An eclectic combination of keytars, gigantic rubber duckies, champagne and vinyl records took to the stage last Saturday night in the East Village. As
one of the most versatile acts ever to grace Webster Hall’s Grand Ballroom, Far East Movement utilized sample pads, live instrumentation and their house deejay, DJ Virman to smoothly yet powerfully transition from one banger to the next. An almost forgotten act proved itself sonically relevant in an era of experimental sound.
Hailing from Los Angeles as an Asian-American quartet, the group gained fame from everybody’s favorite 2010 party song, “Like a G6.” As a way to embrace the the classic, DJ Virman carefully teased the song’s chorus throughout the set. MC Kev Nish could not help but to point and laugh at the fangirls that went wild at every hint of the song’s funk-synth intro.
The group is just as talented as they are fun. Enter rubber ducky. Fellow MC and keyboardist, Prohgress, deemed his inflatable yellow counterpart the fifth wonder of the band, and cautioned everybody to “handle with care,” before launching it into the crowd. Aside from knowing almost every single word to every single song, the die hard fans weren’t very good listeners. The ducky became a makeshift mechanical bull for those who were brave enough.
The highlight of the night came at the moment Kev Nish directed his audience to recite “We’re the Illest,” quoting the catchy hook from their recent single of the same title. Paying tribute to his fans prior to performing the song, Nish announced that they put the tune together on their behalf. A moment later, the ambience of the synth pad filled the Grand Ballroom. Zombified in a musical trance, the crowd’s hands rose almost in unison as the song started to build. As if they were chewed up and spit out, the entire conglomerate of ravers, foreigners, Webster hall regulars and even the underage kids who used their sibling’s fake IDs went completely wild when the song finally dropped. Far East Movement’s signature funk synth sample dominated the choreography of the dance floor.
Towards the end of the song, long-haired, Jamaican-beanie-wearing J-Splif came out from behind his keytar to perform a special type of solo. Carrying only an iPad touch, he headbanged and looped samples simultaneously while his fellow bandmates grooved beside him. The crowd was granted with a futuristic display of music innovation and sound, reiterating the impressive versatility of the group.
Keeping the hype alive, Nish finally announced the special guest performer he was hinting at all night. While most of the crowd expected a DJ straight out of Electric Zoo at nearby Randall’s Island, they were shocked to welcome hip-hop act A$AP Mob to the stage. His song “Trillmatic,” released in 2013, stole his own show. The night took a break from electronic music and threw itself back to the 90’s. “Trillmatic” allowed the crowd to bob and sway while appreciating the lyrical ability of the entertainers before them, an unfortunately rare occurrence in modern music. Webster Hall, for a moment, became a nostalgic hip-hop haven.
The return of the rubber ducky signaled the end to quite an entertaining night. As fans captured their last pictures with their favorite member of the Movement, Nish thanked his crowd for the never-ending love and support. The quartet puts on a show well worth watching, but only the bravest of fans can get up close and personal with the infamous fifth member.