Prep for the Zombies show started in the early afternoon, when Meech and his mom drove around to six different bodegas in Brooklyn to round up 100 40 oz. bottles of Old English to line their stage setup and provide some welcome hydration for the group and their crew backstage. The rest of the setup—artificial turf, skeletons and a headstone—was meant to mimic a graveyard, an idea that they first tried out during their Halloween show in Los Angeles.
“That was one of my favorite shows—we were all tripping on acid, everyone backstage, it was just so much fun,” Juice said about the stage props. “And that was the first time we did it; we had a mannequin, a white lady hung up like they used to do to black people from the top of the ceiling. We had a whole bunch of stuff, skeletons, tombstones, cobwebs, 40s, the grass turf. We first did that on Halloween, and we were like, we’ll save it for New York and bring it back out and we’ll see how it goes.”
Meech had been at the venue since 5 o’clock setting things up, making sure things went smoothly and showing his mother—who later told XXL that this was her second-ever Zombies show, and her first time seeing all the work that went into it—how things worked. He’s the creative mind behind each show’s presentation, and he pulls from all aspects of life to create a unique experience.
“Life, movies—I tend to take a lot from movies—sometimes books,” Meech said about the ideas behind their stage shows. “Cartoons. It’s the simplest things. I think sometimes people try too hard to grab something from everything, and sometimes you just gotta let it fall into your lap. A lot of times that’s what happens to me, it starts out as a joke. The astroturf was a joke, we was talkin’ about playing putt-putt golf.”
Once Juice showed up, carting a Grateful Dead Dancing Bear costume, no less—the guys started in on their sound check around 6:45 to run through new variations in their set, where they might want to drop the beat and go a capella, and whether or not Meech can credibly jump over the barrier separating the fans from the stage. The barrier is eventually moved further forward, though Meech would choose not to leap directly from the stage later anyway, instead opting for a much higher vantage point to make his leap from the side. Souncheck ended minutes before the doors opened at 7 pm, at which point Juice stopped out for pizza and Meech made sure his mom got a wristband.