HAM sees Boys Noize

“Wait.. did we take a picture with  a dominatrix Easter bunny on Friday night?” I asked my group the day we came back from Spring Break. Surprisingly enough, I was hallucinating.. we did in fact get our picture taken with a dominatrix bunny who happened to be one of many opening performances we saw when we went to see Boys Noize at Webster Hall.

Webster Hall, which is located on 125 East 11th street in Manhattan, was filled to the brim with a diverse crowd of people the night of the Boys Noize concert. The red awning stands out on the tiny alleyway, and was my focal point as I rushed to the concert in the misting rain that night. After joining my group, we headed on up the stairs and emerged in a lounge area where people were mingling and drinking cocktails or nursing plastic bottles of beer. “This doesn’t LOOK like Boys Noize to me, guys,” I told my group. And of course, I was right. It was merely 10 pm and Boys Noize wouldn’t grace the stage until around 2 am.

Boys Noize is actually the stage name of one guy: Alexander Ridha, a German electronic music producer and DJ. While my group was perusing the many musical acts that were performing that night at Webster Hall, including the bunny dominatrix, we noticed people running towards a set of stairs at the back of the club at around 2 am. We decided to investigate and were greeted by the vibrations of Boys Noize’s bass thumping through our bodies as we climbed higher and higher towards the sound.

We emerged in a huge room that was filled shoulder-to-shoulder with screaming fans both dancing and waving their arms to the beat of the songs. Laura and I made sure to jump on one of the many amps that lined to edges of the room in order to get a better view of Boys Noizes manning the turntables up on stage, like a captaining manning the wheel of a giant ship. The room was dark, aside from huge seizure-inducing lightshows that filled the stage and changed to the beat of the music. The whole experience was like being in one of Kanye West’s music videos, but in a good way.

Boys Noize is a great performer because he feels out the crowd, knowing exactly when to pump the crowd up and when to calm them down. Electronic music isn’t my favorite genre, but I was dancing and really enjoying the music for a change. Boys Noize was definitely worth the wait, although I recommend going to see it with a group of people you enjoy waiting around with, like I did.


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When a song temps you to move, its magic.

It starts out with fast, dynamic rhythms and extraordinary beats. The song “Pearl” featuring Jean Grae from Black Bottom, is one you would enjoy dancing to in a club. Despite it’s repetitive beats, it gets you on the mood to dance nonstop. Even though there were few changes in rhythm that were confusing for as long as they lasted, the song gets back on track tempting its listeners to keep moving to its beats.

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Keishera James Has Soul Flowing In Her

Keishera James

Looking at Keishera James, you can tell that there is something about her. Sitting in class, she speaks with an energy, a confident air and an enthusiasm for learning. But going to a transit-oriented college like Baruch, it is difficult to get to know the life under those first impressions. Fortunately, this time I was able to learn about the exciting life of one of Baruch’s most accomplished artists.

James, who was born in Jamaica, exudes the diva presence of singers who came before her like Tina Turner and Whitney Houston, who are two of her idols. However, her raspy alto voice is reminiscent of singers like Anita Baker and Tracy Chapman, one of the artists who helped James to overcome her past fear of her own voice.

“One of major inspirations to become a songwriter was Tracy Chapman because of the way she writes… she didn’t look like the ordinary pop star but her delivery was so powerful and her subject matters were something you could relate to, or if you could not relate, you could picture it…”

And James’ music is similar in that it is a great mixture of soulful, sensual, honest emotion with a laid-back and cool flow harkening back to Quiet Storm soul and R&B music of the late 70s to early 90s. The hint of her Jamaican accent coming through her songs also provides a distinct vocal touch.

On her own since 16, James’ voice and songs have taken her to several places, like London, Paris and of course, New York City, and she will be taking a semester off from school to go to Berlin to continue her career. However, the road to becoming a star has not always been easy. “It’s a hard road to travel because because there are a lot of talented people, especially in New York City. Every other person is a star…” James even wrote a song about it, called “Wanna Be a Rockstar,” in which she sings, “Everybody wanna be a rockstar/don’t nobody have to work for it/some wanna be an overnight superstar/but you and me we have to work for it.”

James continued that there are also a lot of fickle people who do not keep promises and it is hard to find the key people who will recognize you, but she believes in persistence, taking initiative and having encouraging friends. These three things have helped her to have a number of memorable moments, such as a hit song in Europe with Shaggy called “It Feels Right,” and opening for rapper Common in front of a crowd of 25,000 at the Fort Greene Festival in Brooklyn.

Other memorable moments from her career was dancing with David Beckham at a night club (“he was very polite, very nice”), meeting with Ahmet Ertugun before he died, and interviewing De La Soul and Anthony B. During the past two years, she has gone back to school, first at the New York City College of Technology and now at Baruch, which she attended to prove she could get in and is majoring now in Liberal Arts. However, it seems that this interview has influenced her to do an ad-hoc major in music and journalism.

Royalty Network, who signed James in 2007 to their music publishing company had these words to say about her then, “Keishera’s on her way to proving her ability to stand out as a writer and artist. Since her recent introduction to the business, she’s already appeared alongside Shaggy, and #1 Reggae act in France, Lord Kossity. ….while this star-in-the-making hopes to open minds with her unique vocals and reggae-soul fusion, ultimately, she just wants to make good music.”

In an interview with The Grio, singer and producer Teddy Riley commented on how some of the recent R&B music lacked substance, but now it’s starting to come back. Mary J. Blige made a similar comment in an MTV interview last year. James wants to bring as Blige says that “healing power” back to R&B music.

Planning on creating a style of her own, taking soul and infusing it with a little of rock and reggae, James will be releasing three singles, “Rockstar,” “Say What’s On Your Mind,” and “Think of Me,” soon. Asked how she describes her music, James responded, “Passionate! …My music is my salvation… music has transformed any situation…sometimes it’s just hard; fear sets in when you are a musician and you are creative a lot, and it helps to quiet the mind from all the chatter, doubts and fears…music is a remedy for anything.”

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Nobody Beats CD’s

On my way to Washington D.C. this past weekend, Q104.3 (at this point in the trip just background noise) stopped playing classic rock and turned into gargles of static that no turning of any knob would fix. My parents and I hadn’t noticed until we heard fuzzy chunks of some unrecognizable Police song that tickled our ears with enough familiarity to make us crave music once again. In movies or like that Toyota Highlander commercial, parents are always singing an obnoxious song off of an even more obnoxious album. Luckily an old Bob Marley was in the armrest, left over from a previous excursion Upstate, mixed in with Silvio Rodriguez and Salsa/Calypso mixtapes.

My father initially objected, but tired and reluctant to argue from the demanding drive, he succumbed to the idea. “No woman, no cry,” starts Bob, consoling the masses at a live concert, goosebumps on my skin, raising from the dead some memories I hadn’t touched in a while.  I could feel in our shared silent indulgence, that we all sat and remembered what this song meant to us individually.

Ricardo, my older brother by exactly a day and a year, and I bought that album in the basement of what used to be Nobody Beats the Wiz on Steinway street in Astoria. It was our mother’s birthday present. Big chain music stores don’t really exist like that anymore. I remember F.Y.E. was a block south and if they didn’t have what you wanted there you could hop on the R train and pick it up on 82nd street in Jackson Heights. I used to love Virgin Mega Store at Union Square during the summer. I’d walk in and hope to find something good on sale to spend my money on instead of buying bottled water; the store was always cool. I miss it in Times Square too, before it became Forever 21. I took those escalators up and down a million times over and checked out all their Vinyl, all their eclectic aisles. I could have lived there when they started letting us scan CD barcodes for 30-second previews of every song. I was madly in love with music.

When the song ends we all come back and smile. The silence between the songs is filled up by silent humminh of “no woman, no cry.” When the next track starts it hopes to have the same effect, but we just sing along this time, enjoying a CD for the first time since we bought an iPod.

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A Great Big Pile Leaves You Wanting More

When they’re setting up on stage you get a sense that A Great Big Pile of Leaves has done this before. Every tuning solo, every beating of the snare, and even the steps they take over tangled wires connecting guitars to amps to the sound system seem inveterate. I believe this band immediately, at least more than I believed the last group, Two Lights, a band still riding the coattails of the Jonas brothers.

Highline Ballroom is comfortably packed by 10pm when the guys take over the stage. The mostly underage crowd, sober from the previous act, begins to pour from the awkwardly placed dining area on the edge of the venue. Fans scream “Yeah Tyler,” as they come closer to being ready. I remember that overwhelming anxiety when I performed with my band, Pyramus and Thisbe, senior year of high school. The Leaves don’t seem phased a moment away from breaking the silence on stage.

“Why won’t they start already, so we can get out of here,” said Theresa, my classmate, forced to a Thursday show in midtown Manhattan, an hour away from her home in Staten Island.

With a heavy flannel shirt and a heavier beard, the drummer announces the beginning of the set with a banging of his sticks. Immediately I see he is going to be uncomfortably sweaty, but not enough to merit removing his shirt like Travis Barker. The music carries a fast upbeat pace, which burns a significant amount of calories but requires very little skill. The guitarists play bright chords, exploring the clarity of their Gibson’s and Epiphone’s, and the bassist glides between a good range of his instrument. It’s fun, and the lead singer breaks out in fervent staccato grunts that strike emotional chords. His presence is strong on stage, as he strums his guitar with calculated precision that make his biceps swell and his forearms vascular.

He’s less clean cut than in the bands music video for the song Aligator Pop . His beard is scruffier, his shirt wrinkled and his boat shoes worn below tarnished blue jeans. The second guitarist, a hired gun for the tour, is wild and dressed in black from head to toe, appropriate because he kills it the whole night. The bassist looks out of place in this band of hipsters, but after the first song boasts, “It’s good to play at home. Well almost, I’m from Brooklyn.”

The rest of the concert neither added nor detracted from the enthusiasm of the crowd.  The same trio screamed “Yeah Tyler,” the same fans danced, and people who knew the lyrics sang bashfully. “It felt like one long song,” adds Theresa as she exits the venue, disappointed. I nod and agree, but it’s one long song I enjoyed listening too.

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An artist for the ages

Singer-songwriter Ari Hest

Singer-songwriter Ari Hest is something of a self-made musician. He learned a little piano as a child and taught himself how to play guitar at 15. Shortly after, he started writing songs and performing. While in college at NYU, Hest produced two EP’s on his independent record label, Project 4, and decided to make a career out of his musical enterprises. Now the artist is releasing his fifth studio album with Downtown Records, Sunset Over Hope Street.

A child to musical parents—his mother, a cantor, and his father, a former jingle writer and sax player—perhaps music came to him quite naturally. But during college, it just made sense.

“I put the books down and started playing more,” he said. Still, it’s his talent that has brought him this far. That, and his affinity to explore and experiment with music.

"Autumn Songs From 52" is one of the season based albums prior to "12 Mondays."

Sunset Over Hope Street is the Riverdale, Bronx native’s latest release in four years. Before this, he’d worked on 12 Mondays for a solid year. It was the culmination of a project where he’d recorded and released a new song to online subscribers every week for 52 weeks; 12 of these tracks were selected by fans for the record.

Another project, The Green Room Sessions, was recorded on Hest’s personal laptop solely using Apple’s GarageBand to include acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, harmonica, and percussion to accompany his vocals. Such ventures of artistic expression are what make Hest a very unique and innovative musician.

His manager, Michael Solomon agrees. “Ari […] brings the rare combination of songwriting, performing and profound musicianship together with a sense of creativity and fearlessness which allows him to try new and adventurous projects. […] He is a true visionary.”

Ari Hest's fifth album is a surefire pleaser.

Meanwhile, Sunset Over Hope Street shows Hest at his finest and most structured. It’s a mature record with a distinct vocal sound and firm instrumental background that explains Hest’s four year hiatus, over one of which was spent working on it.

“I took my time with it,” he said. “I think my taste has changed. I think I’m a little more cognizant of what it takes to arrange my songs.” Hest also said he’s gotten better at editing and weeding out “songs that really don’t make a difference.”

No wonder Hest calls Sunset Over Hope Street “an album about transition.–Musically speaking, personally, politically.” The album is about things Hest said he’s observed and noted in himself and in others. They speak volumes about anything from relationships to politics and change in the world.

“I think the most natural thing for me to write about is seeing people go through something and talking about it,” he said. “I kind of need to hear about things that are going on that are either interesting or happy or sad or angry or hopeful, all these different factors kind of just add up to writing songs that have more meaning.”

And his songs certainly do have meaning. From the title track, which he described as “a song about learning to let go of someone emotionally that has left you,” to my personal favorite, “Swan Song,” which he said is the only one written out of his imagination. Though it was based on a strange dream he had, he said it might be about global warming. Its lyrics seem to prove that: “The earth below/Drowns in sorrow/Unprepared for/The sudden distress.” => “Swan Song

Lyrics aside, Hest’s solid vocals are firm and edgy yet gentle.  He has a voice close to folk-pop artist Matt Kearney’s, and set to jazzy music akin to Frank Sinatra’s era, his works sound like modern classics.  On this record, the two features are married almost perfectly. Just like music critic James Zahn commented, “[…]Hest’s vocals drive the record – a spacious affair accented by lush instrumentation and ambiance.”

Hest believes this is because he finally took a step back from the do-it-yourself approach, or trying to handle all aspects of a song. Instead, he focused more time on polishing the sounds with the help of producer Alex Wong and performing with other musicians. This evolved approach shows well even in Hest’s  live performances, 29 of which he’s played since the album released in March.

Hest engages with crowds in intimate settings while getting well absorbed in soulfully performing his instrument and his voice. A video of him singing “How Would I Know” at the Mill in Iowa City earlier this year gives you a glimpse into that performance persona. His performances are thoughtful and do justice to the music, especially when Hest himself feels the energy.

“There are moments when I’m on stage when you just feel into what you’re doing and it’s almost like an out of body experience […].”

Yet he said, “The feeling of finishing a song, a well written song, and knowing that you have something significant in your hands, is probably my favorite feeling.”

Although songwriting is his favorite aspect of music, arranging songs has been a growing part of his expertise and Hest would still advocate creating music via the GarageBand type of software.

“That falls under the category of musical self exploration, trying to see whatever you can accomplish on your own without the help of others, without the help of a studio.”

Certainly attesting to being an artist for the ages, Hest looks forward to this new stage of musical arrangement.

“I do think that’s where music is headed more and more. You know, the more you can do by yourself, the better, I think, and technology allows you to do that. So, it’s great.”

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New Rap City: A Conversation with Group Member Tech Chambers

Luck is said to be when preparation meets opportunity. That saying rings true for how Tech Chambers met C-Style to form New Rap City.

One day while hanging out with one of his friends at their house Tech Chambers heard

Tech Chambers From New Rap City

music coming from a back room. Curious to find out who the rapper was he asked his friend. To his amazement he found out that the person on the track was sitting in that same room.

Two weeks after meeting each other they entered their first competition which they won.

Raised in Harlem the music of New Rap City reflects the desires, struggles and hopes for the future of both C-Style & Tech Chambers. Having both lived less than idea childhoods listening to rap and hip-hop was a way they could both escape the hardships of life.

At an early age C-Style, who is now 26, new that being in the world of rap and hip-hop was exactly where he was supposed to be. At nine years old he began to record himself on his karaoke machine.  With the help of his karaoke machine he made his first mix tape which he titled “In the Time of Crisis.”

By the time he got to high school he was selling CD’s in the hallways. The title of the CD was “The Resume.”

Tech Chambers, who is now 25, grew up in a family where both of his parents were addicted to drugs and his father was truly never around. His brother dropped out of school to get a job and support the family.

The earliest memory he had surrounding music was his brother rapping “Children’s Story” from Slick Rick to him so that he could fall asleep.

C-Style was not available for an interview, but his partner Tech Chambers spoke about the path of the duo and their new album.

When asked about what makes their music different from the rap music that is out there today Tech Chambers said that it was their versatility and their ability to hit multiple different genres and markets. He said “we can use street music, we can do commercial music, we can do dance music, party music. It doesn’t matter it depends on how we feel when the beat is on.”

When it comes to their music they say that they are trying to show people that there are other ways to express oneself other than violence. “If you listen to it it’s not ‘I’ma shoot you in the head, I’ma rape your mother’ kind of music. We inspire people.”


Tech Chambers says that his biggest influence, when it comes to music, is Tupac:

“Because he elevated rap to what it is today. Without him, and unfortunately without Biggie [Smalls], rap music wouldn’t have had as strong of an impact as it has. He wasn’t afraid to be versatile. He could make a song like “Ambitious as a Ridah” where he’s talking about being a real dude and doing what he has to do to make it then he can make a song like “Brenda’s Got a Baby”, “Keep Ya Head Up”, “Bomb First” and “Dear Mama” where he’s talking to his mother. His versatility made him shine out through everything else.”

On the website ReverbNation the music of New Rap City is described as “a mix between 50 cent and Cassidy with the chemistry of Redman and Method Man.”

So far they have entered 39 competitions. They have won 37 of them. The biggest monetary award that they have received is 500 dollars. They worked with Paul Wall and DJ Jeevus in the production of their first album. The largest crowd they have performed in front of was 400 people.

ReverbNation goes on to say that for winning a showcase “their grand prize was a mix tape hosted by the Rap Champ Paul Wall, a slot of the highly acclaimed hip hop website www.allhiphop.com and an album release party in the heart of Manhattan.”

With a song like “Pick Up a Book” New Rap City rap about learning through education and striving to be someone good in life. Letting young people now that it is your intellect and not your “street swagga” that gets you places.

However those positive words get drowned out when in songs like “Goldfish” and “It Don’t Make You a MC” the ‘n’ word is used repeatably. I am not here to argue about the meaning of the ‘n’ word or if it has changed, what I am saying is that these guys have major talent and great beats and lyrics, but the overuse of the ‘n’ word makes it so that is all you hear when you listen.

I am aware that many rappers use that word the way the stereotypical person from the Vally uses “like”, however aren’t they trying to be different?

If that word wasn’t said so much their message would come through much clearer.

On their Facebook page they have 32 ‘Likes’, on Myspace they have 99 friends and on Twitter they have 120 followers.

They have performed at Club Element, Sultra Lounge and the Secret Lounge.

Tech Chambers wants many more things in the future. He wants to go into acting, producing, directing and writing: “anything where I can express myself in; that I can turn my talent outward for people to recognize.”

The duo is currently working on a new, as of yet untitled, album. Some of the issues that they touch on in the new album have to do with the status of the music industry.

One aspect is what they see as the radio being one-sided. “You could listen to the radio for five days straight and it will be the same ten artists all day and that’s not exciting” says Tech Chambers.

They also discuss the issue of how, in their opinion, when it comes to the music business it is not talent that gets you noticed, but who you know. If you are not lucky to know anyone in the business then you will be “sitting at home working at Home Depot.”

“The first album was just me letting you know I was here. This album is letting you know that I am serious about making an imprint. I don’t want to be one of those rappers that you see everyday that come out with a hit then two years later they don’t have no more music on the radio cause they just stopped their inspiration’s gone.”

When asked if there was anything else he wanted to say his final words were “watch me.”

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Boys Noize Brings The Funk

“When do you think he’ll come on?” seemed to be the question of the evening floating around Webster Hall. Though no one seemed to have a definite answer, it wasn’t really a concern to the hundreds of guests in attendance for the Boys Noize concert on Good Friday. The venues multiple party rooms seemed to have everyone preoccupied until then.

Webster Hall was first built in 1886 and quickly changed the ideas of a typical nightclub experience. The venue has the capacity to hold 2,500 people a night and consists of five separate party rooms. It opened as the biggest and first modern nightclub in the United States. Over time it also turned into one of the world’s most famous concert venues. Big name artists to up and coming bands have all had a chance to perform on one of Webster Halls’s multiple stages.

On April 22nd, the spotlight was on Boys Noize, or rather Alex Ridha, a Berlin-based DJ and producer who has made quite a name for himself in the electronic music industry at only twenty five years old. He began producing and DJing at early age and first worked with American DJ Felix Da Housecat and DJ Hell who influenced Ridha’s style the most. He has now gone solo with his stage name Boys Noize and has grown popularity in the rise of Dubstep, which is a particular genre of electronic dance music that has an overwhelming bass line and a reverberant beat. To many, Boys Noize is one of the best electronic DJ’s in the industry now, even winning multiple awards including Best Electronic Artist on Beatport.

Boys Noize Album Cover

Though it is argued that the sounds of electronic music and dubstep tend to get repetitive, it should be said that Boys Noize, most of his live performances, though playing his hits also include him mixing and remixing on the spot, which adds to the excitement of seeing him live.

The crowd seemed to be put in a trance when he began. They all moved in unison to the beat and a sense of euphoria ran rampant in the air. It was obvious from the cries and frantic dance moves that everyone felt extremely happy to be there. The crowds response shows the sort of power that Boys Noize upheld throughout the course of the evening. For someone who simply plays around with noise (literally) there is something in his music that was like an intoxicating rush that everyone felt and responded to gladly. The vibes that Boys Noize and the crowd were feeding off each other was something special that only a certain type of artist can bring to their fans.

Overall, it is true that Boys Noize sounds as stereotypical as the next dubstep/electronic artist, he really served the point that all artists and their music should which is to genuinely bring happiness and enjoyment to your fans which is exactly what Boys Noize did at his performance at Webster Hall.

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Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 9 PM

Whether it costs money or the admission is free, music could be just loud and obnoxious sometimes.  Free concerts sound like a great idea, but there is a reason why the music is free.

The Bamcafé holds many events that include free performances. The BAMcafé is a small part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), which was founded in 1861. This makes BAM America’s oldest continuously operating performing arts center.

Located on 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, BAM consists of a 2000-seat opera house, a 800-seat theater, and four other cinemas. Because an escalator can only be able to hold so many people, space in BAMcafé becomes a priority. Just like any other building, it can only hold as much as regulated. If you are even a minute late, you can still miss the show.

Once one enter the caliginous hall, the first thing you may see are the arrays of individuals just standing. Seating is limited, which means one must come at least a hour in advance to each event. One may order food as well if they are seated. The ones who are left standing are left to gather around the bar, where anyone could like the music that is played.

From April 22nd till June 4th, the BAMcafé will add a spice to their everlasting melting pot of cultural events. This spice is the ¡Si Cuba! Festival, which is from March to June. It is held throughout fourteen New York City locations to celebrate or showcase Cuba’s rich culture. BAM will feature seven Cuban bands that includes Quimbombó.

Quimbombó is not your typical plate of gumbo. It is not spicy and it is quite loud. With congas, trumpets,  saxophones, and flutes Quimbombó is as traditional as the spicy dish.  On Friday, April 22, 2011, Quimbombó performed at the BAMcafé.

Quimbombó includes: Nick Herman (director, composer, and arranger), David Oquendo (lead vocals and  guitar), Igor Arias Baro (lead and background vocals), Steve Gluzband (trumpet), Alex Fernandez Fox (third lead vocals), Ricky Salas (congas, vocals), Arun Luthra (tenor and soprano saxophones, flute and clarinet), and Jorge Bringas (bass and vocals). Although the band has eight members, their performance at the BAMcafé included only five with David Oquendo as the main vocalist.

Oquendo, a native of Havana, founded the Latin Grammy-nominated group, Raices Habaneras. He has personally worked with many top artists including Paquito D’Rivera, Cachao, Willie Chirino, Marc Anthony, and Johnny Pacheco. When Oquendo sings, it becomes amateur hour on the dance floor. As young couples look like fools when trying to do the samba, Oquendo pours his heart out on stage. While some were dancing and enjoying themselves, I could not help but feel distant from the music.

No yo no gusto Quimbombó. For those who do not understand spanish, I just said I do not like Quimbombó. The music did not connect with me but it can for other people. Maybe I should have enjoyed the bar like the others did.

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When Robots Make Love, 3OH!3 is Born

It was a freezing day in New Jersey and still, girls bravely sported mini-skirts and boys walked around shirtless.  Thousands of people gathered around the stage and with less than an inch of space between each person, the outside temperature had no chance of breaching the bubble of body heat. Yurcak Field was mud-ridden from the previous night’s rain and we were all ankles deep in the muck. Nature may have been against the concert, but it had no effect on us. For the next few hours, we would be in a zone unaware of our surroundings, focused solely on the stage. Afterall, this was Rutgersfest.

The Rutgersfest crowd waits for 3OH!3

The annual free concert held at Rutgers University is notoriously known for drawing several non-Rutgers students, like myself, because of the popular bands it features each year. This year, one of those bands was 3OH!3. The electronic-pop band consists of two members, Sean Foreman and Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Motte. The band shot to fame after their 2007 self-released album, put together in Nat’s apartment, was passed along to Photo Finish Records, where label president Matt Galle was blown away by their unique sound and brilliant lyrics. To top it off, the band also had a unique name, which came from Sean and Nat’s area code in Boulder, Colorado. Their first single, “Don’t Trust Me,” released in 2008, went double platinum and sold over 2.6 million tracks. On 3OH!3’s official website, Nat describes the band’s sound the best. “It sounds like robots making love,” he says.

Sean Foreman of 3OH!3

It’s no surprise that 3OH!3 was asked to perform at Rutgersfest, since a large part of their fans are college students. The minute they stepped on stage, Sean and Nat were full of energy. They jumped on speakers and ran across the stage, holding the microphone out to the crowd at times, allowing the audience to sing along. They performed hit songs such as Don’t Trust Me, My First Kiss, Touchin’ On My and I Can Do Anything. The rebellious songs carried on the theme that they don’t care about what anyone thinks. They sang loudly and despite all the running around they did, there was never a point that they were out of tune. The radio doesn’t do this band justice. Their vocals are even better live.

Nat Motte of 3OH!3

If they hadn’t been on stage, Sean and Nat easily would have been mistaken for students from the way they were dressed. They both wore hoodies, jeans and leather jackets. Nat had a beanie on most of the time, and zipped down his jacket to reveal a red and white checkered button-up shirt, the kind you get from grandma for Christmas. Sean also took off his jacket to show his green and blue plaid shirt (I’ve seen an identical one at Hot Topic). Their choice of clothes, much like their songs, gave off the impression that they aren’t trying to impressing anyone and fame hasn’t turned them into money flaunting jerks.

The crowd sings along with Sean


Even offstage 3OH!3 was nonchalant and friendly towards their fans and students. One camera man mentioned that they walked into his tent and struck up a conversation so casually that he mistook them for crew members. The down-to-earth attitude that Sean and Nat are both known for is what makes me like their music even more. They’re not fake like some musicians tend to be. They sing about what they know and have fun doing it. I would definitely recommend seeing them perform live. It’s an unforgettable experience and I’ve even bought tickets to see them perform again at Warped Tour over the summer.

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