When Clipse performed their hit song “Hot Damn,” it added to the swelling heat and animated crowd at the Electric Factory on April 18. Clipse was just one of the four acts who performed in front of an excited, sold-out at the Factory. This concert is the last stop for Clipse, Black Eyed Peas, and Spymob, the backup bands for the tour’s headliner, N.E.R.D. (an acronym for No one Ever Really Dies).
Unlike many concerts, Clipse performed in a timely and scheduled fashion at 8:00 p.m., helping to begin the event on a positive note. Clipse, a Virginia Beach-based duo signed to N.E.R.D.’s Star Trak label, opened the show to a mostly-filled venue.
The Virginia duo performed many hit tracks off their Lord Willin’ album, including the radio-hit “Grindin’.” They even had guest artists from their album perform on-stage with them. Two of those were Philly natives Roscoe P. and Ab-Liva of Major Figgas fame, who both spit their verses on “Hot Damn.”
Many in the crowd who came to see the main attraction and beat master Pharrell Williams did not react well with the Clipse.
After Malice and Pusha T’s performance, Black Eyed Peas’ band stepped on- stage and began playing their instruments as each member of the group appeared. Both floors of the Factory were filled wall-to-wall, while Black Eyed Peas performed in the smoke-filled building. Most of the crowd reacted to Black Eyed Pea’s performance with much excitement and anticipation as the fans were bobbing and swaying to the foursome’s tunes. Members Will.I.Am., Taboo, Apl.De.Ap and new member Fergie had an energetic style with b-boy and break dancing moves, reminiscent the Rock Steady crew with back flips and head spins to get the crowd hyped.
Black Eyed Peas had the crowd involved as soon as they told them to, “Put your hands up.” All members had the fans in excitement as they performed their Latin-infused hip -hop hits such as “Let’s get retarded,” “Hands up” and “Shut up”.
Before going into “Joints and Jams,” the song that established Black Eyed Pea’s commercial success long before their latest album Elephunk, Will yelled at the restless crowd by telling them to repeat him saying “Oh Yeah” and “Ok”. During the song, Taboo stage-dived into the crowd while performing as they caught him.
Lead member and producer Will is as colorful as the bright-orange tie and silk shirt he wore at the performance. He treated the fans with a freestyle as he rhymed faster and faster like a skateboard’s momentum going downhill.
Black Eyed Peas walked off the stage tricking everyone into thinking they were finished, but weren’t as their band members individually demonstrated their instrumental talent. Will.I.Am took the place of the group’s drummer, holding a mic in his left hand and beating the drums with his right.
When N.E.R.D. came out with Spymob to perform, Pharrell sang a lively rock-infused snippet of songs that blend both album’s, In Search Of and Fly or Die.
Chad Hugo, N.E.R.D.’s DJ, did not appear at the show. However, despite Hugo’s absence, N.E.R.D. members Shae and Pharrell’s performance ignited a diverse crowd of hip-hop and rock fans.
Ladies in the crowd were charmed by Pharrell’s smooth voice as he sang the group’s radio hits “Frontin’,” and, “She Wants to Move.”
The DJ’s rock and electronic beats, mixed with Pharrell’s hardcore hip-hop rhymes had the audience jumping and arms waving as he rapped shirtless on top of a picnic table.
To calm the crowd, Pharrell performed his slower song, “Run to the Sun”.
Pharrell informed the crowd “Philly is well represented,” respecting Philadelphia natives, The Roots and Roscoe P, which had the crowd reacting with positive chants.
Black Eyed Peas surprised the crowd as they appeared onstage with N.E.R.D. to perform the show closing song, “Lapdance,” which originally launched N.E.R.D’s career.
Sweltering temperatures couldn’t keep the crowd away as they were treated to an unearthly performance from N.E.R.D. and Black Eyed Peas.
Alan Gung can be reached at email@example.com