Live in NYC: Kid Cudi, Best Coast, Vampire Weekend

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Rostam, Kid Cudi, Best Coast / Photo by Diana Levine/dianalevine.com
WRITTEN BY
William Goodman

Tuesday night Kid Cudi, Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino, and Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij performed together at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and the Cleveland rapper proved he was the loudest, proudest, and by far the most entertaining.

The occasion was Converse's hotly-tipped party featuring the first live performance of "All Summer," the trio's collabo for the shoe company's "Three Artists, One Song" venture. Hear it here.

Kanye West protégé Cudi blasted onstage with all the bombast and talent of his mentor, and debuted a suite of tracks off his September 14 album, Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager, accompanied by a DJ.

"I'm a little nervous to play these new jams," he confessed, holding a Heineken high above his head after performing "REVOFEV." "Hold on. I need a drink. Where's my Jameson?"

He then broke into "Erase Me," with its catchy chorus full of sampled arena-sized rock guitars. "I wish we could start over," he sang-rapped. "I told my baby / And this is what the bitch told me / I keep running / I keep ducking / I miss you." Afterward he sparked a joint and said, "Damn, that sounded fresh as hell. I feel good about that."

Cudi said of the Kanye-produced "Mr. Rager": [The track] is very important to me... it made me switch the whole theme on my album. It was time to show off another side of me -- a side that's more aggressive." The dark soul jam featured sinister electro flourishes, clacking percussion, and a repeated hook about partying too much -- "Mr. Raaggggeeerrrrrrrrrrrr" -- that could find its way into the heads of rap fans worldwide.

Best Coast was no Cudi, but that's not to say the Los Angeles surf-rock band's set was a letdown. The three-piece group, led by Cosentino, played songs off their excellent debut full-length, Crazy for You, including highlights "Boyfriend" and its title track, a girl-group inspired surf romp in which she cheekily laments a lost love, singing that not even smoking weed and watching TV can fix her heartbreak. "I wish my cat could talk," she sang.

The 40-minute set was Best Coast's second show with Ali Koehler, former drummer for Vivian Girls (who one fan said looked like the lovechild of Cosentino and longhaired guitarist-bassist Bobb Bruno. Which is 92 percent accurate). Her addition brought heaps of energy to standouts like "I Want To," which would fit nicely in a contemporary version of Grease, and a cover of Lesley Gore's 1964 teen-pop hit "That's the Way Boys Are."

On the other end of the spectrum was VW's Rostam Batmanglij, who seemed a bit lethargic as he DJd, dropping remixes of Lykke Li ("Dance, Dance, Dance") and Fugees tracks ("Killing Me Softly"). He chatted up two ladies who made their way onstage, and only occasionally tapped his laptop to change-up his playlist.

The night ended with the performance of "All Summer." Cosentino's voice was off-key, Batmanglij fumbled with his guitar, and Cudi rambled. It was a long night and as the trio struggled with technical difficulties, the rapper summed it up best: "We're such stoners we can't even figure this shit out."

WATCH: Kid Cudi, Best Coast & Rostam, "All Summer (Live)"

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