Aspiring rapper and Britney Spears barnacle Kevin Federline played his first New York show this weekend — it kicked off the tour promoting his self-released debut, Playing With Fire — and Webster Hall Saturday night was a curious sight indeed.
An informal survey of the crowd yielded a foursome who confessed that they were friends of K-Fed’s manager and had gotten free tickets; two judgment-reserving girls who also had free tickets, which they’d won from TRL; a priceless foreign couple who admitted they’d first heard of Kevin Federline “this day”; and one couple with mixed intentions. (She: “I’m not a fan, just really into the tabloids!” He, glumly: “My girlfriend made me come.”) And though the venue may have been sorely undersold — estimates put the sparse crowd around 250, a sixth of the Webster Hall’s capacity — the impenetrable bunch of hopped-up fans pressed against the stage were an undeniably ecstatic bunch packed five rows deep.
A posse of enthusiastic NYU types, including a pair of Roxy boys with matching bandanas tied around their necks, raised a ruckus on a too small riser at the left of the stage, nubile girls clad in their best strip-mall formalwear gyrated in front of appreciative dates, and more than one pair of drunken-secretary types careened wildly toward the stage upon entering mid-set. Their energy was palpable and — we hate to say — surprisingly infectious. Judging by the screams incited every time K-Fed did, well, just about anything, we’d say it was one of the more hyperactive, scrappy little crowds in recent Webster Hall history, ironic or no. Most remarkably, no one in attendance seemed to mind that the show clocked in at around a half hour — just under a dollar per minute, in ticket-price terms.
Fewer insights were gained from K-Fed’s actual performance, during which, flanked by a D.J., a fellow MC, and two writhing dancers, he revealed various likes and dislikes. (Good: New York City, Hennessy Privilege, his family, his Nikes, K-Fed, and wearing one’s hat “a little to the side”; bad: the media, haters, the magazines, the media, and the media.) The reviled media wasn’t permitted in the VIP section, naturally, so it was hard for us to ascertain whether a certain blonde pop tart was in attendance. Best we could tell, she was nowhere to be seen.
— Sara Cardace