6:30pm: Sound Check. Chilling at sound check I meet Lloyd’s official tour DJ, DJ Kelo. He’s jammin, sound checkin, kinda grumpy looking. But I introduce myself to him and he’s cool. I ask if I can take photos for the website. He’s cool with it. (Later introducing myself will come in handy, as when I’m taking photos of the show, Kelo remembers me and his security fulla stops trying to kick me off stage).
Because they travel a city per day (or so) it’s an explanation as to why it’s kinda awkward at soundcheck, we’re all there to meet them but nobody knows each other. There’s an element of us just being another city for em; we’re a new culture, another audience to quickly figure out, another cheque to put in the bank. As Kelo works, I’m zoning in and out of my abstract to-do list and the photo task at hand. Suddenly Kelo’s mixing in Sheek Lo’s Mighty D-Block ft J-Hood and Jadakiss and it’s like the beat’s summoning me to the stage. He sees me approaching with the camera and then forgets I’m there. As he gets drawn into THE zone — this is when I discovered this pretty West Indian DJ from New York actually smiles.
Waving his finger in the air and doing some type of rain dance-looking-bounce. All of a sudden he’s cradled his face in his hands and shaking his head, he’s laughing now. .. It’s going to be a good night.
Lloyd walks in sharply and checks the mic. His security tells me to stop taking photos. I have a ciggy and chill. Nek minut Lloyd’s singing ‘I Want You’ directly to me. I can’t look him in the eye because it’s an extremely nice kinda awkward, I turn around and inhale. I exhale and he’s still singing directly at me. I’m blushing. A nerdy, shy, journalist – I am an unversed at this in expert level of flirting. He wins. Shit. He and Kelo discuss doing an intimate set with the space they’ve got at The Grand, it’ll be good. Then they bounce to dinner.
11pm: Jesse is on. He’s an R&B singer in the Make Music Aotearoa fam. There’s an interview we did with him HERE. As an up and comer from Berhampore about to drop a song with Nae Nae rapper Konflikt. His tone is smooth, fresh, ‘he sounds like Usher’ my girl-friend tells me. His stage presence is felt in the audience, he looks comfortable up there. There isn’t anyone else in Welly better to open for Lloyd. Performing ‘You Know’ with Konflikt and his track that got the right people’s attention ‘Can We Chill?’
11:30pm: NZ DMC Champion DJ Gooda, also with Make Music Aotearoa holds the crowd down and pumps them up. Playing 90’s bangers and Rn’B the crowd are good to go in the lead up to Lloyd. The Grand hasn’t looked like this on a Wednesday since club called Rain shut down across the road.
12:16am: A ‘giant-panda-bear’ looking security dude moves solidly through the crowd, surrounding him is a moving bubble of screaming girls shrieking at the sight of Lloyd (who is in the panda-bear protected bubble). Woah. It made sense to me when he was on stage though — the hype of their thrills and their crying with no tears-expressions as they tried to touch him. ‘The man’ wearing a Hall Of Fame College jersey (Big Sean’s label), was straight energy and skill on stage. With his jeans riding so low his grey boxers had everyone STARING at his bum. LOL. Kelo told me later, “niggas can’t sing, I travelled with heaps of artists and niggas can’t sing, but Lloyd can sing.” And no shit, he can.
12:18am: Gooda’s girlfriend Adele tells me to go up on stage, so I try. His security pushes me away from Lloyd so I stand in next to Kelo; pretending to be as much of a ‘fly on the wall’ as I could. Then Kelo hands me his phone and asks me to record the set. Sweet… The big security dude turns round to look at me and seeing as I am holding Kelo’s phone, he nods that I can stay, he lets me stay for the rest of the set. Kelo’s iPhone runs out of space. Sweet, now I crack my camera out.
12:16am: Lloyd has everyone in the club at his musical mercy. The Grand’s energy right now is at a maximum. Both he and Kelo are feeling it too so they drop Lay It Down…. and shut it down. Lloyd’s smile registers that he has actual fans out here. The hook rolls over — everyone in the house has got his back on it. “Lay your heaaaaad, on my pilllloooow” go the fans. Facing the camera for this, he smiles, turns around and goes in on punters.
12:40am: Lloyd finishes his set but before he goes, says “I had some time off earlier today, so I went walking round the city, I went bowling right, and I met these real crazy dudes that work at the bowling alley up the street, and they was like, ‘yo we could whoop your ass‘, and I was like, ‘naw, I don’t think so,’ right, ‘so then we bowled and we made a bet. And if I lost I had to like take them around, give them back stage passes, VIP, we could chill, live it up. And if they lost….which they diiid, they gotta sing y’all a song’…These two nervous looking white dudes come up on stage, Kelo drops Hold On We’re Going Home by Drake and the guys stand there scared as hell, especially after the performance Lloyd just gave. The energy is a lot to deal with. Lloyd’s pointing at em and cracking up; when they don’t do their side of the bet he shakes their hands and then leaves the stage, but not without letting fans touch him a little more. DJ Raw and DJ Shan both do sets to close out the club and we go on to the after party.
Definitely a huge shout outs to DJ Raw and DJ Shan for putting Lloyd on. It is a big deal that Wellington gets such a quality act out here; even with three days notice to promo the club was packed, but in order to keep getting more of these acts, fans need to recognise tix have to be BOUGHT. The bro of the bro can’t be a permanent free pass in and judging by the crowd at Lloyd, there is no doubt y’all definitely love it. Peace.
More gig photos on our Facebook HERE