Friday, August 13th, 2010

The Secret Kanye West Show at The Box Last Night

KANYE TO THESometime around when he joined Twitter, Kanye West started something called "The Rosewood Movement." Before last night, this was widely accepted as just an excuse for Kanye and his friends to wear nice suits and to have a name for being all-around classy guys. As it turns out, the "Movement" is more than that. In a "secret" and private party at The Box last night, Kanye West and John Legend performed what they called the first in a series of intimate concerts. The only caveat for the attendees was that they all wear formal attire-specifically, that all the gentlemen in attendance wear suits and "hard bottoms," more commonly known as dress shoes.

The happening of the secret concert seemed to actually be kept a pretty good secret as there were only a few people who tried to crash the door. Presumably if this were not the case, it would have been more of a madhouse, but whether it was the rain or the tight lips of those involved in the Rosewood Movement, the whole thing was not particularly overcrowded. That being said, there were a few people who weren't on the list who tried to make their way inside. One particular social media technology founder and his party were originally denied at the door and then, after business cards were exchanged in a "Do you know who I am? I am this guy!" sort of way, a compromise was reached and two people from the party of five or six were allowed to enter.

Although the party was supposed to start at midnight, Kanye and his friends did not get there until around 1 a.m. Until that point it was unclear as to what was happening, whether it was just a party, whether there would actually be performances, or if a lot of people who weren't used to wearing suits would have to continue standing around awkwardly wearing suits for an indefinite amount of time.

Around 1:30 a.m., Kanye finally took the stage. His labelmate and longtime friend John Legend was on a grand piano as an accompanist, and there was a third person who was behind several keyboards. The show itself started as a series of stripped down hits from Kanye's repertoire, and the first quarter of the set was pretty mellow, as though the fact that everyone was wearing suits meant that things weren't going to get particularly exciting.

After five or six songs, as he brought out Estelle for 'American Boy,' the energy level of the show hit another gear. Kanye started going through his more upbeat numbers including performances of the song he produced for Drake, 'Find Your Love,' and he also used a sample machine on stage to create new interpolations of his own hits like 'Flashing Lights' and a new song that samples the Billy Joel song 'Movin' Out (Anthony's Song),' which is about a boy who doesn't like the new male companions of his newly divorced mother. It was very, very good, but it's also hard to go wrong when using that chorus.

One of the highlights was a performance of 'Say You Will' off "808's and Heartbreak," in which he explained the inspiration for the song; that it was mostly to do with women who were indecisive in committing to sexual endeavors. Examples cited were girls who on a Friday night said they would come over to have sex but changed their mind at the last minute, leaving Kanye in a lurch. He was also not thrilled when girls would not send him sexts (dirty pictures via e-mail or MMS) when he was on the road. It sounds like a stupid complaint, but it was much more reasonable sounding the way he articulated it. It seemed like a very annoying problem to have!

What resonated through the whole show was how much fun Kanye was having. As the crowd was small, probably no bigger than 200 or so people, many of whom were personal friends of his, he was just playing music he was very proud of and enjoying the adoration and positive energy of the small room. Even as the planned set ended, he kept going through the MPC to find new songs he could do-and it should be noted that John Legend and the keyboardist were insanely impressive as they kept up with his ranting, changes to songs and random jamming out with his samples. At one point, Kanye started pounding on the keys so hard that at the end of the song he came out looking hazy, and he said he felt like a drummer who was on the first night of his tour and had just completed his first solo.

There were a few very minor missteps on the night. First was the fact that Mos Def was in the building, but not near the stage when their collaboration 'Two Words' was being performed, and so Kanye was looking around for the rapper to no avail. Next was the fact that the drink of choice, at least by the Rosewood Movement, was the creatively named "Rosewood." It is: sauvignon blanc, cranberry juice and a simple syrup. You can guess how that tasted.

The dress code was pretty heavily enforced, but the only men who seemed to enter sans suit were David Beckham and his hanger-on buddy. Pulling the "It's not really that cold and other people are actually sweating but I'm still going to wear a beanie" move, he was perched up in one of the upper booths with no Victoria Beckham in sight, though he did have some cute-ish British girls with him. To his credit nothing particularly salacious was happening with their party-and the background on his new Blackberry Torch was a picture of his family.

After the performance was over, Kanye and John Legend walked off the stage to join their friends who were there supporting the Rosewood Movement, including Pusha T of the Clipse, Big Sean, Mr. Hudson, longtime manager and friend Don C, Ibn Jasper and Virgil Abloh. After a little more lounging, the venue started to empty out. Kanye started towards the exit, through the crowd, and he went out of his way to thank people individually, friends and strangers alike, for coming to his show. He seemed genuinely very, very happy.

41 Comments / Post A Comment

Mister_Neutron (#5,921)

First in with the obvious joke: what else does "hard bottom" bring to mind?

The whole deal is giving off a down low vibe. Even the fruity pebbles wine drink.

zachdionne (#6,507)

Wow. Very cool that you were there.

Cho is in The Rosewood Movement? Damn!

Unlike most Kanye events, this one sounds like one I would have liked to attended. How'd you get in, Cho? Your Awl Press Pass?

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Really? I thought he was talking about really expensive vintage 1960's Danish Modern furniture.


deepomega (#1,720)


Slava (#216)


Mark Chu Cheong (#6,137)

You just made Gabe weep with jealousy. Koreans are know for being especially cruel.

MikeBarthel (#1,884)

Why is the Rosewood movement's drink the girliest drink I have ever heard of in my entire life?

Right? Girly wine + girly mixer + sweetner = give me a tanq and tonic!

MikeBarthel (#1,884)

It's even probably pink! And lo-cal! Are they worried about getting UTIs or something?

propertius (#361)

It is just 9am here, and the idea of that drink is making me faintly sick in the stomach.

zidaane (#373)

It sounds like a very reasonable drink for a house fly.

Justin Lam (#6,860)

I am seething with envy right now. The AWL is a SERIOUS PUBLICATION!

cherrispryte (#444)

This sounds freaking awesome. But maybe that's just because I enjoy wearing formalwear in nontraditional situations.

Slava (#216)

Wait.. David Karp was wearing a suit?!

Fucking chavs

dado (#102)

I would have rather shaved my head with a cheese grater and chewed on tin foil than have to listen to that schmucktard Kanye. John Legend would be nice though.

zidaane (#373)

What kind of ass leaves his party of six?

Sean Peters (#6,014)

That's what I was thinking. You go out with a party of your friends, and ditch two thirds of them at the door? Classy.

deepomega (#1,720)

I just bought a badass tapered suit (for a funeral sadly) and I look goddamn awesome in it and wish I had these sorts of events to wear them to.

"Examples cited were girls who on a Friday night said they would come over to have sex but changed their mind at the last minute, leaving Kanye in a lurch. He was also not thrilled when girls would not send him sexts (dirty pictures via e-mail or MMS) when he was on the road. It sounds like a stupid complaint, but it was much more reasonable sounding the way he articulated it. It seemed like a very annoying problem to have!"

I mean it just sounds kinda horrifying and sexist is all.

To be fair Maura I don't there is a man alive who has ever had second thoughts about completing a booty call or sending pictures of his junk to someone.

Oh totally. I do think Kanye is being kinda horrifying and sexist! It really informs my thoughts on Kanye and I'm glad I know about it now.

bthny (#2,907)

Agreed, which makes me feel a little :/.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I would have second thoughts about sexting.

KarenUhOh (#19)

I've never quite understood how someone as talented and intelligent as Kanye West could be so preoccupied with someone as pompous and pretentious as Kanye West.

David Cho (#3)

Wait, I think I articulated this poorly in the original post.

He was mainly complaining about two things:

1) Girls who said they would come over, and then at the last minute change their mind. To me there's no difference between complaining about this and complaining about if you had dinner plans with someone and they canceled on you last minute.

2) The girls he's mad about not sexting him, are the ones that he's dating at the time. Which is maybe a little tasteless, but I don't understand what is "sexist" about it.

Also, at the end of the day he is just complaining in a way that is innocuous enough to not identify the girl in public and just gets what bothers him off his chest. And if I seem extra Kanye-apologist-y it's because I think there's a quick to get angered thing with Kanye that wouldn't exist if the same comments were being said by someone who you knew personally.

Hmm. Weird.

Maybe "Hmm. Weird." is where we should leave this, on a Friday afternoon. But then again I'm terrible at leaving things where they should be left.

David, I'm surprised by this! You really see an equivalence between your (hypothetically) busted dinner plans and the the choices women are required to make, given the (historically very real) leveraging of pressure against them to go through with sex acts they might have started having second thoughts about? Especially when fame and power imbalances–and possibly having snottily entitled songs written about you in the future–are all up in the mix? These seem like pretty different things to me, despite the fact that both carry the potential to bum a dude out every now and again.

Also: trust that this isn't a mad-at-Yeezy thing. Plenty of us would not take that kind of commentary lightly from our male acquaintances, either. It's just that their casually misogynist patter isn't reported on the internet quite so much.

I would definitely think the same thing if these things were being said by someone I knew personally who was operating in those particular power structures. The way you made it sound initially was that he was emoing out about getting blue-balled by groupies. Actually scenario No. 1 still kinda sounds that way!

Ribs (#2,690)

Sex or no, unfulfilled commitment is an unfulfilled commitment. There's some legitimate griping that can be expressed there without having to bring in the Historical Patterns of Sexual Oppression.

Connor (#4,136)

If we were betting on who the social media founder who stranded his friends and went inside after saying "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" the easy money would be on Mark Zuckerberg.

I'm still betting it was David Karp though.

Mary HK Choi (#1,469)

"And the background on his new Blackberry Torch was a picture of his family."

hockeymom (#143)

Which implies Cho was close enough to see the background of the Blackberry Torch.
OR, Cho made this whole thing up so he could plant this little bit of product placement.

Leti (#362)

As a girl I resent the implication that the Rosewood is a 'girl's drinks", everyone knows girls drink vodka sodas, wine watered down with juice and sugar is the opposite of lo-cal and it is not going to get you drunk. No thank you.
Cho can we see photo's of your outfit?

Mount_Prion (#290)

For the record, Das Racist has been using that same Billy Joel song. And I bet Ashok has more fun with it than Kanye.

"Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah! Booobabeeboboboooooh!"

Gabriel Clermont (#6,880)

Sampled first by the Diplomats with their song You Oughta Know, which surprisingly features no samples by Alanis Morisette. That would've been a song I'd jam.

Also, the Dipset song came out around the same time that Kanye was producing for Cam'Ron, so it's kind of weird he'd sample the same material. He must know the song.

Post a Comment