The titular Spring Fair concert was held at the very august Ram’s Head Live in the Inner Harbor on Friday, April 28. The headliners — and indeed the only performers except for a guy who Ferg brought whose name I didn’t catch — were DJ Steve Aoki and the Hood Pope himself: A$AP Ferg.
Perhaps an introduction: I have work until seven at night on Fridays, which on most weekends is a reasonable schedule. Getting off at seven gives me plenty of time to get home and eat before I engage in nighttime activities.
However, this was Spring Fair, and joining the party at seven put me at about an eight-drink deficit. So, slightly behind but fresh off the job and well equipped with 40 ounces of National Bohemian, I began my night. This was, surprisingly, my first Spring Fair concert ever, so new experiences abounded.
Several hours and roughly 64 ounces of lite beer later, I found myself on a very sweaty bus headed downtown, having a pleasant discussion with two other people on the virtues of mosh pits. Ram’s Head is, as far as venues go, fairly mediocre.
If you’re determined, it’s possible to get relatively close to the stage, although if you’re vertically disadvantaged — which I am — the only thing you’ll be seeing is the sweat-soaked back of whatever drunk dude is standing in front of you.
Side-note: Water is no longer free at Ram’s Head, which is honestly borderline sadistic, and whoever made that decision needs to reevaluate their sense of morality.
When you host EDM concerts on a not-infrequent basis, you should give out free water. People are going to be on drugs and when you try to get those people to pay for water, they’re just not going to drink it, and someone will die.
I don’t know what capitalist goon runs Ram’s Head, but they have officially established themselves as a horrible human being.
Anyway, after some milling around and a good set by a DJ who looked like a hypebeast version of Owen Wilson, the Hood Pope emerged to deliver his sermon. My optimism for Ferg’s performance was measured: I had heard stories of him pulling the trick of coming out on stage for way less time than was billed for and then leaving the audience hanging.
However, I am happy to report that he played a full set, and it was good. Ferg ran through some of his most destructive songs — things like “Fuck Out My Face” and “Shabba” off of Trap Lord and “Uzi Gang” and “Hungry Ham” from Always Strive and Prosper, as well as a sampling of newer songs, including the latest A$AP Mob track, “Wrong.”
Basically, it was lit. Ferg was great, and the guy that he brought out (who I thought for a fleeting moment was Playboi Carti but was more likely another Mob member) was good as well.
Sadly, Hopkins students apparently have no concept of a mosh pit, because when the aforementioned and unidentified rapper called for the center to be opened up, the crowd did its best minnow impression and held together like their lives depended on it.
Super-glued crowd aside, Ferg’s set was tremendous for a genre where big concert shows can often be disappointing.
Happily, Ferg was the opening act, so I had time to leave the crowd and corral my very drunk friend before Steve Aoki started.
As a caveat, I am not a huge fan of EDM. I might even go so far as to say that I largely dislike it. Popular electronic music often seems to be more about the drugs that you take to enjoy the concerts than it does about the actual music. This is a shame, because there are a lot of talented and passionate DJs in the business, but there are also a lot of people in the audience who just want to do molly.
Steve Aoki is certainly a talented guy and knows how to play a show, but as a consequence of my personal tastes, I wasn’t really feeling it.
Bias aside, Aoki was cool. Like I said, the dude puts on a great live show: The lights were amazing and the confetti was well-received. The sight of little pieces of paper floating around while you’re seeing double and suffering from the early stages of tinnitus is strangely comforting. It probably would have been even better had I been on the right drugs.
Unfortunately, by the time that Aoki was halfway through his set, all the beers that had replaced the water in my body were beginning to wear off and my world of substance-based complacency was collapsing around me.
As a consequence of this, I gave up and went home before the DJ had finished, so the last twenty minutes of the show are courtesy of second-hand accounts and Snapchat.
Fortunately, it seems as though everything continued as normal: lights, heavy bass and shirtless Aoki acting as both the artist and the hypeman. From what I’ve heard, it was amazing and, importantly, someone got caked.
Apparently, Aoki came up with the idea as a way to promote a song (“Turn Up the Volume” by Autoerotique) the video for which featured people getting absolutely demolished by cakes to the face. In slow motion.
In hindsight, I feel sort of bad about leaving before Aoki’s set had finished. The more I read about the guy the more I like him. Apparently, he has punk origins and said in a 2014 interview with Thump that he’d do mashups of Biggie and hardcore songs. It probably sounded like Rage Against the Machine but even more insane, and what’s not to love about that?
Regardless, Hopkins clearly enjoyed hosting him and Ferg, and the two clearly enjoyed each other’s company judging by the truly amazing photo that Ferg posted on his Instagram. So, all in all, great concert. Well done, Spring Fair.
As an aside, it turns out that the rapper that Ferg brought out was Marty Baller, who is featured on “Uzi Gang.” Ferg has apparently been grooming Marty for some time now. The young Harlem rapper recently released tracks featuring Migos and Rich the Kid. I considered going back and editing that earlier paragraph to reflect this revelation, but I liked that sentence so I’m just going to do this.
I would tell you where Ferg and Aoki are touring but, frankly, none of us could afford tickets, and you have Google too.
Finally, if you disagree with my comments about EDM, feel free to attack me via the internet or, if you see me walking around campus, in real life. Just drop the bass before you hit me so I know why you’re doing it in the first place.