Photos By: Lauren Gesswein
By the time the clouds parted, the “Lord” had already arrived.
That was the case Monday (September 2) at the fourth-annual Day Off, a yearly music festival put on by Brooklyn-based record label Fool’s Gold. This year the festival was held at Williamsburg Park, a much larger venue than last year’s blocked-off street space in SoHo, which was eventually shut down by police for being too crammed with people. Yesterday’s event started just as rocky thanks to a heavy dose of rainfall, but the weather cleared up just as the festival’s biggest acts – including A$AP Ferg, the “Trap Lord” himself – took the stage.
It all began early in the afternoon with performances from some of Fool’s Gold’s newer signees, like electro, sample-based duo Party Supplies, Philly MC Grande Marshall and Queens-based hip-hop crew World’s Fair. From there, the acts only got bigger – and, at times, unexpected. DJ A-Trak, who founded the label with fellow DJ Nick Catchdubs, made it clear at the beginning of the day that there would be a number of impromptu sets from big-name guests, and he kept his word. Just Blaze showed up to spin a number of his vintage hits, from his soulful production for Jay-Z to his hard-hitting work with Dipset. G.O.O.D Music’s Travi$ Scott, draped in camouflage and shoeless, danced around stage while antagonizing the crowd to start mosh pits. And, Action Bronson, looking hung over and half asleep, strolled on stage for one song before dropping the mic and probably returning to bed. Classic Bam Bam.
The eclectic crowd, made up of hip-hop heads, lingerie-wearing teenagers and corner boys, seemed distant at times. Their disinterest could have been chalked up to a number of things, including the bad weather and the fact that the stage’s speaker system was not up to playing heavy house and hip-hop for eight hours straight. This was a shame, especially during performances by veterans like Killer Mike and El-P, whose heady Run the Jewels material should have garnered more excitement.
But there were moments of collective enthusiasm. Atlanta rappers Migos, backed by a smoke machine and a horde of weed carriers, got the crowd into it with their catchy trap anthems “Hannah Montana” and “Versace.” And Detroit’s Danny Brown, giggling and sticking his tongue out every five seconds, performed some heaters off his much-anticipated debut, Old. By far the biggest reception came for A$AP Ferg; as soon as the first notes of “Dump Dump” came on, a rush of fans elbowed their way to the front, where they started a massive mosh area. Things got even more ruckus when Ferg brought out A$AP Rocky for his “Work” remix.
Maybe the best part of the night, though, was seeing the family type atmosphere going on stage. During Migos’ set, for example, Danny Brown, A-Trak and Travi$ Scott danced together like a bunch of friends at a concert. And while Danny performed, the A$AP Mob acted as his hype men. A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs pride themselves on running a label that cares about its artists and fans, and certain moments – like when A-Trak and his brother, David Macklovitch of Chromeo, handed out water for 20 minutes to fans – made this even more apparent.
So, while this year’s Day Off was far from perfect, it still stood for something worth rooting for.—Reed Jackson