Spring Concert a huge success

By Sarah Gamard

Hoodie Allen was the second performer at the 2015 Spring Concert (Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)
Hoodie Allen was the second performer at the 2015 Spring Concert (Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

The University of Massachusetts University Programming Council hosted the annual Spring Concert on Sunday, featuring acclaimed hip-hop artists Timeflies, Hoodie Allen and Chance the Rapper. With ample turnout and great performances, it proved to be a successful night.

Timeflies opened the show, exciting the crowd as everyone danced to its music. Cal Shapiro, the hip-hop duo’s vocalist, inspired the audience to put their hands in the air and clap while producer and DJ Rob Resnick did his mixing at a turntable behind Shapiro onstage.

The duo originated in Boston where they performed together at Tufts University in a funk band called The Ride. Timeflies has only existed since 2010 but has made it clear that it is here to stay, as the band performed popular songs from its two hit albums, “After Hours” and “The Scotch Tape.”

Hoodie Allen, the independent hip-hop artist from Long Island, New York followed Timeflies. His performance featured an entire backup band with a bassist, guitarist, drummer and disc jockey. He and his band were energetic throughout the entire show, inspiring the crowd to dance and clap on cue.

As an introduction to his 2012 song, “No Interruption,” Hoodie Allen told the crowd to forget about Snapchat, their camera phones, relationship stress, finals, graduation and any other distractions in their lives. He wanted everyone to be completely in the moment, sparking ebullience from the audience.

He performed songs from his latest albums, “All American” and “People Keep Talking,” including his single “No Faith in Brooklyn,” which he revised to “No Faith in Amherst.” During the song, he planted the microphone in the crowd to encourage everyone to sing along.

Hoodie Allen commemorated the wonderful performance on his Facebook page, and also announced he will be touring with acclaimed hip-hop artist Wiz Khalifa this summer. After he said goodbye and exited, the lights went out and the entire Mullins Center went dark, echoing only with the deep sound of the crowd cheering for the final performer: Chance the Rapper.

Not long afterward, Chance flew solo onto the stage, followed by his musical group, The Social Experiment, comprised of Peter Cottontail (keyboard), Nat Fox (keyboard), Greg Landfair Jr. (drums), and Donnie Trumpet (trumpet and backing vocals). Chance was dressed in his signature style: overalls with one button undone and a hat with his band’s label.

Though for most of the show Chance only danced subtly, and did not run back and forth across stage like the previous act, though he still carried a distinct and powerful stage presence. Donnie Trumpet carried the music throughout the performance with soulful, clean riffs behind the fast snare beat and Chance’s relaxed, ever-recognizable voice.

The Social Experiment was artful with its visual effects as well. Repeatedly, the stage went black and a spotlight would hit Chance as soon as he spoke into the microphone, giving a fitting, Cheshire Cat-esque effect to his performance. Pieces of various films, TV shows and miscellaneous images were projected on a large screen behind the band as they played, ranging from SpongeBob Squarepants to swirling abstracts to The Lion King, the last of which particularly provoked warm cheers from the millennial crowd.

The Chicago rapper interacted with the crowd the entire time, hooting into the microphone like a battle cry. The crowd responded to the call with their own hooting, to which Chance said, “I thought this was a party school. …UMass, aren’t y’all a party school?,” evoking another eruption of applause.

Chance performed a wide variety of songs. While some were energy-charged and had the entire arena jumping and dancing, others were slower, letting the crowd stand still in content, drowsy stillness. His slow song, “Acid Rain,” left everyone in a trance in the middle of the concert, lulling everyone with heavy trumpet licks and a lone spotlight on Chance’s torso.

Chance also performed songs from his upcoming project “Surf,” such as “Sunday Candy” and “Wonderful Everyday: Arthur,” a cover of the children’s show Arthur theme song. At this point, the words, “Everyday it could be wonderful” were spelled out on the projector to the beat of drum and the deep echoing hum of trumpet. The repetition was a good mantra for the stress within and beyond college life.

Chance saved his most popular songs from “Acid Rap,” “Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Juice,” for the end.

He finished with sporadic dancing to his final song, “Everything’s Good.” His band danced along with him, obviously enjoying the crowd’s energy. Before leaving, he called the night, “a great experiment,” and gave a bow, ending the concert.

Sarah Gamard can be reached at [email protected]

Click here to check out Daily Collegian photos from the event.