Dressed in black skinny jeans, a holey black-and-white striped T-shirt, white high tops and a silver hoop in each lobe, Shwayze was all smiles when greeted by his adoring Columbus fans Sunday night at The Basement.
Following a chain of fortunate events during the opening acts, I copped a spot in the very front row, and at The Basement, front row means getting hit in the face with the mic cords and flecked with spit from the charismatic performers.
So I was up close and personal for the set list, beginning with “Bolt,” accented by the chorus “I just wanna bad b—- and some bomb weed.”
Next was “Livin’ It Up,” which in the official version, is assisted by Snoop Dogg.
“What day is it even?” Shwayze — whose real name is Aaron Smith — asked the completely enamored crowd. The girl next to me who kept flipping her long hair in my face shouted (repeatedly) in reply, “Sunday fun-day!”
“This may be my favorite stop on the tour,” Shwayze said.
“Drunk Off Your Love” followed “West Coast Party,” and even though we were roughly 2,000 miles from the western edge of California, The Basement really was a party. The fans were bumping, jumping, maybe even doing a little crumping to Shwayze’s catchy lyrics.
Everyone was eager to clink their $8 beers with Shwayze’s bottle of tequila, which he described as his favorite drink. In fact, he was so fond of the effect it had on him (which he described as “shwasted”) that he wanted to share his experience with the whole crowd by offering them shots straight from the bottle.
After “Ghosts,” each band member got to showcase their skills during a song that featured Nikko Gray, a songstress with a suave R&B voice who opened for Shawyze.
The lead guitarist, bass player and drummer from the band Carlton — who also performed earlier in the night — acted as Shwayze’s band. The guitarist was a skinny little white guy with hair like Sideshow Bob from “The Simpsons” and exceptional talent. His fingers were a blur as they clipped across the strings.
Then, the guy playing the keyboard runs across the stage, jumps up and grabs one of the countless bars covering the ceiling of The Basement, hooks his legs and swings upside down, revealing his Michael Kors underwear and a torso full of tattoos. The energy was high, to say the least.
But Shwayze was just starting.
“Get U Home” was up, and that seemed to be a crowd favorite. Despite flying beer cups and elbows hitting my temples, it was impossible for me to peel my eyes away from the performers on stage. They all just looked so happy to be performing beside each other in a dim venue with subpar acoustics.
Some guy in a bad sweater and Sperry’s managed his way on stage to offer the singer some red concoction in a clear solo cup. Although he described himself as “Shmammered,” Shwayze respectfully declined the strange beverage, and the man was escorted off the stage.
The highly anticipated and expected “Corona and Lime” was up next. He was tripping a little bit over his mic cord, but Shwayze was sounding pretty good considering what his blood alcohol content might have been.
“After party?” Shwayze asked the rowdy crowd. The girl next to me with long hair screamed in lust. I thought for a second she was going to climb on stage and personally make sure Shwayze made it back to her place for a few Smirnoffs after the show.
“Buzzin’” began to play. Finally. My guess is that 75 percent of the drunk people in the audience paid $20 just to hear this one song. Well worth it, in my opinion.
By popular demand, the final song Shwayze graced Columbus with was “Love is Overrated,” which opens with the line “I just wanna f— tonight.”
Afterwards, Shwayze dropped his mic in the middle of the stage, sprayed his beer into the crowd and threw the empty bottle over his shoulder on his way out. Everybody went crazy.
He can do no wrong.