Friday, February 8, 2008

Sean Kingston live (and free) at Cans

A rising star came to Charlotte and I couldn't pass up the chance to see him perform -- for free no less.

Yes, Cans has been hosting Scene Thursday parties for a while now, but this was no D-List actor (ahem, Efren Ramirez) or washed-up guitarist (ahem, Dave Navarro).

No, this time Cans and 96.1 The Beat hosted reggae singer/rapper Sean Kingston Thursday night. He's only 18 and already you can't avoid his songs on the radio. (If I hear "Beautiful Girls" one more time I'm going to take a hammer to my radio.)

Heather Seiler, 24, of Gastonia, was the lucky winner of The Beat's online contest for VIP access to Kingston. I walked in to find Seiler, her cousin and three of their friends lounging with Kingston on a couch downstairs in a roped-off area with beefy security guys guarding it.

Seiler and friends got to ride with Kingston in his stretch limo from the Hilton uptown to Cans. She told me he also invited them back to the hotel for the afterparty.

After mingling with the VIPs, having a snack (that boy can eat!) and looking cool in his shades and bling, Kingston signed autographs for everyone waiting behind the velvet ropes and posed for pictures. I wouldn't say he did it with much enthusiasm. He seemed rather bored by it all and eager to be done with it.

However, he turned into a completely different person when he got on stage upstairs -- energetic, engaging and entertaining as he performed "Me Love" and "Take You There" before finishing with ... anyone? anyone?

You guessed it: "Beautiful Girls."

I came home to an e-mail from a reader (thanks, Curt) saying he saw Kingston eating dinner with a large group of people at Carrabbas on South Boulevard before the show. The waitstaff brought out a piece of cake to celebrate his birthday (he turned 18 on Sunday).

Check out my photos from Cans here.