Flatbush Zombie Photos by Julia Schur
Words by Jeff Lockhart & Ben Sherak
The vibe in Red Hook Tuesday, June 4th was indescribable. The Underachievers and The Flatbush Zombies turned the park into a war zone (complete with thick, blinding “fog” spreading across the field) for the approximate hour they conquered the stage. Moshes, stage dives, reckless activity–if you name it, it probably happened at this concert. Although it was wild, the love and aforementioned friendly fumes were in the air. For the two Brooklyn-bred groups, the concert felt like the most fitting of homecomings, one fraught with the endearing nihilism that composes their quickly-ascending styles.
The Underachievers took the stage around 7 PM, and got the energy rolling, performing tracks from their debut tape Indigoism. They also performed a new track that will be featured on their upcoming project. This show meant a lot to Ak and Issa: it was their first chance to rock in the borough that raised them. To celebrate that, they performed “New New York,” a track they had never done live before. The energy reached its peak, though when the UA performed their hard-hitting weed anthem “Herb Shuttles.”
After a brief intermission, a familiar voice began to screech out an a-capella, and avid fans, recognizing who they were hearing, turned their briefly-lost attention to the still-empty stage. A moment more of buzzing and mild crowd confusion passed before a very animated Zombie Juice stormed the stage, finished his double-time verse and did his signature WWF-esque intro for his fellow Zombies. When Meech and Eric Arc Elliott joined him on stage, the trio wasted no time getting into their set. They started off with “Mraz”, one of their tightest songs, so immediately the crowd was engaged. As they reminded the audience, it is important to note that the Zombies had just gotten back from a 24 hour plane ride from Australia the previous night, and they were still giving the loyal crowd their all. Meech expressed how happy he was to be back home, saying “I could kiss the fucking soil right now,” which led to rabid applause. Towards the end of the show, the Zombies got down with a new track from their upcoming project Better Off Dead which was very well received, and indicated that the upcoming project would not stray from the FBZ formula. (A side note: though he’s easily the least recognizable or celebrated member of the group, Eric Arc Elliott proved to be an extremely energetic, valuable performer, a presence that was easy to connect to.)
The fact that they were blessed with an unreleased joint raised the stakes a bit, but what really gave the night a special feel was that, in the middle of their set, the Zombies brought out Remy Banks, A$AP Ant, and Bodega BAMZ to perform “3Flips6,” “Thrilla,” and “Balth Salt.” Thanks to sound problems, though, the set almost ended with the crowd haphazardly and half-proficiently chanting Meech’s opening bars to the A$AP Mob / Flatbush Zombie collaboration. Luckily, after about ten minutes of fretting and tinkering, “Bath Salts” blared back on, followed by the two other smashes that had been absent from the set: “Thug Waffle,” and “S.C.O.S.A.” The momentous, rollicking night closed with Meech’s infamous saying “Open Your Fucking Mind.” He’s right to repeat it; open minds are what allowed for groups as weird and downright disgusting sounding as the Zombies or as fashion-centric and eclectic as the A$AP Mob to reach the heights they have. Salute to the Zombies, A$AP, and The Underachievers for putting on a great free show.