Matt & Kim, Lupe Fiasco rock A&O’s Fall Blowout

Ava Wallace

Electric blue, flashing stage lights illuminated hundreds of screaming students as they raised their hands in the air and chanted, in unison, “Hip-hop saved my life.” From the stage, rapper Lupe Fiasco held his microphone out to the crowd as he sang along with his audience.

Fiasco performed Friday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena for A&O Productions’ annual Fall Blowout concert. Brooklyn-based dance punk duo Matt & Kim opened the show.

The Chicago-born rapper headlined the concert after months of speculation about his pending performance at Northwestern. Though rumors of Fiasco’s visit began in August, A&O did not officially confirm the artist’s appearance until Oct. 17. Tickets went on sale Friday, Oct. 21.

Despite last year’s Fall Blowout’s popularity – the concert was one of the highest-selling events ever put on by the student organization– Friday’s show did not sell out, said A&O chairman Chase Jackson.

“This year the show didn’t officially sell out – we’re still waiting on numbers – but we came very close,” he said.

But those who attended and stayed until the end of the show – large numbers of students left after Matt & Kim’s set or toward the end of the rapper’s hour long performance – got to hear Fiasco’s advice for NU students.

The artist encouraged students to concentrate on school and find time to have fun. He also asked students to support the current Occupy Wall Street protests going on throughout the country.

“Stay focused, but don’t take school too seriously,” Fiasco said. “And most importantly – Occupy Wall Street!”

In response, the crowd cheered and quickly transitioned to screaming in excitement as the rapper launched into his hit song, “Superstar,” which he dedicated to NU students. Fiasco closed the show with his popular single, “The Show Goes On.”

Throughout the night Fiasco played tracks from all three of his albums including fan-favorites, such as a rock ‘n’ roll version of his first single, “Kick, Push.”

SESP freshman Senami Dosu enjoyed the show, despite only knowing some of Fiasco’s more popular songs.

“I like Lupe a lot more now. It was definitely one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to,” she said.

Energetic openers Matt & Kim warmed up the crowd with an hour-long set that included techno covers of well-known songs such as “Jump on It” and Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend.”

But the duo really got the crowd moving at the end of their performance with their most popular song to date, “Daylight.”

For freshman Ben Terdich, Matt & Kim was the highlight of the night.

“I wasn’t the biggest Lupe fan and I’m not a big fan of rap,” the Weinberg freshman said. “But Matt & Kim, wow, they were great. That’s the kind of stage presence you want.”

On the other hand, Weinberg freshman Karina Kedo thought the duo lacked stage presence.

“Lupe used the stage better; he had a full band,” she said. “It was just hard for them, being just two people in one little area, to have much of a presence.”

Despite her opinion of Matt & Kim’s lack of presence, Kedo did enjoy her overall experience.

“I had a good time,” she said. “The atmosphere was good, both performers were good. I was pleasantly surprised.”

SESP sophomore Dimitri Fautsch similarly enjoyed the show. He also compared this year’s Blowout to last year’s wildly successful show, which sold out in a matter of hours.

“I thought Snoop (Dogg) and (Kid) Cudi were much better,” he said. “I mean, I’m glad I went this year, but I just had a lot higher expectations.”

This year’s Fall Blowout was later in the quarter and also fell on the opening night for many of the University’s theater productions, which may have affected ticket sales.

Communication sophomore Hannah Shapiro chose to watch her friends in an improv performance rather than attend the concert.

“There’s a lot of other theater stuff going on tonight, and you want to go see your friends and support them,” she said.

Additionally, Jackson said the concert may not have had the amount of hype Snoop Dogg and Kid Cudi’s performance did because of this show’s later date. Jackson was nonetheless pleased with ticket sales and how the concert went in general.

“(A&O was) facing a number of setbacks with this show and we felt as though we overcame a huge number of those,” he said. “In that perspective, (the show) went better than we ever could have hoped.”

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