AJR burned Fall Fest down
AJR and opening act PUBLIC lead the sixth annual Fall Fest
The crowd’s cheer roared as Jack Met, lead vocalist of the band AJR, ran onto the stage to begin to begin the headlining set of this year’s Fall Fest concert. The rest of the brothers, Ryan and Adam, followed suit as Jack started playing a mash up of the band’s hits. The crowd went wild and the second set of Fall Fest truly began.
Fall Fest is the Student Programming Board’s (SPB) fall semester concert that has been a tradition since 2013 in South Lot, the faculty parking lot. The festival has consisted of artists such as the Plain White T’s and Timeflies in years past, and this year, the concert AJR headlined with PUBLIC as their opener.
“I’m looking forward to eating food from all of the different types of food trucks that will be there,” sophomore diagnostic medical sonography major Jonathan Lulkin said while waiting in line to enter Fall Fest. “I am looking forward to the band that will be there because I heard that the band will be good.”
Once SPB opened the gates, the students swarmed either the stage, in order to try to get the best spot in the lot, or started heading to the many food trucks that were in attendance that included Mister Softee, Donut Crazy, Life Bowls and Caribe Soul. Students were given two tickets that would allow for them to buy two items from any food truck.
While waiting for PUBLIC to enter the stage, students had their phones out ready to document every second of the concert, even taking selfies with their friends.
“This is my first weekend that I stayed [at Quinnipiac],” freshman diagnostic medical sonography major Leah Thompson said while standing at the front of stage with a group of friends taking pictures altogether. “[Fall Fest] sounded like a fun idea.”
After members of PUBLIC’s band crew came out to tape the set lists down on the floor of the stage and put sweat towels out, members of SPB came out to begin the concert.
“I wanted to take a quick moment to say welcome to Fall Fest,” Olivia Morgan, the mainstage chair of SPB said up on stage. “This is aided by the Student Programming Board and I would be totally remiss if I did not thank all of these wonderful directors that are up here with me … I hope you enjoy the rest of your day and yeah just have a great time.”
The three band members of PUBLIC, Ben Lapps, John Vaughn and Matthew Alvarado, then came up onto the stage, all sporting button down shirts. Vaughn, the lead vocalist and guitarist, grabbed the microphone and introduced the band, stating that they are from Ohio and that he just learned how to pronounce Quinnipiac, joking around in hopes to warm up the audience.
The drummer, Lapps, slammed down on the cymbal and the band started dancing around, playing their first song. Although students had may not ever heard of the band before, the crowd cheered as the boys smiled at each other, feeding off the energy coming from the audience.
After making a joke that they were the band called Guns and Roses, Vaughn introduced one of their songs called “Little Drama Queen.” Vaughn started off just vocals, with Lapps and Alvarado playing quietly in the background. Once they hit the chorus, they all started playing their instruments loudly, causing everyone, the audience and the band, to get excited from the music. Alvarado, the bassist, danced around on the stage, kicking his water that was in his way to the side.
“You having a good time so far?” Vaughn asked the crowd. He then asked them if anyone knew the band and then explained that it is their job, as the opening act, to warm up the crowd for the headliners. As a joke to do just that, Vaughn began singing classics such as “Sweet Caroline” and “Living on the Prairie” requiring the audience to sing along. The band, afterwards, began playing another one of their songs.
“Are we becoming like kind of friends now?” Vaughn asked at the end of the song. He then decided to play a song the entire audience knew to create an “alliance” with Quinnipiac. He and his band begin playing the Britney Spears’ hit “Toxic” and everyone in the crowd sang with them.
“Say Boomer on three,” he said right before taking a selfie with the crowd.
After PUBLIC left the stage, students waited anxiously for AJR to come out, excited to see the rest of Fall Fest.
“I am a big fan of AJR,” Thompson said. “I am having a very good time so far.”
The filler radio hit music stopped and the crowd started cheering, knowing that AJR was there. Once all the brothers entered the stage, they all started dancing all around the stage, with the crowd singing along and filming on their phones for social media. Jack, the lead vocalist, sporting a winter hat, white t-shirt and Adidas sneakers, stood at the edge of the stage and sang to the audience. The energy was all over the parking lot as the brothers jumped around the stage as the crowd followed their lead.
As a joke, in between songs, Jack started to mix classic songs, changing them to make them into AJR’s style. Students absolutely loved it and laughed whenever he changed it again. Jack grabbed and acoustic guitar. He explained that him and his brothers are from New York City. He then introduced the next song “Sober Up,” that they worked along with Rivers to write. As they start playing, the crowd all began to sing as this is one the band’s more popular songs. Alongside the guitar, Ryan, who sings, but typically is on the keyboard, strummed a ukulele.
At the end of the song, Jack gave the audience a backstory of the band. He wished an audience member a happy birthday and then commented on signs students made.
“They are holding up signs they clearly worked so hard on,” Jack said on the microphone, pointing out the cardboard signs that mentioned being on house arrest and being in $20,000 in debt. The band played another more popular song, “I’m Not Famous.” They pumped up the audience again by having everyone put their hands up and sway them side to side.
After talking about how they began by street performing in New York City 13 years ago, AJR played the song “Burn the House Down” and performed a cover of Khalid’s hit song “Location,” which had the entire crowd singing along. Ryan then took the microphone to tell everyone how they write and produce their own music.
“Alright, so we are almost there,” Ryan said to the audience. “We needed a signature sound, kind of like a sonic fingerprint that would really make the beat sound unique. We recorded Jack doing a vocal and it sounded like this…” The brothers then went into their next song, showing the audience just how their craft worked. The audience went wild.
The crowd uproared once more when the brothers pretended to leave before playing their hit “Weak.”
“I’ve only heard one song by AJR because my roommates like the song ‘Weak,’” freshman software engineering major Myriam Dubuisson said. “So I’ve heard that one before.”
As the most popular song, the crowd waited anxiously to see if the brothers would come back on to finish out the day and they did. Once they came back on, everyone cheered, clapped and started singing along. The last time AJR sang the chorus was the most powerful because they delayed the hype, which had everyone screaming the lines of the song so loud at the end all together. The brothers then exited, saying goodbye to the crowd as the instrumental part of the song finished out.