N*E*R*D: Boston Axis

Kelis joins N*E*R*D during their debut live performance...

If there was ever a time to test Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame theory, this is it. Because a slot in Boston’s annual FNX-Radio ‘Best Music Poll’ is not only the first live performance by the most wanted producers in music today, a.k.a. N*E*R*D, a.k.a. The Neptunes – Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams, and co – but it is[/I] 15 minutes. Literally. If that…

So when the men who put the shake in Mystikal‘s ‘Shake Ya Ass’, the sugar in Beenie Man’s ‘Girls Dem Sugar’, and Kelis in Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s ‘Got Your Money’, take to the stage they have a reputation to uphold, especially because the forthcoming album, ‘In Search Of…’ sounds like a collection of disregarded b-sides and outtakes of their A-list work. Could the Backstreet Boys, Michael and Janet Jackson, *NSYNC, and U2 be wrong? Hell no.

The Neptunes know how to produce – it takes no more than one look at Williams in his mesh hat, slinging free beers into the crowd, half rapping, half high-pitched crooning, and rolling his BMX over the stage and Hugo’s tightly tuned bump, ‘Rock Star-Poser’, to see that. So while studio and

programming wizards for sure, Williams and guest rapper Lee Harvey aren’t the most confident or credible of MC’s. But, at least N*E*R*D has enough sense to work they have into the production. After another round of beers are dispensed, Williams bring out an unfamiliarly-tame-haired surprise

guest, Kelis, to add her high-tint talent to ‘Truth Or Dare’. Oh, and to keep things up, the band has a legion of ‘dancers’ in thongs and G.W. Bush Jr. masks just waiting to hear the first “Ooohbabyouwanme?” drop us into the single, ‘Lapdance’. What, someone was rapping?!

Whether or not N*E*R*D’s fifteen minutes are up is not really the issue, it’s whether they used every second of it. And they did. Time and talent are clearly on their side. Screw Andy Warhol and his 15 minutes. Let’s just try to get them back in the studio as soon as possible. We’ve all heard what they did with four minutes. Everybody: [I]”shake ya ass, show me what you’re working with”[/I].

Ben Wolford