What rhymes really nicely with N.E.R.D.? Honda CR-Z. Or at least that's what Pharrell Williams reminded the packed Times Square crowd yesterday as he chanted it from his perch on the makeshift stage. It helped that there were glossy CR-Z Hybrid Coupes everywhere with their insides on display, Honda-featuring Gran Turismo Racing Simulators, and rad Honda emblazoned 3D glasses. What we were supposed to be watching with these glasses I'm not exactly sure, but the crowd certainly didn't need them to give N.E.R.D.'s performance more depth.
N.E.R.D. kicked off the event with their summer single, "Hot-N-Fun", which was appropriately simmering with a blisteringly hot base line and amped up dancers. Pharell continues to shine as the front man, but band mate Shay Haley stayed far from the action as Pharell launched into vocal driven "Help Me". The real crowd pleaser was well known single "Lapdance" with its instrumental energy and heavy drums.
If you spent a moment too long talking to one of the many Maxim models milling around, or waiting in line for a Porta Potty, you would have missed the short three song set. However, by the last tune, the crowd of thoroughly befuddled sightseers was dancing and cheering, which confirms the universal appeal of N.E.R.D.'s hip-hop and rock based music. I'm sure those tourists will join the fans anticipating the much hyped forthcoming album, Nothing, if their enthusiasm for N.E.R.D.'s magnetic beats is anything to go by. -lucy florence