It was a gorgeous but windy 88 degrees in George, WA for KUBE 93’s annual Summer Jam, which made it’s second consecutive return trip to the Columbia River Gorge, after a nine-year stint at Auburn’s White River Amphitheatre this Saturday. By mid-afternoon, the grounds were thronged with the gathering mass of bikini top/booty shorts-clad females and tank-topped/tattooed males, who ambled past the abundant on-premises “streetwear” vendors and “entertainment company” CD hustlers to the main stage.
Though his set started just after 6pm and was finished well before sundown, 2 Chainz was the overwhelming people’s choice, getting nearly the entire hillside to “turn up” to his catalog of hits (or at least ones he’s featured on) about, well, “turning up.” He rolled out a set list consisting of Kanye West’s “Mercy,” Nicki Minaj’s “Beez In the Trap,” and Juicy J’s “Bandz A Make Her Dance,” in addition to solo crowd favorites like “Birthday Song,” “No Lie” and “I’m Different” (there was a measure of irony in seeing thousands of radio listeners singing along to this ).
The ever-prevalent, 808s/hi-hat-laden “trap” beats from premier producers like Mike Will, Drumma Boy and Sonny Digital got nearly the entire hillside to do that dance – arms bent, fist balled skyward, pumping up and down to the beat – going ham in broad daylight. “Can I get a ‘rest in peace?’..” 2 Chainz bellowed. “To this stage! ‘Cuz I’m killing this!”
Between sets, KUBE DJs worked the crowd, highlights of past Summer Jam performances flashed on the big screen, crowd members flashed the DJs, a brief twerking contest occurred, members of the Seahawks made an appearance, and hometown hero Macklemore (who’s hosting duties were mostly limited to introducing the next act) joked with the crowd.
“I hope all the white people have sunscreen on,” the white rapper said. “I see some of y’all looking like salmon out there.”
While Trey Songz’ set of sexed-up, “for the ladies” R&B crooning literally got them screaming, the amphitheater started emptying out gradually from there. Going back to the undoubtedly raucous campground seemed to be a better option to most than sticking around for Southern rap vet T.I.’s set of old-album classics (“Rubberband Man,” “24s,” “You Don’t Know Me”) and new-song-remix features (Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “N****s In Paris,” the aforementioned “Bugatti”/“All Gold Everything,” Rihanna’s “Pour It Up,”) at that point, and they were probably right.
As was made apparent throughout the day, for most attendees, Summer Jam is all about the “turn up,” the music is just an added bonus.