L.A. Live played host to a hip hop-meets-dance pop mash-up Monday night, with Britney Spears on one side of the street and Kid Cudi on the other.
Outside Staples, hyped-up teeny-boppers and buzzed cougars frantically trolled the sidewalk in a pre-Brintey Spears parade. But on the north side of the street, Cudi's fans rolled up slowly, pre-partied and chill. One girl heading towards Staples even shrieked and then whined with a pouty face when she caught the name on the Nokia marquee, "OH NO! Kid Cudi's over there tonight!?" Girl was right to be pouty. Kid Cudi threw it down for every drunk college girl, spiky heeled diva, white dude in a Von Dutch tee, and brother with square-framed Kanye glasses.
Yes, the Kanye glasses. And there was the Kanye buzz. But if the absent, partially-expected presence of Kanye West hung over the crowd early (West says Cudi is his favorite artist and he regularly shows up at his gigs), it was gone by the show's halfway point, when - restless and hampered by technical problems in his headset - Cudi took the show back from Nokia's sterilized sound system. With the crew in the wings trying to fix his ear piece problem, Cudi just ripped the gear off his back, rolled up his shirt sleeves and grabbed the mic, "Fuck this technology shit." With that, Cudi lit it up and the show got beastly loud, with slamming bass and full, buzzy feedback (in its properly done way). "I can't hear y'all with this shit in my ears. I'm gonna do this shit like back when I played for five people in a room."