Jez Dior and Packy — a couple of high-spirited, D-List rappers — warmed up the stage at A&R Music Bar last night before Aer (pronounced “air”) met the Columbus turn out during a stop on their Fresh Aer Movement tour.
The group drew a crowd no larger than 100 people last night, so it took a bit of coaxing and remixes of Rae Sremmurd’s “No Type,” by DJ Smiles, AER’s disc jockey, to get the crowd hyped. Props to DJ Smiles for being the only jockey I’ve seen who actually uses his mixer instead of just mindlessly bobbing his head and barely nudging the controls.
The small crowd warmly welcomed Aer members Carter Schultz — who rocked out on a broken foot — and David von Mering. These two high school friends from Boston looked strikingly similar to any male you would pass on the Oval. The duo sported Supreme flat bills, one in a hockey jersey and the other in a jean cut-off vest. Each had a little bit of scruff. Combined, the two guys had everything it takes to be your average college student.
But your average college student doesn’t release two albums, two EPs and two mixtapes in six years.
Schultz took the lead, showcasing his punchy flow in “She’ll Miss It,” and “Floats My Boat,” while Mering handled the hooks. Aer’s music sounds like reggae, alternative, hip hop and rap – or “West Coast Vibing,” as described by a Columbus State student next to me.
Typically, Schultz and von Mering would break out their guitars to perform “Says She Loves Me,” but due to some technical difficulties, only von Mering was able to swoon the ladies with his six-string. Technical issues popped up throughout the night with frequent microphone squeals occasionally overpowering Aer’s sound.
It was a predominantly male crowd, but after Aer wrapped up their first few songs and took a moment to introduce themselves and start a “Fresh Aer movement” chant, a giant pink bra flew past my head and landed on stage.
It was also a predominantly drunk crowd. There was one girl in particular who definitely didn’t know what state she was in last night. I left to use the restroom at one point, but before I got very far, she grabbed my arm and told me, “I’m going to write you a letter!” I’m not holding my breath on that promise.
The high volume of alcohol being consumed was very apparent when the band covered “Shout,” by The Isley Brothers. During every “Shout,” I was doused with splashes of Miller High Life from every direction. I was a bit surprised that Aer chose to cover this song because it isn’t necessarily their genre but it turned out that Schultz is not only a great rapper, but he also has a really good singing voice.
The two friends slowed it down for “Strangers,” a very reggae-sounding song off their latest EP of the same name. This song spotlighted the group’s long-haired bass player and the two vocalists’ softer sides.
A&R Music Bar was right back up to tempo when Aer rounded out their set with three of their more popular songs including, “Like the Way.”
Aer brought a solid 60-minute set to our fine city of Columbus last night, and at the rate they’re producing, I predict that it won’t be long before these guys graduate to a larger venue when they come to see us.