"Middle Finger" by Nick Gazin
Out of the entire VICE edit staff, I have the absolute worst phone. It can barely text message, let alone run applications or play music, and that suits me just fine. So, I would have never went to the Audio Xciter App Launch Party if they didn’t promise that Lil Wayne was going to be in the building. Why Lil Wayne would be there, I’m not quite sure. I don’t know if he is really up on the whole app thing, considering he’s probably paid someone to operate a phone for him since he dropped 500 Degreez. How could he hold an iPhone when he's got the world in his hands, anyway?
Maybe he was supposed to be there because the app has something to do with music? According to the talking points dictated to me by 17 different attractive women during the event, Audio Xciter (the name sounds like a new brand of creatine) makes MP3s sound better, which is good because MP3s sound like shit. However, I'm not sure how much better you can make an MP3, the process seems tantamount to polishing a turd nugget—at the end of the day, it's not going to be a faberge egg. But who am I to argue with big boobs and a pretty smile? Idiots used to get hyped for CD players that had a BOOST button back in the day, so I'm sure they'll be into this, too.
When I got to the party it was still light outside, which is weird. Inside dark clubs people look so exotic and important, but in the regular daytime they look like a bunch of schlubs. Lil Wayne, however, looks the same all the time—like a Rastafarian leprechaun, with his treasure hidden in his teeth. I didn't see Weezy waiting in line, but then of course Mr. Carter waits for no one.
This is Angela Su outside of the party just after the doors opened. She's a recent Harvard Grad who's been doing PR for Audio Xciter App. I feel kind of bad because she was so nice to me and clearly hardworking, but I still think the app she's promoting is a glorified equalizer. Plus it's it's her job to be nice, and mine to be a discerning asshole. We all have to play our parts. After some small talk, I asked her if she'd seen Wayne yet. Unfortunately, she hadn't. I have to say, she was quite cagey about the whole thing. But her smile left me optimistic.
The guy showing a little man-cleavage is Brett, he's a friend of the founders of Audio Xciter. He was the first, of many people to give me a demo of the app. He was also the least attractive.
Here I am checking it out for the first time. You can see the amazement on my face. Or was it puzzlement? I honestly had a hard time telling the difference from when the app was actually on and when it was off. Brett said it may have been his headphones. Which had me thinking that making MP3s sound less shitty takes a lot of work, considering you need a special app and special headphones to complement the app. Why not just put on a record? But then again, I'm lazy.
Also, what am I doing with my right hand?
One thing is for sure, Audio Xciter knows how to treat a brother. Right when I walked through the door they had the poison on a silver platter. This Heine was the first of many drinks I had on the Audio Xciter dime. Each one went down faster than the last. Personally, I love a good brew. But I know Wayne is a connoisseur of drinks of the purple persuasion. The lack of sizzurp and red cups at the open bar started to make me wonder if Lil Tunechi was really coming at all.
They also had these delicious little grilled cheeses. I try not to eat carbs because I am vain and I like punishing myself. However, when carby shit is free, I can't help but engorge on it and swell up like one of those dinosaurs you let sit in water overnight. Then, preferably, go to sleep. At the party, I had like 46 of these fucking cheesy things, which isn't so bad, I guess, because it probably takes seven of them to make one whole sandwich.
This is one of the first sexy ladies to show me how to use the app. Her name is Tanya and she had a sweet southern accent and a nice even tan. The app was giving her a bit of trouble when she tried to demo it for me. You can see her trying to figure it out in the pic. But she was really convinced that it worked. And I have to admit, I was way more into it when she showed me than the old guy earlier. In fact I may or may not have had several girls like Tanya demonstrate how to use the app because I am a gluten for attention. Since they were working, they had to talk to me—which made this event feel kind of like a strip club but with better looking girls and no nudity. Meeting Tanya also gave me a glimmer of hope that Wayne might actually show up. With chicks like her running around, it seemed like the perfect environment for the Birdman Jr.
Then I ran into my boy Nick Gazin, who was just as excited as I was at the prospect of seeing Weezy in the heavily-tatted flesh. He was also really into getting app demonstrations too and eating those cheese triangles.
After those girls told us how great the app was. They turned around and walked away and we realized Audio Xciter was branding bitches! Say what you want about the app, but at least they know how to get your attention. If you look really close, you can see the outline of her panties...
I'm not sure what Nick is doing right here, but it looks fun. We may have been taking advantage of the free drinks a little too much at this point. This guy with the crazy steel fingers told me he really liked the app and would probably use it. So, not everybody is a dismissive butthole. Unfortunately, he hadn't seen Wayne yet, either.
Then Nick and I spotted the holy grail—the acoustic-electric Dean guitar! This was for sure a sign that Wayne was coming. We expected the little man to pop up at any moment and noodle around on this shitty plywood axe. I was a little bummed because emo-pop "Prom Queen" Wayne isn't my favorite incarnation of the New Orleans rapper. I prefer his swag on the Dedication 2. But, I'll take what I can get.
Nick ran into our friend Angela outside the bar voguing and interrogated her on the whereabouts of Lil Wayne. Still pretty cagey, she claimed there was still time for him to show up. In the meantime, she let us know that the next-Best Rapper Alive was definitely in the house—Kool Moe Dee!
Here is Nick and Kool Moe Dee. Nick is throwing up the claw, which is some new shit you losers aren't up on yet. I asked Kool Moe D about the app and he said he had no idea how it works, but he thought it was a nice idea. Like me, Kool Moe Dee uses a shitty old school phone that is one step above having a rotary dial and operator who connects your call. It was nice to break bread with a legend, however, I was still hoping Wayne would turn up. Maybe Wayne would give Kool Moe Dee a kiss, like he does to Baby, out of, like, respect.
This guy with his tongue out is David Wiener. He's the CEO of Aphex Electronics and DWV Entertainment. To be fair, Aphex has been around for a long time and has probably made some cool audio hardware. And David seems like a nice enough guy. I'm sure he was feeling pretty pleased with himself about the launch of the app. I bet it took a lot of hard work. So I was pretty grateful that he took some time from celebrating and trying to lick this guys face off to tell me about it:
"Well, people like Neil Young have been whining about music quality, so I wanted to fix it. So we brought our professional audio technology to consumers. Now all your music on your iPhone and Android device will actually sound as good as vinyl or better."
When I told him I thought it just made it louder, he said "That's phony baloney." Then I asked him when I was going to get to meet Lil Wayne and he told me, "He's somewhere in here. This place is a zoo!" I asked him if he'd help me find Weezy. Unfortunately, he said, "I can't find anyone three feet in front of me. But he's somewhere. You're more than welcome to go look, though. If I were you, I'd just go talk to Kool Moe Dee over by the stairway." :(
Then shit got ill.
Instead of Weezy coming out and playing the guitar like we thought, David had the bright idea of lobbing the thing into the crowd. I guess this was like the grand finale of the event. I'm not sure anybody knew what was going on. He did sort of give people a verbal warning, but the guitar tossing seemed to catch everyone unawares. After you've had your lid blown off by overdriven loud ass music and endless headphone/boob demonstrations, it's easy to miss a guitar hurtling at you until the very last minute.
Then a little pandemonium ensued as people piled on to get the cheap guitar.
And one of the littlest girls in the joint—all the other girls were like five foot eight with heels—nabbed the guitar, which had Audio Xciter-technology built into it. Whoopie!
After David pitched the guitar things kind of got fuzzy for me. I do know that Wayne never ever showed up, which I would be really upset about if I didn't get to talk to pretty model ladies, drink booze, and eat grilled cheeses for free. What's funny is that after having numerous chicks in the short black dresses try to explain to me how the Audio Xciter app works, I still have no idea what it even does beside make the shit louder and, according to Nick, have the branding of a thrid-rate energy drink. I'm pretty sure I'll never use the app and I probably wouldn't recommend it. But they're parties are pretty good, if you don't mind getting attacked by the CEO with a guitar and eating lots of hors d'oeuvres.