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We the Kings, Blackbear impress at Spring Concert

by By Brianna Bush and Zach Wagner
Tue, Apr 30th 2019 08:00 pm
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Students gathered in the SERC on Thursday, April 25, for The College at Brockport’s annual Spring Concert. The show featured alternative rock band We the Kings and hip-hop artist Blackbear. The two different styles of music made for a unique show and proved for a diverse student audience. The audience of roughly 250 students did not quite fill the reserved area, but the ones who came were ready and energized for the performance. 

Opening for Blackbear, We the Kings’ performance had the crowd enticed, and not just because of the singing. Lead singer of We the Kings Travis Clark made sure to keep the crowd entertained with personal stories about how his children helped him write one song and another story about his “first time playing Tetris.”

Throughout We the Kings’ performance, Clark would frequently look over to lead guitarist Coley O’Toole who would counter his look and follow his lead to help “set the mood” for one of Clark’s stories. Clark walked as close as he could to the edge of the stage and got next to security staff, handed him the guitar pick and had him strum the guitar while he played the chords. During We the Kings’ last song, Clark asked the audience if it were ready for Blackbear, and in return the crowd cheered.

Blackbear’s performance held the attention of the audience with his dance moves and his personality. As soon as Blackbear came on stage, many of the students in the crowd surged forward to try and get closer to the performer. 

At one point, Blackbear jumped down off the stage and gave fans his autograph. He also gave a few hugs and sang to the fans closest to him. His security team kept a close eye on him as he went down the front line of fans, making sure he kept his distance. 

Blackbear, like Clark, told a few stories, gave background on his songs and interacted with the audience. At one point he drank from a water bottle and proceeded to spit it on the crowd. Twice during the concert, Blackbear left the stage to change his clothes and finish a few Red Bulls.

For many students, Blackbear was the main factor for their attendance. Some have been following him for a majority of his career and were excited to finally see him live. 

Freshman student Kyle Gray is an occasional Blackbear listener and was skeptical when he first heard he was coming to perform at the college. Having a more relaxed, love-song kind of vibe, Gray did not think Blackbear’s style would fit a live performance as well as other artists.

“At first I didn’t think he was going to be a good performer for the show, but after going there and living through it he turned out to be a decent performer,” Gray said.

In the future, Gray hopes to see more performers at the show with a shorter intermission. He also suggested up-and-coming rappers from the Rochester and Buffalo area come to perform, which would give students a chance to hear some local talent. He believes that looking at the demographic of what students listen to could help for a larger-scale audience.

Though both performances were able to keep the attention of the audience, it would not have happened without the hard work of Brockport Student Government (BSG) and all of its representatives.

BSG Activities Director Alexis Graesser had a big hand in putting the concert together. Graesser was the main contact for most of the coordination of the concert, which meant she had a lot on her plate leading up to the evening.

“I had to contact the agent with our budget and the days available for the SERC,” Graesser said. “I placed a bid for the artist we have today and went through with executing contracts. Planning the set-up, coordinating the staff and meetings were also a part of what I do.” 

When looking at the artists to choose from, Graesser was given a list that met the budget and were available on the necessary day. After consulting the list, the choice was made to go with Blackbear, as he was the best fit for BSG. 

“The middle agent we work with gives us a list of people that suit our budget and are available on this particular date,” Graesser said. “We went with Blackbear because he was selling well at colleges and his price fit our budget.”

BSG had help putting on the show from North Eastern Production Systems, an outside hire who aids in the production of concerts in the Rochester area. The crew arrived in Brockport at 8 a.m. and worked non-stop until the show was over to make sure everything looked and sounded smooth.

According to John Hereth, a 30-year employee of North Eastern, the company that provided the stage, speakers and “any other instruments the bands might need.” Sound checks can vary in length depending on the bands but help to make sure everything sounds good heading into the evening. Hereth explained that when it comes to the visuals and special effects, North Eastern usually lets someone from the band handle specifics.

Following the concert, the reactions from the students were mixed. But there is no doubt that BSG and everyone involved in holding the event did a fantastic job. Seeing other students making efforts to see their peers have an enjoyable experience helps establish the sense of community Brockport strives to create.

 

zwagn1@brockport.edu | @zachwag758988

lifestyles.editor@gmail.com | @your_girl_bri__

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