This past Saturday in Columbus, the actual temperature was 91 degrees, but it seemed as if the heat index was knocking on the doorstep of triple digits. However, that wasn't enough to keep the masses from attending The 3rd Annual Summer Jam 614, which was presented by Elevator Music and hosted by King 7even of The Usual Suspects. Water bottles, sweat towels and makeshift fans were the regalia of the evening as attendees tried to keep cool under the big tent outside of Icon.
As promised, there were two performance areas: the main stage outside under the tent and another area inside the much cooler confines of Icon where other artists had their time to shine.
The crowd was starting to fill in gradually as artists like Nate, Catalyst and C-10 of Omnibreed performed. Catalyst tested out a new song produced by Iyeball of Fly.Union and C-10 became so active during his set that his cell phone fell from its holster to the ground. B-Banga, who has produced songs for the likes of Cam'ron and Gucci Mane is now taking a stab at rapping, performing what he referred to as "Grown Sh*t". James John made the trip down from Cleveland and joked his way through a slew of technical of difficulties, giving commentary on the weather and the Columbus Clippers. He took to delivering his flows acapella before the issue was finally remedied. Keilyn, another out-of-towner from Youngstown followed with a short set of his own.
Nes Wordz & Philly P along with A.U. took to the stage, providing the crowd with one of a handful of high energy performances of the night. After making an entrance to the opening track from Jay-Z's The Dynasty: Roc La Familia album, Fabrashay A kicked a few flows and closed out his set with "Lil Penny" from The Art Show. Danielle (or Ella Starr, if you prefer) switched up the tempo of the show as she belted out "I Got It" and "Word Play" while being backed by live instrumentation from Carpe Diem and Selah. Before J. Osceola made his way to the stage, Bufalo Pete showed just why he is one of the best hype men in Columbus as his loud, boisterous voice commanded the attention of the crowd prior to J. Dot hitting the crowd with "Billion Dollar Dreams", "Now You Know" and "You Can't Stop Me". Someone in the audience challenged him to do some push-ups on stage and much to the chagrin of the demanding concertgoer, he obliged.
Carpe Diem gave way to The Liquid Crystal Project who served as the backing band for the soulful Renee Dion who trotted onto to the stage to the sounds of Lost Boyz' "Renee" just before going crooning numbers like the catchy "Slow Down". She even took a moment to speak on the passing of Amy Winehouse and urged the audience to not keep anything inside and to give away their art, her main point being "If you have something to say...say it". P. Blackk made his presence felt with a song from his upcoming Blackk Friday project and the popular "Concorde Rollin" as well.
Young Wise and the Take Over Gang literally mobbed the stage for a set that also featured Demari and YG. Blaze and Debonair performed a gang of songs in their own right, both together and individually. Toward the end of Debonair's set, a violin player, identified as Adrian, emerged on the left side of the stage and drew a few notes to go along with the song. Searius Add, Sinatra, Trek Manifest & Snow (collectively known as Exec Gang) came out with an enormous amount of energy and performed several songs include "Who You Gone Find" and "Wut Dey Know". Lima transplant, Hodgie Street held the stage down on his own before letting everyone know just how "Dope" he is and what he be smokin' on. His set included appearances from A.U. and Rashad. P.A. Flex from The 3rd formally introduced the man he called Godbody Shaddy and he performed his Guy-sampling "Jam! (That's My Sh*t)" and mentioned his upcoming album, Museum. The other members of The 3rd soon grabbed their mics and Co City, Blaksmif and P.A. Flex went to work.
Around this time, it started to rain and water was leaking through the tent, but the show continued. J. Rawls got on the wheels for L.e.for the Uncool's set but there were a few problems with feedback. It was later determined that the problems were being caused by the storm, which now included thunder and lightning. Fly.Union declined to go on stage and soon thereafter 7even announced that the show had been called due to the weather and advised everyone to go inside for the afterparty.
Just as in the years past, Summer Jam 614 was a great platform to expose some of the city's best artists to a large group of people that may have never heard of them before. By no means does is the Summer Jam 614 lineup indicative of these being the ONLY talented artists in the city, as that would be ridiculous. But it does give some sense of the variety of performers the town has to offer. It was refreshing to see such a large group of music lovers and partygoers come together without the report of any major incident.
A blurb on the official website of SJ2011 read: "A night for B-boys, soul singers and emcees; djs, photographers and bloggers alike to congregate, celebrate and build". Most of the people in attendance would say that came to fruition, as a Who's Who of Columbus was definitely in the house. One can only wonder what Elevator Music will have in store for next year.