Story by Melody Caraballo Photos by Conni Mallchok
Minutes after Armani XXXChange (Alex Upton) pleaded with a half-cocked smile, "If there's an MC named Spank Rock in the building, could he please get on stage," Spank was spotted smiling coyly in a pit of girls laying attention on him like aunts pulling the cheeks of the family's newborn boy. Surrounded by his adoring midriffed fans and squaring his baby face dead on with the flashing cameras, the rump-rousing MC hit the stage in a series of sexy, quasi-break poses. Then grabbing his shortened mic stand and popping like a cork to get the party started, XXXChange's beats slammed and just like that, the warm-up was complete.
Where starting a show more than an hour late would usually be the death of a performance, Naeem "Spank Rock" Juwan charms the crowd into moving in a way unseen in the Mercury Lounge's recent cross-armed history. Their synergistic blend of booty bass, electro, hip-hop, and funk, make asses shake with ease. Grinning goofily and sliding across the stage like James Brown, Spank Rock's hormonally charged silliness and exploitive lyrics somehow don't offend - even when spitting rhymes on songs with titles like "Put That Pussy On Me" and "Coke & Wet."
Who doesn't want to get down and have a nasty, dirty time? Not anyone at the show that night. In fact, as he was prone to do, Naeem turned the back of his rail-thin frame to the crowd and popped out his booty for what one female felt was a bit too long, smacking him straight on his tight-jeaned ass.
Just when things were peaking, a lithe white girl in a blue leather skirt is pulled onto stage to rhyme and roll. Amanda Blank tips the crowd overboard the pulsing, pumping, and pussy-poppin' party boat, while rhyming fast and smooth on "Bump." Even the accompanying DJs - who have been holdin' it down throughout - get hands up in the air and Naeem feeds obviously off her energy. The vibe is hedonistic as the show closes out, audience and artists dance together onstage, people fall off but continue dancing while on their backs, old-school songs blast nostalgic: "Face down, ass up, that's the way we like to fuck." Amidst all the sexual energy and buzzing laughter, Mercury Lounge turned from indie-rock venue to a B-more booty bassment. Quite simply, Spank rock and they don't stop.