Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Cool Enough for Back to Stool?

By Kate Evans

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Mike Posner, from his official Myspace

At the average collegiate age of 21, pop sensation Mike Posner is doing anything but homework. Last year, J Records discovered Posner from a series of mix tapes he produced on his own while attending Duke University. Nearly a year later, his debut album, “31 Minutes to Takeoff,” was just released mid-August. Posner is teaming up with Barstool Sports to bring a three-concert series to university towns across New England.

For those of you living under a rock, BarstoolSports.com is an independently owned blog infamous for printing outlandish, hilarious and not suitable for work (NSFW) material. Other artists accompanying Posner at UMass include Wale, Paul Markham, Mac Miller and The White Panda for a show that isn’t making the popular sports blog any money. The sole purpose of the concert is to acquire fans and market, said website owner Dave Portnoy.

The concert, aptly named Back to Stool, is scheduled to kick-off this Saturday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mullins Center.

Amherst is the first stop on Barstool Sports’ fall tour, followed by Manchester, N.H. and Providence, R.I. next weekend.

Portnoy, admirably referred to as “El Pres” on his site, says many of the previous venues for Stoolapalooza were too small to play at again. He wanted to break out the guns for Back to Stool, pairing large venues with big names.

“We knew we wanted good talent, but talent costs good money,” he said. 

Good money is right, seeing as how Barstool Sports dropped a whopping $50,000 on Back to Stool star power and an additional $25,000 to produce the shows.

Fans of Posner can look forward to hearing “a lot of his old stuff. Obviously everyone knows ‘Cooler than Me,’ ‘Drug Dealer Girl,’ ‘Evil Woman,’ and ‘Smoke and Drive,’” said Portnoy.

Although Posner is headlining the event, Wale is arguably a much more established and well-known performer. Having collaborated with Talib Kweli, Bun B and Pharrell, Wale is anything but a newcomer to the entertainment industry. Posner’s headliner title is based exclusively on his consistency at Back to Stool.

“Posner was the guy who’s going to every show, and we wanted the one who would be around [to headline],” Portnoy said.

Wale is unique to Amherst, which may be the direct result of El Pres’ love for UMass.

“It’s probably my favorite place we’ve ever been to,” he said.

For those who prefer something different, the appetizers may strike your fancy. Paul Markham, the first act and a UMass student, also opened for Sam Adams last April.

The second opener, Mac Miller, is “the Sam Adams of what we’ve got right now, blowing up all over the place,” said Portnoy.

The White Panda, the third opening act consisting of two male DJ’s rocking panda face masks, was thrown into the mix to create a “mosh pit, dance party vibe” to break up the rap, explained Portnoy.

El Pres feels he is ahead of the game with Mac Miller and Paul Markham. He claims that both up-and-comers will make something of themselves and hopes that people remember where they first saw them.

Although Posner was born and raised in Michigan and Portnoy attended the University of Michigan, the two have yet to bond over their roots, let alone meet.

After establishing a “bromance” with Adams, the Pres is open to bonding with Posner, but he claims that “Team Barstool is much more willing to party with the people than the performers.”

The Barstool representatives are certainly eager to party with UMass, indicated by their early arrival on Friday. UMass has proven to be the site’s biggest college fan base, most likely due to the plentiful extra-curricular activity here.

Portnoy is not concerned with whether or not the student population loves Posner, as he just wants to promote a good time.

“We’re gonna be there all weekend partying, from the second we get on campus until the second we leave,” he said. “Just partying. UMass is pretty good at it.”

The collegiate role model threw out an analogy between Countryfest and Back to Stool, claiming that the attendees only go to the shows for a fun time, not necessarily the music. According to Portnoy, the music is significant, but it doesn’t depend on the success of the concert.

Team Barstool has already decided upon its party locations of choice for the weekend, but Portnoy won’t publicly disclose this information.

Portnoy has learned his lesson, saying, “last time [at Stoolapalooza] we got contacted by the police before we even showed up, so we’ve gone stealth mode.” Just look for the company’s personalized beer pong table and dozens of attractive girls, and chances are you’ve struck gold.

The party specifics won’t be making headlines, but that hasn’t discouraged Team Barstool.

Portnoy dismisses students fears by stating, “When Barstool Sports comes, it’s a party. Don’t worry, we’ll get you where you want to go.”

YouTube sensation Jenna Mourey is also guaranteed to be in attendance, probably rocking one of her scandalous micro-outfits and funky colored locks..

With about 4,000 ticket sales from UMass alone, Back to Stool will be thickly populated. The other two venues have only sold half of that amount so far, solidifying UMass as the site’s biggest concentration of fans.

Though just over a few thousand ticket sales may seem minimal in comparison to the Mullin Center’s size, Portnoy’s objective was never to sell out every seat.

 “It’s not a 15,000 person concert. The goal has always been to sell between five and six thousand,” he said. 

While Back to Stool has not followed in Stoolapalooza’s successful financial footsteps, Stoolies can look forward to future concerts at UMass. The notorious partiers will return in the spring for the next installment of craziness, maintaining they will always do events here. Back to Stool is not promoting anything wildly different from Stoolapalooza besides the talent.

Portnoy said, “It’s really night and day, concert-wise from what we did before. [We had] Sam before he blew up. We did professional music this time, much stronger lineup.”

And hey, if the concert isn’t your thing, at least El Pres will be in attendance. He hates being on stage, but that may change after a few drinks. One can only hope he will be sporting his purple starfish bathing suit.

Tickets are still available at the Mullins Center or online at Ticketmaster.com for $22.

Kate Evans can be reached at [email protected]

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Cool Enough for Back to Stool?”

  1. doc rivers on September 23rd, 2010 10:48 am

    viva la stool!

  2. Lindsay Hagenhoff on September 12th, 2011 7:03 am

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

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