This past Monday, June 23rd, a massive line assembled in the middle of the day, coiling around a seemingly abandoned warehouse by the water on North 3rd Street in Williamsburg—a crowd so colorful, stylish, and vociferous that bystanders couldn’t help but take photos and ask what was going on, to which they were answered with too-cool indifference. A pantheon of ice, chains, jewels, and neon designs on chocolate colored bodies glistened in the ethereal sunset and the ice-cream man even pulled up and made some sales to the untouchably hip guests waiting to be admitted to the turn-up. Nervous tension blanketed the street, the RSVP list had been open only for a few hours and many people had received rejection e-mails earlier that day.
It was clear that most of these ultra-hot urbanites were not on the list. There was hollering and flirting with VIPs, hush-hush talk of who to talk to and who you know, while souped-up automobiles flossed past the scene blasting rap and checking out the lineup. The door-girl was a stone-cold model clad in fear-inducing stylishness, a b-ball jersey dress with gold chains and perfect eyeliner—she met each guest with an unflinching poker face, admitting and rejecting without visible compunction. When we finally entered the warehouse, sweaty humidity was pungent in the air—the speakers blared rap, mostly A$AP mob stuff, and a massive industrial fan pushed around the 85-degree condensation in the room. The open bars were slammed, and getting a drink was like tousling through a mosh pit.
Over this chaotic crowd of flagrant 20-somethings climbing on top of each other for liquor was the only visible décor—an original-looking replica of the Declaration of Independence on a weathered scroll. Along with this piece, there were stark patriotic accents: American flags and a projected image of Adidas’s new sneaker, and a simple phrase projected on the raw brick, “#finaldraft.” A single photo booth beckoned passersby to create an animated GIF of themselves posing with the new Adidas Originals shoes while another pair was on display in a glass case that was quickly topped with beers.
Finally, after about 3 hours of wrestling for drinks, restless dancing to music on the speakers, and humidity mounting with anticipation in the flocking crowd, Ferg was escorted by about 15 bodyguards and some fellow A$AP MOB crew through the crowd and onto the stage. It proceeded to get lit. I was immediately ensconced in a dancing mesh of sweaty abandonment and moshing, and Ferg flung water all over us. Some level of instinctual surrender was achieved from the sheer energy that photographer Anna Bloda described as “religious ecstasy.” Marty Baller flexed his gold teeth and dove into the crowd, and Freg (a slightly heavier load) quickly followed.
After about four rapturous songs, Ferg left the stage with his posse and the warehouse slowly cleared out, but the ecstatic vibe was still apparent on the street. Bouncers herded everyone towards the west while the MOB absconded toward Kent Street to get pizza in privacy. It was worth the stress and laborious wait for the sweaty 20 minutes of hard-earned frenzy that closed out the show—there was a ritualistic rhythm to beginning of the night as if to prime us all for the intensity of when Ferg finally graced the stage with his grandeur. For all the static and lack of ventilation I endured, I left feeling intoxicated with a rush of tribalistic fervor.