Here for a good time, not a long time

Blackbear and Bryce Vine energize the intimate crowd at Wake the Giant

By on April 16, 2019

Morgan Tencza | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
Members of the crowd glance around in confusion as Blackbear disappears from the stage. Then, screaming erupts from the audience as he makes his way through the floor, taking countless selfies with fans, making their night.

The Student Programming Board’s (SPB) annual Wake the Giant concert featured rap artist Blackbear and opening act Bryce Vine on April 14. Before the main event commenced, students enjoyed free food from QU’s favorite food trucks, such as Spuds and Milkcraft, in the People’s United Center parking lot. Paired with the warm weather, the mood was set for the concert.

As the sun set on the arena, it was SPB’s Mainstage Chair Olivia Morgan and her staff who took the stage first. After several months of planning, SPB’s main event of the year was finally happening.

“I know you guys are all excited,” Morgan said. “Just enjoy the night and have a great time. Thank you so much for coming.”

Morgan Tencza | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
Shortly after, Bryce Vine, dressed in a rainbow Grateful Dead t-shirt, came out to perform. Throughout each song, Bryce Vine interacted with the crowd while maintaining a massive amount of energy. At one point during his performance of his song “Los Angeles,” he had a member of the crowd hand him their cowboy hat, which he wore for the duration of the song.

Members of the audience were impressed by Bryce Vine’s ability to connect to the crowd before the headlining artist.

“I loved Bryce Vine’s performance,” sophomore advertising major Carina Savukinas said. “I’ve loved his music for a while now. He seemed like he was just there to have a good time and he was really chill.”

Towards the end of his performance, Bryce Vice took out his phone to post a video on his Instagram story of himself and the audience.

After a short interlude of Panic at the Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” playing over the speakers, Blackbear came on to the stage. He was met with a cheering crowd who were anxiously anticipating him.

Blackbear opened with his hit song “chateau.” After performing his first song, he jumped onto the high speakers to interact with the audience. He touched their hands and seemed to be performing for the multiple phone cameras pointed at him.

Morgan Tencza | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
“I loved Blackbear so much,” freshman behavioral neuroscience major Ermena Refugjati said. “He was really energetic and funny and his high notes were actually amazing.”

The artist continued with his performance, keeping the audience engaged with songs such as “4u,” “hate my guts” and hit song “idfc.” Blackbear also gave a boost of confidence to the crowd.

“Where are all the smart bitches at?” Blackbear asked, to which the audience responded with screaming. “I fuck with you cause you’ll all have jobs. This is better than playing to 20 thousand people cause you all gonna have jobs.”

During one portion of the night, Blackbear made it clear that he felt that the crowd wasn’t as lively as he’d like it to be. He asked the crowd to “please scream fucking louder, y’all are depressing,” as he continued his set. Accompanying Blackbear on stage was a guitarist and a drummer. While Blackbear took a ten-minute wardrobe change, the guitarist took to the center of the stage to keep the audience entertained. He head banged and strummed, showing off his best riffs for the impatient audience.

After Blackbear reappeared, he was quickly gone again from the stage — but this time, ending up in the crowd with his security guard, where he hugged fans and posed for selfies. The crowd then cleared a path for Blackbear and he ran through the rows of seats around the arena as he continued dancing to his own music.

The rapper finished off the night with his hit song “do re mi.” The last note of the song was met with a roar of screams as the singer left the stage while giving the lasting message of “don’t drink and drive.”

Throughout the night, students couldn’t help but notice the lack of attendance at the concert. Tickets were still available the day of the event, as posted on SPB’s Instagram page. With last year’s artist being Khalid, the stakes were high for this year’s Wake the Giant to be a success.

“I wish more students went [to Wake the Giant],” Savukinas said. “It was a pretty small crowd and a larger crowd would’ve built the energy a lot more. I was pretty shocked by the crowd turnout though.”

Despite the lack of attendance, SPB Marketing Chair Taylor Sniffen still feels that the night went smoothly.

Morgan Tencza | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
“In all the technical aspects and organization and execution of the concert, it went phenomenally,” Sniffen said. “Our volunteers were great and the artists were extremely professional and everyone had a great time. Of course, we would have loved more students there, but the ones who did come looked like they had a great time.”

Months of hard work go into the decision of who the Wake the Giant performer will be. SPB sends out a survey in the fall to gauge what genre the student body would like to see. From there, the organization compiles a list of potential options and narrows it down to its final pick, according to Morgan.

While many students get to the arena around 6 p.m., the members of SPB helped set up long before the show.

“On the day before the show, we spend hours helping the production company set up the stage and the lights and audio,” Sniffen said. “We get the dressing rooms decorated for the artists and on day of, we’re at the stadium from 8 a.m. until about 2 a.m. of the next day to make sure everything gets done and runs smoothly.”

With Wake the Giant 2019 being over, it leaves some of the SPB members feeling reminiscent of the work put into the event.

“My favorite memory of planning the concert was being able to collaborate with my directors and committee to ensure the show ran smoothly,” Morgan said. “I learned a lot while working on this show. I feel proud of the work that our team did.”

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About Alexis Guerra

Associate Arts and Life Editor