First of all, a review could be done on the venue alone. If you haven’t had an opportunity to experience the Louisville Palace Theatre, you must. There is not another theatre like it around. The Palace Theatre is a 5-star experience, reminding you of finer times when folks dressed in formal dresses, tuxedos and top hats and there is not a poor seat in the house anywhere, believe me I tried. While I do have to complain about my $4 bottle of water, there is literally nothing to talk ill about in this architectural marvel.
Now, down to the Bash. Hosting the 2011 Bash were none other than Ben Davis and Kelly K from 99.7. A returning performer from last year’s event, Iyaz got the 2011 Bash kicked off right. Running out onto the floor dressed head to toe in white, shades and a gold chain around his neck, Iyaz performed a solid 20-25 minute set. His performance included his popular chart hit “Replay” as well as a couple of covers of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” and Chris Brown’s “Yeah 3x.”
The Virgin Islands native’s set could not have been complete without his latest single “Pretty Girls” which features Gym Class Heroes’ Travie McCoy. For the song, Travie snuck onto the stage and helped Iyaz bring the crowd up a notch. I already loved the pretty girl anthem, but the live performance of the popular track was even more enjoyable. Louisville was definitely glad to have Iyaz back. I do wonder though, if Iyaz struggles with the pronunciation of the city, as he repeatedly addressed the crowd as “Kentucky.”
An intermission followed Iyaz’s show and I flipped through my notes to read about the next performer, a name I was very unfamiliar with, but will likely not soon forget. I soon began to fully understand the reason for the night’s particularly young and feminine demographic. Cody Simpson is a 14-year-old Australian pop artist that seemingly does it all.
The theatre was noticeably teeming with anticipation for this young star and chants began building “Cody, Cody, Cody,” until he finally took the stage to thunderous shrieks of joy and excitement. I don’t remember seeing girls literally “swoon” over anyone in a very long time [insert 90’s boy band memories]. Here I can honestly say I had never heard of this kid before, yet girls were belting their shrill little cries at him in hopes of touching the tips of his fingers like a modern day Elvis.
It didn’t take long. After about midway through Cody’s second song, I was already very impressed by his velvety boyish love tones and suave dance moves. He had complete control over the crowd and at one point demonstrated it by raising and lowering the loudness in the room by just raising and lowering his hand.
Near the end of Cody’s set he asked to bring a lucky girl up on stage with him. A young girl was brought on the stage for Cody’s love song “Not Just You” and was actually sobbing uncontrollable tears of happiness and disbelief. I think this song in particular impressed me the most from Cody, not because of the theatrics, but rather the melody and emotion in it. Even coming from a 14-year-old boy’s mouth, it sounded like something much more mature. Step aside, Justin Bieber. There is a new talented young Padiwan in our midst. For his age, I loved Cody Simpson’s demanding stage presence and vocal ability.
After one more intermission, the headliners were preparing to take the stage. The WDJX crew came out and threw free Bash t-shirts into the crowd in the lower levels as well as the balcony. Then the stagehands came out and taped the group’s set lists to the floor and the crowd was ready to go.
Gym Class Heroes took the stage with a giant, red, white and blue “GCH” flag waving in hand. “We are Gym Class Heroes and you are beautiful,” says lead singer Travie McCoy.
Patrick Stump (frequent contributor to the production of GCH’s music) was not there Thursday night, but his recorded vocals could be heard during Gym Class Heroes’ hit songs including “Cupid’s Chokehold.”
Before playing their song “Guilty as Charged,” Travie McCoy turned the show into a 2-minute two-step dance lesson.
“I’m not the best dancer in the world, but if you’re willing to cut a little rug tonight, then I don’t mind to cut a little rug. Deal?” said Travie.
With the show’s decidedly youthful persuasion (thanks to Australian pop star Cody Simpson) I’m glad for GCH’s sake that Travie gave a quick disclaimer before their next song “Clothes Off!!”
“Now, I’m not encouraging anyone to get naked, but sometimes you just have to take your clothes off to have a good time,” said Travie.
At one point Travie told the crowd that tonight was a “family affair,” and got everyone hugging the people to their left and right.
“Now that were all family, in any family, honesty is policy. So I’m gonna ask you all a question and I want an honest answer…Louisville, KY...what would you do with a billion dollars?”
This was of course a segue into Travie’s monstrous hit “Billionaire,” which he recorded with Bruno Mars as part of his solo career.
Afterwards, Travie talked to the Palace crowd a minute about their upcoming album. Gym Class Heroes is releasing the sequel to their uber-popular Papercut Chronicles, Papercut Chronicles II on October 25th.
Travie introduced their last song of the night, which is a single off of their new album, “Stereo Hearts.” The catchy tune features Maroon 5’s lead singer Adam Lavine.
“Our hearts beat so hard for each and every one of you. We want to say thank you for buying our records and holding us down for so many years.”
The Gym Class Heroes traveled all the way from New York to cap off a successful 2011 WDJX Bash. The Palace Theatre is an amazing venue and WDJX certainly didn’t fail to bring in some more-than-noteworthy bands. The WDJX crew will be hard-pressed to top the bill for 2012. Iyaz obviously likes Louisville enough to return for a second straight year and Cody Simpson showed off some fresh, new talent. I now know to keep about a 15-foot distance from adolescent girls at a concert, thank you Cody.