DJs pump up audience with catchy beats
Every semester, AB Concerts brings bands like The Roots, Broken Social Scene, and Spoon to campus. The most recent performance was unlike any in the past; headliner RJD2 with Flosstradamus packed Wiegand Gymnasium.
The acts are chosen based on three factors: availability, what the campus wants, and the AB Concerts committee’s interests. Through informal campus polling, the committee decided to move forward with two acts unique in their styles and stage presence. Past concerts showcased bands composed of multiple instrumentals and vocals. Both RJD2 and Flosstradamus perform on turntables, using samples or previously recorded vocals to produce their sounds.
The gym was rigged with elaborate lighting to liven up the scene.
Both acts were part of a more hip music scene than previous bands, in which performance material is created by pirating and sampling the music of others and reshaping it into a separate entity.
Flosstradamus, a DJ duo made up of DJs Autobot and J2K, is straight from the Chicago hip-hop scene. Their mash-ups are bold, including intrepid mixes like “Overnight Star,” a combination of Sigur Ros’ mellow and down-tempo music with Twista’s heavy beats.
Their performance turned the concert into a huge dance party, similar to last Halloween’s MSTRKRFT show, and although they were the opening act, their energy radiated into the crowd. The beginning of their performance showcased their talents as the duo played new sounds. Finishing with one of their most popular mash-ups, they played “Act A Fool,” sending the crowd into an excited frenzy.
AB Concerts co-chair, junior electrical and computer engineering major Warren Pryde said in anticipation of the concert, “I’m looking forward to hearing ‘Act A Fool,’ because this song best exemplifies the type of energy and presence I feel that Flosstradamus will bring to the stage. Their performance will serve to excite the community, giving CMU students a break from the stress of late semester.”
RJD2, an independent beat-maker, exploded on the hip-hop scene in 2002 with his debut “Dead Ringer.” His sound is packed with cryptic samples, digitally composed drum breaks, dialogue, and music samples of old soul hits. RJD2’s sound is all over the map; his music has evolved from mash-ups to primarily more instrumental and indie jams showcasing his singing. Both genres work equally well.
The gym was packed for RJD2’s performance, and his more mellow sound allowed listeners to experience the physicality and uniqueness of each song. Both performances were continuous and seamless.
Besides the multiple camera angles provided by cmuTV to liven the stationary performance, RJD2 brought his own video to be projected onto the stage. It featured images that enhanced his stage presence and made statements about the hip-hop culture that influences him. Some of the projections had political overtones, similar to the cultural makeup of his music videos, involving commentary about race and individuality.
RJD2’s performance had a level of predictability, showcasing some of his more popular songs such as “Ghostwriter,” a mash-up with soul vocals and a simple swaggy hip-hop beat and instrumentals.
As stated by AB Main chair and philosophy senior Tomasz Skowronski, “Flosstradamus came with the intention of building the crowd up and was really receptive to what they liked. The headliner, RJD2, played a really good set, sticking to his turntables. The two artists really complemented each other and the crowd was very pleased. Both off and on stage, they were incredible performers.”