Central’s First Fall Concert Went Hard In The Paint

Gabriel Anton, Staff Writer

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As the chilly, dry Connecticut autumn winds continued to haunt Central Connecticut’s barren campus last Saturday evening, Welte Auditorium provided a comforting escape for students with the school’s first ever fall concert.

The free concert served as a high-energy cap to the “Halloweekend” festivities with a lineup of four considerably diverse performers: Ohio based rock/pop band PUBLIC, Los Angeles indie folk band MAGIC GIANT, new wave/electronic duo MISSIO and the headlining, four-time visiting, widely celebrated hip-hop artist Waka Flocka Flame.  

As the stage crew began setting up for PUBLIC’s opener, the audience began to accumulate towards the front of the auditorium, many not knowing what to expect from the fairly unfamiliar artists. The initial announcement of the concert had Jesse McCartney and Waka Flocka Flame headlining, with the two other performers being less known. But when Jesse McCartney cancelled, MISSIO, another generally unknown artist, was announced as the backup artist.  

“We came for Jesse McCartney and Waka Flocka, but we haven’t really heard about the other artists,” Central student Eric Rosen explained. 

The overhead lights dimmed and an energetic display of sharp cool colors began to dance around the stage. PUBLIC introduced the concert with a variety of their own pop/rock songs as well as some popular hits like Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” Lead singer and guitarist John Vaughn used the stage and the audience section for his performance, getting closer with his new fans by hopping off the stage and gracing the front row with his lyrics.  

They played one of their most popular songs “Make You Mine” and closed with an emotional song “4Her,” with a personal message from Vaughn; “I hear a lot of songs about using each other, and I want to sing about something better, about the good parts of a relationship.”

The previously lesser-known band’s exit made for a “PUBLIC” chant from the audience.  

The festive indie band MAGIC GIANT was the next performer to surprise the audience. Without announcing any of their songs’ titles, they brought an organic and inspired vibe that felt a little more mellow than PUBLIC. Nevertheless, they initially jolted audiences with some instrumental solos. The drums started the music, followed by a bow-splitting violin solo and an acoustic guitar solo that eased into the background.  

Their introduction made quite an impression on the audiences. 

“We thought the first two acts were very fun and high energy, and a lot of the songs were surprisingly catchy,” a few visiting students from Stonehill College in Massachusetts commented. “We were not let down by these new artists.” 

MAGIC GIANT made their way down to the middle of the auditorium to sing one of their mellower songs, “Great Divide.” The audience gathered around the three band members as they brandished their very decorative instruments, holding up their flashlights and swaying back and forth with the gentle melody.  

“I’m happy that these artists were introduced to us through this medium,” Bryan Quickley said. “We had opportunities to connect with them that were a lot more profound than just listening to them on your phone.” 

Austin, Texas originated MISSIO followed MAGIC GIANT with a high-energy and highly stylized electronic/synth pop music set that electrified the audience out of their MAGIC GIANT daze. They started with “Twisted,” a wild dubstep performance accompanied by a maniacal light show and a much more powerful baseline. The audience was still buzzing from the first song when the frontman/songwriter/producer of MISSIO, Matthew Brue, announced the song “I See You.” 

I hope that you guys feel seen tonight, I hope you guys feel valued tonight, because I’m assuming if you go to this school or surrounding schools, you guys have amazing people in your lives right?” said Brue. 

With “Middle Fingers,” the audience had a fine final send-off for the band.  

“With our song ‘Middle Fingers,’ we are all brought together in unity by raising all of our middle fingers in the air together,” Brue continued, encouraging the audience to flip him the bird.

It was then time for the main event. The anticipation for Waka Flocka Flame began with everyone rushing to the front of the audience section. Everyone began to get their cameras ready for another incredulous performance.  

The DJ hyped the crowd up with snippets popular rap songs from artists like Drake and Lil Baby, and soon enough, Waka Flocka himself graced the stage with an explosive intro performance of “Grove St. Party.” It immediately felt like an entirely new concert as he performed many popular songs from other artists. 

Waka Flocka made sure to make his way around the entire auditorium. He came down during his second song “Wild Boy,” by Machine Gun Kelly, and connected with the extremely excited fans by giving them handshakes and getting hyped with them. Out of his own songs he performed “Round of Applause” and “Hard in da Paint.” He then invited the audience to all come up on the stage with him and have an opportunity to perform rabidly popular songs like “Mo Bamba” to the rest of the audience. His set went on for the same amount of time as the prior artists, yet it felt like it had most of the concert’s energy.  

“I came in not really knowing what to expect from the other artists, but knowing that Waka Flocka Flame will definitely deliver. This is definitely a successful concert,” Janae Gant claimed 

Although the concert was a success for many students, the auditorium wasn’t sold out. In fact, half of the seats were empty. But the reason is much different than prior concerts.  

“We still are in our experimental stage because this is our first time doing a fall concert. We’ll see how the students react to the fall concert, if they want to see more then we’ll have both a spring and fall concert,” Scott Hazen, interim President of the Student Activities/Leadership Development organization revealed.

This also goes along with the notion of having a diverse lineup.  

“We try to get a variety of different sounds and artists, like rap, or pop, or r&b to give the students a lot more spectrum,” the SA/LD interim President said. “If they don’t listen to a certain type of music, there’s another artist that can accommodate their taste.” 

Given the positive experience that students not only from Central, but from New York and Massachusetts experienced, and the high-energy environment that was produced from three fairly unknown artists, it is safe to say that deliberation for further fall concerts will be made in a progressive light. Until then, make sure to look forward to other exciting artists at the spring concert.