The Undergraduate Student Government said that this year’s “Back to the Brook” concert was going to be the biggest one yet—and they delivered. The “Back to the Brook” concert usually takes place at the start of the semester, but due to artist and venue availability, it was pushed back to Thursday, Nov. 6.
The concert was held in the newly-renovated Island Federal Credit Union Arena. According to Kenneth Myers, vice president of Student Life, there were approximately 3,200 tickets for sale and all but around 50 tickets were sold.
Lupe Fiasco was the headliner for the show along with 3LAU, a 23-year-old DJ and Long Island native. A band consisting of Stony Brook students, Nice Shot, Kid, also performed early in the night. The five-member band consists of Saeed Bhuiyan on the guitar, Matt Marciano, also on guitar, Thomas Fasano on bass, AJ Ka-e on drums and singer John Gallagher.
“It was the most nerve racking experience and then it turned into one of the most fun experiences I have had,” Gallagher, a senior psychology major, said. Gallagher expressed his excitement that there was more of a turn out for their performance than he had expected.
“It was surreal, I never thought I would play in front of that many kids in my entire life,” Ka-e, senior biology major with a double minor in digital art and music, said. “I hope that I have the opportunity to do something like that again,” he added.
Although Fiasco put on a good show, beforehand, he refused to talk with any student media, or for that matter, anybody at all. He emerged from his dressing room into the backstage area to take a photo with USG and the volunteers for the show before going on. He did not acknowledge anyone while doing so and kept his sunglasses on the whole time.
However, 3LAU was friendly and very approachable toward the students who were able to reach him. 3LAU said for future work, he is looking to find high-profile vocalists to collaborate with.
“Anybody from Ed Sheeran to even pop stars like Katy Perry, working with them on something that was a little more unique than what they are used to is kind of what I am focusing on right now,” he said.
3LAU’s grandparents came to the show to watch him perform. They are native to the area. 3LAU is Long Island-born and spent part of his childhood in Syosset until he moved to Las Vegas. He apologized to his grandparents in advance for the profound language they may hear during his set.
3LAU is very musically talented, so when asked why he chose to pursue EDM, he said that he loves the culture of dance music and it is the easiest kind of music to make on your own.
“Dance music is the only genre of music where you can just sit in your bedroom, make it and it can come out as professional as anybody else can make it,” he said.
He did say, though, that by the beginning of next year, he plans to release his first record that will feature his own vocal work. He also mentioned that he has an acoustic album in the works for the future.
“Dance music was the first step in a career that will ideally be multi-faceted, multi-genre,” he said.
Before 3LAU became a DJ, he went by his real name, Justin Blau, and he worked in finance. He said that his biggest take-away from starting his new life as a DJ is to not take it for granted and to keep working as hard as he can.
Fiasco’s stage presence was quite impressive and was a complete turnaround from his attitude backstage. In fact, he even made the night of one Stony Brook student, Waez Khan, a sophomore biochemistry major, when he pulled him up on stage from the floor area after seeing him dance.
Fiasco put his arm around Khan and then kept him up onstage to dance while he performed his next song.
“I was just doing the nay nay, I was just getting into a song,” Khan said about why Fiasco spotted him and pulled him up on the stage. “I thought I was dreaming first of all,” Khan said. “Then I realized it was real, and I started fainting a little bit. Then I got back on track because I realized that I can’t fail in front of all of these people. So I just did what I had to do.” Khan said it was one of the coolest things that have ever happened to him.
The concert was not held at the Staller Steps this year for safety reasons, stemming from last year”s concert when students stormed the stage. This year, the venue was safer inside, but students still tried to recreate last year’s chaos. At the beginning of 3LAU’s performance, students from the seated section tried to run onto the floor. The escapade did not cause a large scene and was quickly diffused. Only one student successfully made it to the floor until he was removed by security.
Myers said that safety is one of the biggest concerns of the concert.
“We only had a few incidents,” he said. There were at least ten students who were kicked out. Students got removed from the concert from either getting too rowdy or for being too drunk before the show even stated.
At the concert Fiasco announced that the release date of his fifth studio album, “Tetsuo & Youth,” will be Jan. 20, 2015. The album release had been pushed back by about a year.
Before performing his closing song, Fiasco said that the song would go out to all of the seniors in the audience, to which all of the senior Seawolves stood up and cheered. The song he chose to close on is one of his most popular songs, “The Show Goes On.”
The crowd was active the entire night, especially all those bouncing around on the floor, but when Fiasco began to play “The Show Goes On,” the crowd went crazy. Before he left the stage for good, Fiasco went through his Twitter account to play a song that had been requested to him through a tweet.
“The concert was amazing,” Luis Rodriguez, senior psychology major said. “I’m glad we finally had it, granted it was in November but we got it, we got it in.” He also added that he is a big fan of the arena and that he really enjoyed the venue.
“I’ve always been a fan of Lupe, so it was a pleasure watching him perform for the first time,” Rodriguez said.
“I’m a big fan of the whole EDM genre,” Sharon Benedett, sophomore linguistics major, said. “I just wanted to have a good time, it was a good time to go tonight,” she added. She also mentioned that although she was satisfied with USG’s choice of artist, in the future she would like to see a musician mixed in with an EDM artist or a rapper.