Yesterday (9 April), James Blake announced that ‘BoysDontCry’ would join his 1-800 Dinosaur UK ‘road trip’, the line-up of which also included Trim, Klaus, Airhead, Dan Foat and Mr Assister. Last night was the first of the three date tour, which took place at Bristol’s Lakota club. This is what happened.
Blake posts the message “To be frank we are announcing BOYSDONTCRY to the line up for the 1-800 Road Trip – kicking off in Bristol this evening at Lakota” on Instagram. In Ocean’s announcement of a new album and magazine a few days earlier, it’s suggested that either one of both of the projects will be called BoysDontCry. Strong rumours are flying around that Frank Ocean will be joining 1-800 Dinosaur on their UK road trip and the story goes viral.
Trim retweets a link to a Pitchfork news article originally titled ‘James Blake and Frank Ocean Are Touring Together,’ which says that Frank Ocean will be the special guest of the road trip.
The promoter of the Bristol event announces that it has sold out. “Set times will not be posted in advance,” the message says.
James Blake tweets: “Dear Music Bloggers – it’s a club night. Not a live gig.” The tweet has since been deleted.
Around 20 minutes before the event is about to begin, Blake posts the following message on Facebook:
“As previously said earlier today, Frank and I are not performing live or on tour – we’re on a 1-800 DINOSAUR road trip, putting on club nights and documenting the weekend for the BoysDontCry Magazine. Blog that, as that’s the correct information.”
Ticket holders are queuing for around half an hour to get inside the venue.
Airhead is performing.
Trim appears on stage, addressing the crowd on the mic.
James Blake comes on stage.
James Blake and Trim are performing together. Blake’s track selection is erratic, abruptly jumping from genre to genre. The set includes As by Stevie Wonder, Sizzla’s Run Out Pon Dem and some of his own tracks, including CMYK. A woman is stood on the stage and is filming the set. People seem to be hoping for Frank.
OK, so we’ve had few beers by this point, but we’re pretty sure Blake has mixed a 4/4 techno track into D’Angelo’s One Mo’ Gin. People hoping to see Frank soon.
Blake plays another soul track. People are still hoping to see Frank.
Having been relatively quiet for a while, Trim takes centre stage. The tone of the music changes, and it feels like something is happening. He shouts out the 1-800 roster, declaring ‘We’ve got Frank’ to rapturous response from the crowd. He the says that he’s going to give us ‘five minutes of grime’. Those five minutes become around twenty five minutes. During this medley of grime tracks, the crowd go wild and a moshpit breaks out in the front. “Bristol, you are fucking nang!”, Trim declares.
People genuinely believe that they’re going to see Frank at this point.
Klaus arrives onstage and begins his set. Members of the 1-800 Dinosaur entourage are up on stage. Klaus’ set steers towards jungle and old school drum n bass. Besides those on stage, there’s not too many people in the venue who look like they’re enjoying themselves at this point.
The music ends. The crowd are booing.
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At the time of writing, neither Blake or any other artists on the 1-800 Dinosaur road trip involved have publicly acknowledged the fact that a lot of people were left feeling seriously disappointed last night. The atmosphere was one of mass frustration and, to be honest, Blake’s set was a shambles.
Blake’s comments on social media following the announcement of BoysDontCry seemed like an attempt to wash his hands of any responsibility for this. But the reality is that many tickets were sold because people were very much led to believe that Frank Ocean would appear at the event – whether that be for live performance, a DJ set, or some kind of BoysDontCry showcase.
Blake didn’t post any statement until after the event had sold out. While the first statement mentioned that Ocean wouldn’t be performing live, it didn’t go out of the way to rule out an appearance. And as we’ve mentioned above, the second statement came just 20 minutes before the event.
At best, announcing BoysDontCry was a sloppy move from Blake. At worst, it was a publicity stunt which involved deliberately misleading a lot of people and then making them feel like the butt end of a joke.
We’d like to clarify that we’re fans of a lot of the music on the 1-800 Dinosaur roster. But we also don’t think people were stupid for believing that Frank Ocean might be appearing. So for all the people who bought a ticket, for all those who travelled from as far as London or Cardiff to attend, and for all those who stayed at the venue until 3am even though they had to be up four hours later for work, we think an apology is in order.
If you were there last night, feel free to share your experiences of the event in the comments section below.