Couldn’t make it to day one of Culture Shock? Don’t worry, we were there.
4:02pm- Headed to Main Stage for my first Culture Shock.
4:10pm- Arrived, to be met with old carnival rides and a canal of food trucks that lead to the Main Stage.
4:18pm- The people that are here are taking cover in shade.
4:25pm- The Wellness tent’s tie dye station is happening.
4:34pm- In line for coconut jackfruit at the Hapa food truck.
4:39pm- It’s so hot, I’m dying.
4:43pm- The DJ is still playing.
4:47pm- Finally, I got my food!
Photo by Nnandi Cason
4:53pm- Chilling in shade with lunch, perfect.
5:07pm- It’s dead right now.
5:08pm- Spilt taco all over my shirt, be back in five.
5:20ish- The White Lung is finally going on.
5:33pm- There is some intense hula hooping going on near the Wellness Center tent.
5:36pm- There’s no one dancing except for two girls to the right of the stage, mock slam dancing.
5:41pm- The rides are all up and running now.
5:45pm- Getting more food!
5:54pm- The White Lung finishes their set.
5:56pm- The “dance floor,” if it could be called that, is cleared and everyone migrated back to the lawn.
6:05pm- Starting to realize that I actually have no idea where Culture Shock is supposed to be.
6:10pm- Someone told me it was in the Admissions lot. I still have no idea where that is.
6:23pm- I finally found the Admissions lot. There’s not a lot happening at the moment, but someone’s talking from the stage and we’re following the sound.
6:25pm- A young woman is reading a book into a microphone. I don’t know what exactly is going on but it’s definitely not for me. It’s a string of sentences that have seemingly nothing to do with each other.
6:27pm- It’s her diary. She’s just reading her diary. I’m really gonna need alcohol.
Photo by Nnandi Cason
6:32pm- I have beer now, but I’m confined to this tent
6:42pm- Someone is setting up at the Main Stage. They all have instruments. Hopefully they don’t read their diaries.
6:48pm- I’m a bad person for being allergic to cats apparently.
6:55pm- Noticing that a lot of people brought towels. Smart.
6:56pm- Thought I had lipstick on my face. Turns out I’m just really pale.
7:00pm- A rapper called Open Mike Eagle took the stage.
7:05pm- I don’t like rap but he’s actually pretty good. However, I’m hungrier than I am enjoying this music so it’s time to try out the food trucks.
7:10pm- We are on line for the Hapa truck. I don’t know what they serve yet but I’m sure it’ll be fine. Behind me is a merry-go-round with a sign that read says “No Adults”… I’m not sure what they were expecting here.
7:20pm- I’m watching people on the tornado ride. It looks like someone might throw up. I would.
7:25pm- The merry-go-round is now operational and they’re letting adults on despite their sign. There’s a man who kind of looks like a wizard operating the ride.
Photo by Nnandi Cason
7:30pm- Our food from Hapa is ready. The tacos were awesome, but the highlight was definitely the roasted Brussels sprouts.
7:35pm- The sun’s going down and people are starting to show up. Open Mike Eagle is still performing on the stage.
7:40pm- I went into the stood to use the bathroom. Pretty dead in there aside from the people hooking up in the bathroom stall. Keep it classy, Purchase.
7:46pm- The last set just ended. Masses of people are crowding lines for food. There is now a full load of women on the ride and they’re all screeching. Yay.
7:50pm- Those who are still at the stage are dancing to Kendrick Lamar.
8:10pm- Sango’s a DJ guy, not really sure how to review this, but everyone’s into it so that’s rad.
Photos by Devon Pascal-Seward
8:30pm- The beats are pretty good though, not gonna lie. Trap drums are pretty great in any context.
8:45pm- He’s playing Migos now, this is amazing. Honestly any set is made better by adding” T-Shirt”–it’s literally the best pop hit of the year, DEBATE ME!!!!!!!!!!
8:50pm- Honestly, that made the set. Anything is helped by adding Quavo to it.
9:10pm- Alright, not gonna lie, this guy Saba is pretty rad. He’s like internet rap but like less meme, still pretty good though.
9:20pm- This guy is like, using those Tyler the Creator “Type Beats” my Queens friends listen to. Seriously 11th grade me is hyped. Not an insult.
9:30pm- This song has sick chopped and screwed voices in the background. I support this, like adding auto tune would make this cooler but like, it’s cool.9:44pm- This guy is like, the low-key version of Denzel Curry.
9:44pm- This guy is like, the low-key version of Denzel Curry.
9:50pm- This guy can spit. Holy hell. But like, Mumble Rap exists now so spitting doesn’t even have to exist anymore, like it’s made it unnecessary. I kid, I kid. This was a pretty legit set. Mostly the beats made it.
9:48pm- Struggling to sign my friends in.
10:04pm – “Who leaves for The Front Bottoms?” – Sean Walsh, best friend from high school.
10:04pm- I can hear Skeleton.
10:10pm- They just played The Plan and I’m LIVING.
10:13pm- How many people think I’m a dick [because] I’m on my phone.
10:15pm- Why did I sign up for this?
10:16pm- I want to enjoy the set goddamnit.
10:18pm- I can’t believe I’m seeing this for free.
10:19pm- I didn’t realize I could dance.
1023pm- Everyone knows the words.
10:30pm- My heart hurts
10:46pm- They’re closing with Twin Sized Mattress and I’m LIVING
10:48pm- I AM LIT
Photo by Steve Ferri
10:57pm- Sean Walsh had beer.
10:58pm- I saw my Long Island friends in the beer tent.
10:58pm- Justin thinks I need a raise.
11:00pm- I love Culture Shock.
11:02pm- My friends are making fun of me for doing a tick tock.
11:04pm- I can’t believe I paid money for this band in the past.
1106pm- Everyone poured beer out for my roomie that got suspended.
11:10pm- THEY’RE PLAYING SMASH MOUTH, I might drop out.
11:11pm- Everyone go home.
11:20pm- “Does it cost money to go on the rides?” “Who cares?” This crowd is huge.
11:22pm- What the fuck, she sounds like an angel.
11:22pm- We did nothing to deserve her.
1125pm- She’s killing it.
Photo by Steve Ferri
1125pm- People are here for her. This is the perfect start to Culture Shock.
1126pm- “So anyone from the Music Conservatory here?” – She followed up with a dirty joke.
1127pm- Are there always this many cops here?
Photo by Steve Ferri
1130pm- Thank God other people can dance because I sure-as-shit can’t
11:38pm- “No” – Brian Sella of The Front Bottoms after being asked for comment. He was awesome to meet (genuinely).
As the clock strikes midnight, mass exodus of the admissions lot begins. Culture Shock on Main Stage ran relatively on schedule, a scheduling snafu left Zaytoven relegating his aftershock duties to tonight. Zaytoven, best known as THE trap god, entered the public consciousness as the producer of Migos’ breakthrough hit “Versace,” but he’s also crafted dozens upon dozens of tracks for the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em and notably Gucci Mane. My partner-in-crime, Bruce K. Hamilton, tells me the line is “crazy.” He isn’t lying.
12:20am- Having built up considerably before Mitski’s set even ended, the Stood staff open the gates and prepare for hell. “Swang” by Rae Sremmurd is a de facto sound check. I guess this makes it clear that this acts as a typical DJ set, not a list of tracks he produced. Though, the promise of “special guests” on twitter remains in the air.
12:27am- A man on the mic asks if I am ready to turn up tonight. I am. The hundred or so still in line probably are too.
12:30am- “On the count of three, let me get a ‘Trap.’ ” I think to myself, “Here?” It elicits the exact response you’d expect from a 74 percent white liberal arts college in Westchester, N. Y. That being said, I’m eternally grateful that the hip-hop club made this happen. Bobby Woody sits behind the soundboard, but he should be feeling like a king right now. Gucci Mane’s 2016 homecoming anthem “First Day Out The Feds” is the first official track of Aftershock.
12:40am- 21 Savage’s “Red Opps” leads into DJ Khaled’s “I Got The Keys.” I begin to realize all of these songs reached their prime sometime last year. Has Zay done a DJ set sometime in the last two months? I have also neglected to mention that Zaytoven has five hype men, still no special guests.
12:45am- “How many of you motherfuckers fucking with Future?” It’s 2017. Everybody is.
The first song with a Zaytoven producer tag hits the speakers. The crowd is amplified; free T-shirts don’t hurt though.
12:50am- An actual fight breaks out. Like, an actual, actual fight. Security breaks it up and escorts a dude out, Maury Povich style. Any other respectable budding journalist would investigate. I am tired and it’s damn near one in the morning. I’m too invested in Future’s “Stick Talk” blaring from the Stood, only reinforcing my question about that the age of the music on Zay’s computer. In a culture where things are deemed old after six months, and ancient after two years, why are we still spinning “D$2” tracks?
1:03am- “Bad and Boujee”
1:07am- “Mask Off”
1:15am- “Back That Azz Up” abruptly ends. Multiple hype men ask the crowd who was the winner, out of three women. I missed a contest of some sort. Pity.
1:19am- “T-Shirt” (the Migos song, not the article of clothing)
1:20am- “Versace!!!!” Spun by Zaytoven!!!!!!!!! This should feel like a transcendent moment, and I can’t quite explain why it doesn’t. Hip-Hop Club member Devon Pascal-Seward is on stage, grinning ear to ear, trying to remember the words for the first time in probably five years. I think to myself, “Same.”
1:22am- It ends with just Drake’s verse. Pity.
1:27am- This DJ set feels like Rap Caviar. It feels like an insanely talented, famous, creative person’s iPod shuffle. It doesn’t feel out of line for a party at the apartments, but not worth the thousands he and his entourage (note: no special guests) presumably charge for events like this. I don’t know what I was expecting but… it was more than this…
Then again, if there’s anybody to half-ass a set like this, and still get my complete respect on the pedigree of his resume alone, it’s Zaytoven. Sango, an evening Main Stage performer, also DJed, but got it right. His set made for, hands down, my favorite Culture Shock experience this year. Sango mixed trap, 2000’s top 40, 90s R&B and modern day Afrobeats to concoct something that left my jaw agape with each new sample, press of a button, or turn of a knob. As much it kills me to say it, Zay felt more like the cool guy at the party who you can trust with the aux cord. No cross fading, applause breaks between every song… But on the other hand, Sango didn’t produce “Too Much Sauce,” did he?
1:30am- The house lights turn on about a quarter of the way through Drake’s “Gyalchester.”
1:32am- Someone behind the soundboard decides to play “XO TOUR Llif3,” the newest chart climber by Philly native/Atlanta adoptee Lil Uzi Vert. This very well could be the track with the most recent release date the crowd has heard all night. The mass exodus out of the Stood is halted, as students frantically pull a 180 to get back to the stage and turn up. After the sound is forcibly shut off, a core group sings the rest of the hook a cappella, with a ferocity and fervor not displayed within the last hour. This seems like an apt analogy to end on.