By Jack M. Angelo, managing editor
Concerts are difficult to produce. There are so many technical aspects that can go poorly. From the sound to the lighting to the security, the logistics of a concert are complicated. So many different parties with different backgrounds come together to create what should theoretically be a seamless entertainment experience for the audience. Beyond booking the headliner however, the actual layout of the night should be set and ready to run. Set times are easy to make. Give each artist more time than the last, and allow enough time to set up each artist in between. If there is no need for set up time, don’t have much, and keep the show rolling smoothly. Book the openers. If the headliner did not come with their own, then source some locally. This should not be the difficult part of putting on the show.
Unfortunately, it often seems from the audience’s perspective that the organization of the performers and their set times is a total mess. Whose fault this is often is impossible to know, and comes down to a myriad of factors. Most often, this confusion comes in the form of miscommunication between the venue, the performers, and the audience about the evening’s proceedings. This seemed to be the case for the very lightly attended Tokyo Jetz show at MilkBoy ArtHouse in College Park, Md. on April 7, 2019.
A slew of opening acts is rarely a good sign for an audience’s attention span. The handful of openers, some who were listed on the bill, and some who were not, went from eight p.m., when the show was slated to start, to about 10:45 when Tokyo Jetz eventually performed. Some of the openers were quality acts, like highlight Krystal Maria, whose energy and crowd (or lack thereof) work pumped some livelihood into the show. Even she, however, was not immune to bringing up a few of her associates to do some songs, lending further to the haphazard nature of the night.
A long break followed Krystal Maria, after which a DJ came to the stage and introduced Noell and Milano, two women who were not billed on the event, and who each performed a few songs. Noell brought remixes and some original R&B tracks, slowing down the vibe of the evening to a sexy, sensual pace. Milano turned the tempo back up with some incredibly ratchet twerking anthems, even bringing audience members on stage to dance with her. The DJ and Milano seemed to imply with their “Are you guys ready for Tokyo Jetz?” that she was up next, but this was not the case.
Instead of the headliner, now nearly two hours into the show, the final listed opener, Inas X, took the stage. The audience seemed unhappy with this, as they were expecting the headliner after all this time. The audience paid little attention, and many even spread out across the mostly empty room during the set. Inas X may have been aware of this, and despite having a fully choreographed set complete with two backup dancers, she seemed to rush through her set to finish the evening without upsetting too many people.
After the longest break of the night, Tokyo Jetz’s DJ came on stage and played random songs for nearly 30 minutes before Tokyo Jetz finally came out. Toward the end of the DJ’s time, much of the audience was visibly irritated, and even the staff seemed to laugh at the broken promises of the headliner about to come out. When Tokyo finally arrived all 40-50 people in the room gathered at the front, and rocked out to her whole set. The audience had saved their energy for the headliner, and acted as though nothing bad had happened throughout the whole night during her set.
Tokyo Jetz commanded the crowd easily, and showed gratitude for those who were there, instead of disappointment at the crowd size. She took time to motivate the crowd, specifically the females in the audience, reminding them that they “do not need a nigga for a fuck thing.” The women in the audience clearly agreed with this sentiment, according to their loud cheers at this proclamation.
When Tokyo Jetz performed her most popular song “No Problem” at the end of the evening, the audience did the entire chorus a capella without her, showing the dedication her fans have to the music. Another thing that proves these fans are hardcore is just how long they waited to see her. At the end of the night, it almost seemed like the majority of the audience had meet and greet passes, which cost four times the price of a regular ticket. Tokyo Jetz should be proud of her fans and herself. She is a talented rapper with a lot of passion in her following. However, it might be nice if she came out a bit sooner.