Words by Maj Johnson
Photos by Colin Williams
Jillionaire kicked off his Chicken and Beer event series, supported by Feel Up Records, LargeUp and The Fader, this past Sunday at Brooklyn’s Lot 45. Doors opened at 12, and the crowd quickly grew to capacity, leaving barely enough space to maneuver one’s self far less walk. Selectors including LargeUp’s own Jam Central, Federation Sound’s Max Glazer, Jubilee, Teleseen (with guest MC Bajah) and the Brunch Bounce DJs kept partygoers bouncing through the afternoon with an eclectic mix of reggae, dancehall, soca, hip-hop, trap and Afrobeat selections.
It wouldn’t be a Chicken and Beer party if Jillionaire himself didn’t hop on the ones and twos, and take things to Trinidad. His Major Lazer bandmate Walshy Fire also took to the turntables and microphone, preparing the crowd for guest performer Bunji Garlin, who flew out just for the event. The crowd went mad as Walshy introduced the Soca Viking as “the best lyricist to emerge out of the Caribbean,” and Garlin proceeded to perform hits like “Carnival Tabanca,” “Truck on D Road,” “Tun Up” and, of course, “Differentology,” the track that catapulted him to global fame.
But what’s an impeccable lineup accompanied by block party favorites chicken and beer, without a beautiful crowd full of energy with absolutely no reservations? As dancers Blacka Di Danca, Sir Ledgen and Nelly Danca assisted Jillionaire, Walshy And Bunji in working the crowd into a frenzy, the audience was so overcome with the spirit of bacchanal at one point it hoisted a wheelchair-bound man into the air to crowd surf. You already know there’s nothing like a Caribbean party, but #CNB2015 not only met but exceeded expectations.
Even as Lot 45 closed its doors, the vibes couldn’t done, as the crowd migrated right across Troutman Street to A Liming Place, a newly opened Caribbean cafe that was serving up jerk chicken and that Trinidadian beach lime staple, bake and shark.
Next up, Chicken and Beer heads to Montreal, followed by Toronto, Atlanta and Austin and, who knows, maybe a city near you. Until then, check out photographer Colin Williams’ images from the scene on Sunday.