by Sam Mendez
Last night at the Grog Shop, RJD2 proved that DJ-ing with vinyl is still alive and kicking, but also showed the wonders of modern music technology. He took the stage dressed in what looked like a welder’s mask, and he had LED lights on his outfit and a sampler pad hanging from his neck. He began his performance with a song he played simply by using samples loaded onto the machine. Then shortly after, he abandoned the gimmicky costume and proceeded to play his set armed with four turntables and two sampler pads. With RJD2 cutting and scratching vinyl records and playing around on his sampler pads (during one break, he sampled video game sounds and acted like he was playing a retro game), you would think there was more than one person orchestrating it all.
The DJ, who was raised in Columbus, didn’t wait long to play his famous track “A Beautiful Mine,” better yet known as the theme song to the show Mad Men, and kept the turntablist/hip-hop groove going all throughout the night, with people throwing their hands in the air for the well-known riffs of “Ghostwriter,” “1976,” “Final Frontier,” and “Good Times Roll Pt. 2.” Those who weren’t busy dancing were probably busy watching the visuals (projected onto a white bed-sheet) of random clips, including images from action movies and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. RJD2 did make one serious blunder after accidentally addressing the crowd as Chicago instead of Cleveland. But after explaining how he used to sleep in the back of his Toyota Tercel on I-71 in 1997 (which he mentioned to establish how much he loves Ohio), the crowd couldn’t stay mad at him for long.
Opening for the night was LMNTL, an amateurish local hip-hop group: the band’s hooks weren’t very imaginative and the instrumentals were elementary (one of them used a sample of a Yes song). They certainly didn’t lack energy or enthusiasm but because of issues with the microphones, their performance was lackluster. After them, the Very Knees took the stage, except they didn’t. Because of RJD2’s equipment took up all the room on the main stage, the Very Knees set up their mics, instruments, and drum machine to the right of the stage and performed on the floor with the crowd. With songs about “party sweat,” the Very Knees also failed to impress, although the crowd was supportive regardless. DJ Self-Help played a set before RJD2, and although his set had more of a “club-music” feel, it didn’t quite complement RJD2’s upcoming set. Still, Self-Help managed to please the crowd and get it nice and ready for the headline.