Vitamin Water puts on successful surprise concert in Philadelphia



Cory Serfoss

Jhene Aiko, Ty Dolla Sign, Vitamin Water and Fader Magazine. What do all of these things have in common? Vitamin Water and Fader Magazine’s “Uncapped” series of surprise concerts. 

The concept is simple: take artists that are popular right now and have them perform at a venue where they can have an intimate performance, which gives the everyday concert–goer an experience he or she would otherwise never have.

For me, this concert came at the perfect time.  After classes, a difficult track practice and suffering from the terrible cold going around school, I needed an escape.

Seeing as the week only just started, it was a tough Tuesday to say the least. But after I got a text about a free secret concert with Souled Out star Jhene Aiko and the up–and–coming Taylor Gang artist Ty Dolla Sign, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. 

The concert was in a beautiful venue called the Skybox Event Center in North Philadelphia. Keeping branding minimal was the furthest thing from Fader’s minds. As soon as you walked in you were confronted by rows of Fader Magazines, featuring Nicki Minaj and artist Adam Bainbridge. 

As a little side note, I always thought Fader Magazine had the best artist spreads and covers. 

After you walked in, to your right was a photo booth which plastered the pictures it took on a jumbotron for all to see. There was also a line of people waiting for shirts created made–to–order with whatever artist’s name you want printed across the skyline of Philadelphia, in either black or blue. 

And if these two perks weren’t enough, Vitamin Water in every flavor was being served, along with its newest unreleased soda, which, between you and me, probably needs some more tweaking before being put on shelves. It was reminiscent of sweet and low without the sweet.

The highlights of the event were, of course, the performances. Ty Dolla Sign came out to “Lord Knows,” one of his more popular hits off of his newest mix tape, “Sign Language.” Before this concert, I was not much of a fan. 

But being the trendy hip-hop listener I am, I have heard some of his most popular hits like “Paranoid.” While Ty Dolla Sign was crooning, I couldn’t help but think how much he is like a contemporary Keith Sweat armed with inappropriate jokes. After him was the headliner of the show,  Jhene Aiko, who reminded us just why her album was number two in the country. 

Soulful as ever, Aiko shared powerful words of advice and stories serving as preludes to her already–intimate songs, which when mixed with such an intimate space might as well have been in a private room. I digress, Her voice was powerful, resonating with the band perfectly. The way she talked to the crowd was so organic you couldn’t help but feel like you knew her personally. She got noticeably comfortable too.  After three songs, she had gone from being fully clothed to donning only a bra, some Princess Jasmine-esque swooshy pants, no socks and a funky looking square carpet–paisley print.

Needless to say, the concert was amazing. While I’d never pass up on a chance to experience Jhene Aiko sing to me in the most intimate space possible, Vitamin Water and Fader Magazine put on a spectacular show. 

With all of these activities surrounding the array of live shows, it brought forth a new way of listening to the perfunctory concert foray——a nod to American politics, I like to call it a democratic listening session.