Chaos follows Machine Gun Kelly everywhere he goes. He’s donned a no f*cks given attitude since his days playing rap shows in Ohio, long before he moved to Los Angeles, helped revive pop-punk, and got engaged to Megan Fox. I see glimpses of this history and what his future might entail while watching him work the room at a recent rooftop party.
On March 31, Spotify hosted an album release event for his new record, Mainstream Sellout, at The Lot in West Hollywood. For four hours, I took in the California sunset alongside glitzy celebrities. Quickly, I realized if anyone knows how to throw an epic party, it’s MGK.
Though I get to the venue early, MGK is already there. Backstage, he emerges from his trailer calm. “I had to wake up at 4 a.m. today,” he says to a small group of friends. “I’m trying to get so big you don’t have to wake up at 4 a.m.”
He’s hiding any tiredness behind his blazer. It’s sequined and oversized. Or, is it a shirt? Either way, he’s hopping on Timothée Chalamet’s sternum-barring trend by going shirtless underneath the glittering jacket.
I then head to the rooftop where hors d’oeuvres are being passed and I find myself unexpectedly chilly. I’m thankful Spotify set up dozens of heaters.
Naturally, when MGK makes his grand entrance, fans swirl around him. He’s unfazed, taking selfies while guitar techs, stage managers, and friends pass blunts and drink beers. MGK notably remains empty-handed. After all, this is a work event for him, and he has an impressive guest list to entertain.
According to a press release, Megan Fox came to support her beau, though I could barely spot her. Elsewhere, TikTokers float around the space. Nessa Barrett and JXDN (a Barker protégé) chat by the bar. Across the room, Travis Barker’s son Landon says his hellos.
Drinks flow from an open bar, but the real fun comes from the activities Spotify placed throughout the party. In a 12-second video booth, guests simulate a mock crime scene. In another area, people are snapping videos while throwing purple tomatoes at MGK’s face. It’s a callback to the Mainstream Sellout album cover. There’s also a station for MGK’s nail polish line, UN/DN LAQR.
About two hours into the night, Baker finally takes the stage and launches into the 2020 song, “Concert For Aliens.” It’s a false start. MGK stops for a quick soundcheck before diving into newer tracks, playing some of them live in front of an audience for the first time.
This realization makes him sentimental. “The album isn’t the reason we’re here. The people that I’m looking at in front of us right now [are] the reason we’re here,” he says.
His infectious new collabs “Emo Girl” with Willow and “Make Up Sex” with Blackbear make the setlist, but neither collaborators attend the party. He’s not alone onstage long. Iann Dior joins him to play their 2020 track, “nothing inside.” Then Landon Barker appears for a performance of “Die in California.” Travis is behind MGK, drumming along.
The host loosens up as his night goes on, cracking jokes with the crowd and chugging a stolen beer from a fan. MGK grows daring and stands on the rooftop’s ledge. He briefly sings to fans in the street below like a pop-punk king speaking to his subjects.
As Baker closes his set with “My Ex’s Best Friend,” dessert is served on passed plates. I treat myself to several fried Oreos before exiting through the backdoor. On my way out, I spot a slew of photographers waiting to snap a coveted pic of MGK and Fox.
It’s a fraught endeavor. No photo would encapsulate MGK’s night. Sure, the party and his persona are delightfully over-the-top, but it’s clear simple conversation and singing a few songs with peers and admirers is still MGK’s favorite way to spend his time...no matter how much he sellouts.