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N.E.R.D at The House of Blues by Toyin Alaka

House of Blues Chicago – Chicago, IL, USA – September 2, 2008

by Toyin Alaka

N*E*R*DN.E.R.D gave an incredible high energy frenzied vibrant dancing performance. Where lead singer Pharrell Williams, Shay and a hype man jumped up and down, twirled around and around doing airplane spins while dancing to the beat. As they slid into the 1 st number, Anti Matter off of their latest album Seeing Sounds, is a high energy number that much to Pharrell's surprise had the crowd going nuts and singing along. They slid into Brain from their 1 st album In Search Of.... Of course the crowd went wild and sang along including yours truly. For the third song they performed Killjoy another off of Seeing Sounds the crowd was in tune and matching word for word that came out of Pharrell and Shay. Next was Backseat Love and then Maybe from the 2 nd album Fly or Die. Rockstar from the 1 st album really got the crowd hyped and ready to party.

Pharrell took some time to thank Converse, the sponsor, for bringing back vans sneakers. He also asked Bad Brains, the supporting act, to join them onstage. Calling them one of the best metal rock bands ever, his excitement about Bad Brains is contagious considering that more than half of the 18-20 some things in attendance had no clue who Bad Brains was nor had they ever heard of them. As the members of Bad Brains took the stage alongside N.E.R.D, they launch into an erupting cadence of guitars and drums to Spaz from Seeing Sounds, the crowd goes wild and is loving it. As Bad Brains left the stage, Pharrell asks the crowd if it's had enough & launched into You Know What also from Seeing Sounds. He was simply amazed that the crowd knew the song and the music. The crowd gave him so much energy he just could not contain himself and told the fans, "he loves Chicago." Next thing you know he starts a frenzied performance of Lapdance from In Search Of..... the fans, including yours truly, jumps right in and performs along with N.E.R.D, girls were pulled on stage and performed along with Pharrell & Shay, bumping and grinding as they launched into the final song of the evening Everybody Nose (All the Girls Standing In the Line for the Bathroom). I think typically most know that N.E.R.D's music is totally different from what they produce for other artists. N.E.R.D's performance for me is simply rock with added bits of R&B and some slight hip hop influences. I'm not sure what I expected from this performance, however, I can say that I was truly entertained.