Give Miamians free beer and they’ll do just about anything. Pharrell and the boys from N.E.R.D learned this firsthand when they peformed at the Paper Magazine AOL & Friends With You party held in the Design District during Art Basel.
And like most things going on around town, this concert had its own unique, creative touches.
Dubbed "Rainbow City", the grassy area off of 39th Ave. and First Street was transformed into a lot of colorful bouncy houses where many patrons had a blast reliving their childhoods jumping about.
After all the bouncing, most were thirsty. Lucky for them there was an open bar at the hard-to-get-into affair (guests had to sign up on the internet via an RSVP list) that served free Heineken.
Sadly, our slight buzz couldn't hide the mic problems ( Pharrell's voice went from semi-loud to just right during most of the performance.) Nevertheless, it was an energetic setlist which included some of N.E.R.D’s biggest hits - Backseat Love, Hypnotize You and Lap Dance.
The best part of the night (for the ladies, at least) was seeing Pharrell sex it up onstage. His suggestive moves were crowdpleasers, to put it mildly. The Frontin' singer even unveiled his nice side when he brought an unruly fan onstage after security had kicked him out. "Yo, bring him back in here,'' he yelled. "This is friends with you, not enemies!.''
Blame it on the beers, but when Pharrell told everyone mid-performance to squat to their knees, we did - grass stains and all. He taught us it's a lot harder to squat down then jump up, especially when you're double fisting beers.
Spotted dancing in the crowd: Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell and his Married to Rock wife, and Etty along with celeb shoe man Christian Louboutin.
Perry - who performed later that night at Bardot - left Art Basel almost emptyhanded.
"I came down here with dough and I really thought I was going to buy all this artwork but when I came the first thing I saw was something I could never afford,'' he said. "My heart really started to shrink.''
He and his wife just bought a new house in Santa Monica and "there's nothing on the walls,'' he exclaimed. "I had the intention of buying a lot, but the things that I saw, I was only able to afford one or two things.''
Even rock stars have to watch their wallets - especially in this economy. "It's tough, even for me. I think I'm a big shot, but I'm really not.''
Photo: Patrick McMullan