits: “So Appalled”, “Monster”, and “Runaway” were standouts. Based on the Yankee Stadium performance of the “Power” remix and tonight’s rendition of “Power”, the former was clearly better than the latter. And, yeah, West wasn’t kidding earlier tonight when he said, “people think they’ve heard these songs, but they haven’t.” The version of “Runaway” he played tonight incorporated pre-recorded vocal samples similar to those used at the VMA’s.

    Fifteen minutes is over like a flash in the pan though, and other than the smiles and music there’s not much to note. West said little if anything to the audience, and the one pause in rhymes came when he had to take off his big ass chain. He didn’t even wear his standard red concert garb, opting instead for black leather pants and a basic t-shirt.

    But even without the flash and 90-minute setlist, West once again proved it doesn’t take much for him to steal the show. And that’s with GZA also in the house. A good Saturday, indeed.


    Image via Virgil Abloh.

    So Appalled (feat. Cyhi da Prince)
    Devil in a New Dress

    “So Appalled”