Image Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage.comWhen Pharrell Williams, Shae Haley, and Chad Hugo—who together form N.E.R.D.—hit The Fillmore’s stage in downtown Manhattan last night, their geeked up fans knew exactly what to do: raise their hands and give the Vulcan salute. A self-proclaimed Trekkie, Williams is the head of Star Trak records. Relaxed, in a back fitted cap, white t-shirt, and jeans, Williams calmly returned the greeting. That was the only time Pharrell stood still.
The show kicked off with “Kill Joy,” their maddening single from 2008’s Seeing Sounds. From then on, Williams and Haley wildly traded verses on cult classics like “Spaz,” “She Wants to Move,” “Everyone Nose,” and “Hot N Fun,” the new single from their forthcoming album, Nothing. When he wasn’t rapping, Pharrell was dancing. Arms flailing and legs kicking, his moves looked like rhythmic seizures. But there, at a punk-rock-meets-hip-hop show, they worked.
The crowd enjoyed and matched his energy, creating several mosh pits as cuts like the rebellious “Rock Star” ripped through the speakers. Eventually Williams slowed it down to sing dreary ballads. “Maybe” showcased his trademark falsetto. Next was “Sooner or Later,” which the fans belted out good portion of.
Before closing the show, Williams announced that a good friend of the group’s just had their first child. “N.E.R.D. makes baby-making music,” he said. And then he suggested that the following song was what the new born was conceived to. The track was the strip club rock anthem “Lapdance.” Nasty, right?
“All jokes aside,” Pharrell said in closing, “this was the raddest show ever.” It sure was.
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