Keytars, neon clothing and multiple wardrobe changes were just the start of a fun-themed night at Ace of Spades.
From an alternative model to a professional lacrosse player and his friends, openers Diamond Dez and Con Bro Chill set the stage February 21 with a mixture of sass, attitude and entertainment for the night’s headliner, Wallpaper.
Poking fun at pop culture, Oakland musician/producer Wallpaper., a.k.a. Ricky Reed, started making music for a purpose.
"When I started this project, the entire goal was to be a satire of pop music and pop culture. It was ultimately my music as wallpaper, background music," explains Reed. "We don’t usually engage in music in the way that it deserves to be engaged with, so it’s a way of making a statement about it."
Songs like "Puke My Brains out," "Good 4 It", and "#Stupidfacedd," are all examples of today’s generation getting wasted and partying. But it’s something that Wallpaper. is able to do in a light hearted and fun manner.
Calling the Bay Area home, Ricky Reed’s musical influences have shaped his sound, allowing him to use a mixture of influential genres to produce an eclectic genre all his own.
"The Bay Area is a very special place," explains Reed. "It’s not the center of the world musically. People from the bay are underdogs, so we have to do things that make us stand out and rise to the top."
Reed pointed to punk rock bands like Rancid and Rapper E-40 as inspirations in the sound of his music.
"Growing up around Rancid, Green Day, E-40, The Federation and Too $hort, it all had an equal impact on me," explains Reed. "From a gritty bass sound of a Rancid record, against a hyphy 808 sound in a track, is just an example of the end result of my music."
The heavy bass sound Reed talked about could be heard in his opener, "Puke My Brains Out."
Accompanying Reed on stage was vocalist and San Francisco native, Novena Carmel.
With hot pink hair and a funky attitude, Carmel was a great addition to the high energy of Reed and his three drummers.
Continuing with their fast tempo set, Wallpaper. performed the dance track "Shotgun," followed by "Good 4 It" and "T-Rex."
On the last song of the regular set, Wallpaper. ended with the dub-step influenced song, "Okay."
Entering the stage for the encore, Reed played the song "F*cking Best Song Ever," using a ukulele in the intro and ending the show with the song MTV made famous, "#Stupidfacedd."
Local Deejay, Shaun Slaughter (a.k.a. DAMB) took to 1s and 2s, setting the mood for opening acts Diamond Dez and Con Bro Chill.
With a multifarious sound that ranged from soul and hip-hop to funk and pop, DAMB was able to set the tone of musical expression, and expertise, for the two openers.
Sassy and in control, Sacramento native, Diamond Dez took the stage with black ripped jeans, big hair and a gaudy gold chain.
A lot of energy and attitude from a small package, Dez opened up her set with a group of B-Boys taking the stage.
Resembling the intensity and creativity of Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga, Dez gave a fully energetic and strong performance showing both her rapping and singing skills.
Next up was a set that one could never prepare for.
Seriousness, with a hint of fun ridiculousness, describes Pro Lacrosse Player, Connor Martin and his band Con Bro Chill: SAMM (Lead Vox),Ty Andre (Art Director) and Steve Felts.
A wardrobe that included (but not limited to): fur coats, ’80s puffer vests and shiny leggings with jock straps over the top, it was evident that this band didn’t take itself seriously.
Opening their set with a warrior fight and leading into their song "Dance Thief," where they proceeded to throw waffles into the audience, Con Bro Chill kept the audience entertained with its eccentric clothes, sound and dance moves.
With a night full of dance moves, flashy clothes and letting loose, the collection of musicians proved that being yourself and having fun is the most important part of music.
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