I’m sure we’re all missing Art Basel dearly, but there was one event that I sincerely hope you did not miss, and if you did, it’s okay, because I’m about to go over the whole thing.
Basel weekend was packed with musical events. That Saturday, I was fortunate enough to see SBTRKT with A$AP Ferg at the YoungArts National Campus. I was mainly there for SBTRKT (subtract), but it is definitely worth noting that A$AP Ferg was charismatic and vivacious in his performance. His interaction with the crowd was entertaining and natural. As I’m sure most of us have experienced, some artists can seem awkward and forced in their interaction with their audience. At one point, he asked the crowd to split in half so he can walk through, and said, “Alright, I don’t want any girls standing around looking cute, because I’m about to walk through here.” When all was said and done, he didn’t walk through, but for some reason, everyone started moshing. It was hilarious and terrifying, but that’s coming from a girl who is scared of getting punched in the face. I’m sure everyone else loved it. Regarding his music, he played some of his hits from his debut album, Trap Lord, like “Shabba” and “Work” with passion and energy. His set was tastefully selected, and he successfully pleased the crowd.
Then, SBTRKT started…
The Reds and Pinks of the Sunrise: The Beginning
Opening with “Highs and Lows” and “Never Never”, SBTRKT began their beautiful set. I was stricken with awe when I saw that SBTRKT was not one man standing behind a soundboard, but three individuals playing live instruments. When they finished their first two songs, they were received warmly by the crowd. Frontman Aaron Jerome addressed us with a smile on his face, causing an eruption of cheers. What he was about to say would change my life forever (just kidding—kind of). “For this next song, I’m going to need some help from a friend from New York. His name is Ezra.” That’s when I knew he meant Ezra Koenig, who was featured on SBTRKT’s latest album Wonder Where We Land, in an odd yet lovable song called “New Dorp. New York”. Then, Koenig came out, and again, the crowd went wild.
Blue and Green: SBTRKT and Wonder Where We Land
From there, it only got better. The remainder of the set included fan favorites like “Pharaohs” and “Temporary View” that blended the best of their debut album, SBTRKT, and their latest album, Wonder Where We Land. The set felt long, but when it was over, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a dear friend. Overall it was a very enjoyable experience. My one critique of SBTRKT is that although their albums are decked with elegant, well-produced songs, they do not compare to the live experience. SBTRKT live is much more intimate, energetic, and raw than SBTRKT recorded. It’s almost like experiencing two different artists. However, I can’t complain, and I won’t. My only regret is not going to their post-performance DJ Set at Grand Central.