Big Sean, Machine Gun Kelly & More Party at LA Coliseum
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was home to Pandora’s 5th Annual Sounds Like You: Summer party downtown Saturday, headlined by Detroit rapper Big Sean, and included performances from Machine Gun Kelly, DJ Mustard, Noah Cyrus, Starley, PrettyMuch, hosted by Kat Graham. The landmark venue brought together an all-ages crowd for a mix of mostly hip-hop and pop music all from one of music-tech’s giants Pandora, which offered an extra special activation for fans while promoting music discovery through their Pandora Premium streaming service. Attendees could shoot selfies, stories and Snapchat their friends alongside life-size popsicles and pineapple rafts but things got really engaging when fans could select their favorite song of the summer as well as create their own playlist, and then enjoy temporary spray tattoos or custom spray-painted trucker hats.
Pop star, actress and host Kat Graham kicked off the event where she debuted her single “Sometimes.” The festivities continued with new Simon Cowell boy band PrettyMuch’s first-ever show with new single “Would You Mind” while UK diva Starley impressed with her dance smash, “Call On Me.” Noah Cyrus delighted with an eclectic set that included her anthemic “Nothing Lasts Forever,” a rockin’ cover of BORNS’ “Electric Love” and finally her Labrinth-featuring down-tempo hit “Make Me (Cry)”. LA’s DJ Mustard kept things shaking at a separate stage at the center of the Coliseum, attracting spectators from every direction for a blend of old-school hip-hop and new smashes, including Black Sheep’s “The Choice Is Yours,” Tupac’s “California Love,” Busta Rhymes’ “Pass The Courvoisier” as well as Fat Joe, Remy Ma & French Montana’s “All The Way Up,’ Young M.A.’s “OOOUUU,” Bruno Mars’ “24k Magic” and others from The Weeknd and Drake.
Cleveland mastermind Machine Gun Kelly delivered a thrilling set opening with “Bad Mother F*cker,” with his hands up to the crowd and smoke machines blasting. MGK greeted his fans, “When I’m on the microphone, just know I am the alpha and I am the omega” before jumping into his tune “Alpha and Omega” followed by “Golden God.” One of the most impressive elements of MGK’s show is that he’s able to appeal to a pop-centric audience while also serving his core with true hip-hop. He grabbed the guitar on “At My Best” (which features Hailee Steinfeld) and later impressed on “Bad Things, the smash that features Camila Cabello. Machine Gun Kelly made the crowd move during “Trap Paris” and his voice sounded particularly pure on the rock-leaning “Let You Go.” But all the feels definitely came from a brief speech about life and loss – which was an implied tribute to Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, though it wasn’t stated prior to Kelly’s reflective “Kiss The Sky,” Kelly told his fans “I gotta say man, I learned a lot of sh*t in the past week, from losing somebody that meant a lot not just to me but to the world. And I just want to say, dude, take a second in this chaotic life that you have to like look up and just see we’re outside listening to music from people that put their hearts into it. I hope you all grow up and become great, I hope you are great, I dunno man, celebrate life.”
Hip-hop hitmaker Big Sean took the marquee bill for the night, with fans rushing the stage to get close to Sean’s “Moves” opening with a full band lofted on a platform behind a massive screen. Sean’s set was both energetic and aggressive but also hopeful, as the rapper donned black-and-white peace-sign pants and took a moment during his signature ballad “One Man Can Change The World” speaking like a role model: “What true success is is when you’re moving in the right direction in your life.” Sean worked the stage with confidence and swagger during “Clique” as well as new track “Jump Out The Window” before giving a shout out to Pandora for hosting the event. Big Sean continued with the Kanye West-featured “All Your Fault” followed by the Chris Brown-assisted “My Last” and then the Lil Wayne and Jhene Aiko-assisted positive song “Beware,” which was a highlight. The energy turned up a notch for “Dance (A$$)” while the crowd sang along in unison to “Skateboard P.” The pyro got explosive with a booming beat during “All Me” (Drake’s song, also with 2 Chainz). When “I Don’t Like” smashed the sound system, the fans were hypnotized, water bottles strewn about. “Blessings” followed by “Sacrifices” solidified a set of huge hits and monster collaborations with two of Big Sean’s most inspiring verses. Sean closed “Sacrifices” with a few bars with no beats and just a cappella, to roaring applause. “I Don’t F*ck With You” concluded the set with more pyro surprises and “Bounce Back” was certainly another standout moment of the night.
Music aside, brands present really stepped up with activations that were engaging and experiential (and even functional) for a one-day mini-festival, with refillable bottles and a water pumping station from Chevron’s ExtraMile. Gushers and Fruit by the Foot offered slides and gummies, Spectrum had a hot tub ball pit with palm trees and beach balls, Always showcased a #LikeAGirl graffiti wall and photo backdrop and K12 offered totes bags with USBs.