Carnegie Mellon’s Spring Carnival was topped off this Saturday by a performance from artist DRAM, a name derived from an acronym for the descriptor, “Does Real Ass Music.”
The concert was located inside in Wiegand Gymnasium instead of outside between the Cohon Center and Purnell Center, where the Wale concert was hosted last year. Wiegand was filled with thick fog from the fog machines, and the fog was cut through by laser-like colored lights and projections.
DRAM’s DJ warmed the crowd up with several hits that were not DRAM’s, from “Mo Bamba” to “Old Town Road.” It did work to spark engagement from the crowd, with students jumping in unison before DRAM even made his way to the stage.
He started out with songs that were less familiar, but kept crowd engagement up with lots of moments of call and response in between songs.
He led students in a memorial chant for recently deceased Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller and controversial Florida rapper XXXTentacion. DRAM is credited with giving XXXTentacion a big boost early in his career when he brought him out as a surprise guest while opening for Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. tour.
The poster advertising the concert across campus featured an adorable smiling picture of DRAM resting his face on his hands on a pink background, a pose he emulated when introducing the song “I think you’re cute.”
DRAM certainly amped up the cuteness while cuddling with a stuffed giraffe that got passed up from the audience, and I believe got returned to the original owner, as I saw someone walking out of Wiegand carrying it.
He wrapped up several of his hits in a row, going from “Cash Machine” to “Cha Cha” to “Broccoli.”
A striking moment for audience members was when he hopped off stage to mingle as he performed his second rendition of his hit song “Broccoli.” Carnegie Mellon concert-goers were at first very polite, giving DRAM a wide berth as he reached the edge of the crowd. However, as he finished up the song, students got less timid and he began to be thronged by students in the center of the crowd.
DRAM closed out the show by playing “Live Shek Wes Die Shek Wes” disappearing as the crowd chanted along.
The choice for who to select for the Carnival concert is a difficult one, since AB Concerts must balance familiarity, attainability, and quality of the acts. DRAM resolved this dilemma well by having a few well received hits, but also putting on a show that was overall engaging and fun.