Photos courtesy of Mel D. Cole for Village Slum (plus a few loosies at the end)
Last night, children, the Holiday Jam we were dreaming of arrived at Brooklyn Bowl like a fat package from Santa; snow fell, The Roots played, drinks flowed. Halls got decked and MCs caught wreck. The show, made possible with the help of House of Marley and Heineken USA, kicked off at 9pm with host with the most Hannibal Buress setting the right mood, shaking off the cold with some serious assistance from warm vibes provided by our go-to DJ J. Period and 5$ Heinekens (Hannibal’s exhortion to all the wet-bootied attendees to “Dance that shit dryyyyyy” was a holiday moment to cherish.) Mosaic Flow got the crowd totally live with a bunch of hip-hop, funk & soul covers that channeled the primal energy of D.C. go-go into a NOLA-meets-Philly brass assault that forced people to dance whether they were ready or not, paving the way for sets from Gizmo, Reggie Watts and Donn T.
The now-mandatory reggae section of the evening (this is Brooklyn, unu fi hear?) was one of the most legendary yet: dancehall star Mr. Vegas showed the crowd why he dominates the juggling from 90s (see “Heads High”) til now (see his current feature on Beyoncé‘s Hot97 anthem “Standing On The Sun”). James Poyser showed off his reggae-face (and his Jamaican roots) as The Roots took the crowd on a deep dub excursion into the music of the late, great Augustus Pablo with the Suns Of Dub and then 2014’s presumptive Soca Monarch Bunji Garlin brought the ‘tun up’ back.
Big Daddy Kane and The Legendary delivered the longest set of the night, but other highlights included Sufjan Stevens singing “Holly, Jolly Christmas”; Valerie June singing the “Workin’ Woman Blues”; Raekwon popping onstage and sending the crowd into a complete fit, Bilal going HAM for about 5 minutes, bodying “Everything In Its Right Place” and “Sometimes”; the bouncer onstage trying to prevent Rahzel from coming up for his traditional holiday beatbox…Rahzel just made himself into a space rocket and zoomed through! All in all, it was a jam to remember and special holiday love goes out to all the elves behind the scenes, to House Of Marley and Heineken for making it all possible, and to you and you and you and YOU. Scroll through Mel D. Cole‘s gallery of black & white beauties above (plus a few of our favorite instagrams) and watch for the videos to drop soon!