Grouplove, Childish Gambino display variety at annual A&O Blowout

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Grouplove, Childish Gambino display variety at annual A&O Blowout

Childish Gambino performs as the headliner at the annual A&O Blowout on Friday night. The other bands included AyOH and Grouplove.

Childish Gambino performs as the headliner at the annual A&O Blowout on Friday night. The other bands included AyOH and Grouplove.

Sarah Nelson/Daily Senior Staffer

Childish Gambino performs as the headliner at the annual A&O Blowout on Friday night. The other bands included AyOH and Grouplove.

Sarah Nelson/Daily Senior Staffer

Sarah Nelson/Daily Senior Staffer

Childish Gambino performs as the headliner at the annual A&O Blowout on Friday night. The other bands included AyOH and Grouplove.

Tyler Pager, Reporter

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From rock to indie to rap, students heard from all corners of the music industry Friday night at A&O Blowout.

Donald Glover, also known by his stage name Childish Gambino, headlined the concert at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Chicago rockers AyOH kicked off the event, opening for indie band Grouplove.

Fresh off the new record “Spreading Rumours,” Grouplove opened with “I’m With You,” the first song off the album. The band followed with hit tracks “Itchin’ on a Photograph” and “Borderlines and Aliens.” In the middle of the set, Grouplove’s drummer, Ryan Rabin, took the microphone to address the crowd.

“Did anyone live in Bobb?” he asked. “Cool. So did I.”

Rabin, who attended the University of South California, was referring to dating a Northwestern student during his college years. She lived in Bobb, and he said he frequently visited her.

“It’s cool,” Rabin said about coming back to Evanston. “I can show the band around.”

Toward the end of the set, the group played “Tongue Tied” and “Ways to Go,” eliciting cheers from the crowd, many of whom sang along.

“Grouplove was amazing live,” said A&O spokeswoman Rosalind Mowitt, a Weinberg senior. “We had known that, and that is why we booked them, but it was just really incredible to see what their live performance and their energy were like.”

Before Gambino took the stage, Ski Trip president and Weinberg senior Kayla Katz announced the winner of a raffle for a free ticket to Ski Trip, a contest all concertgoers were entered into as part of a new partnership between the organization and A&O. Weinberg sophomore Clara Clymer won the trip.

Gambino’s set included hit songs such as “Fire Fly” and “Heartbeat,” and he also freestyled for the crowd and personalized his lyrics for NU, referencing Saturday’s football game against Wisconsin. Swank, a special guest of Gambino’s, also rapped on some of Gambino’s songs. Swank was featured in Gambino’s song “Real Estate,” which also included Tina Fey on the original recording.

In between songs, Gambino talked about his career and gave advice to the crowd.

“People said I left ‘Community’ to be a rapper,” he said. “I don’t want to be a rapper. I just like making music.”

Later, he added, “Do what you like to do, and most likely you’re going to do it for free for a while.”

Gambino, who will release a new album in December titled “Because the Internet,” asked the crowd to give its opinion on some of the beats featured on the album.

Weinberg freshman Yumiko Mannarelli was among the many students who approved of Gambino’s new sound.

“When he played the beat from the new song, I thought it was amazing,” she said. “I’d love to hear him rap on that beat.”

Mannarelli also enjoyed the contrast between Grouplove and Gambino.

“There were a lot of people who came for Grouplove and a lot that came for Childish,” she said. “I’m one of the people who is more attracted to Childish, but I really liked seeing Grouplove perform live. I got to expose myself to another type of music. That’s why I really liked Blowout because it expanded my taste in music. I would have never thought that I would like Grouplove, but I really liked them live.”

While the official count for the concert is not yet available, A&O said the ticket sales matched or exceeded last year’s concert.

A&O chairman Demetrios Cokinos said the energy in the crowd was palpable.

“The coolest thing was I did a lap around the stands to just see how people were reacting and at some of the concerts you see pockets of people that are not really into the music,” the Communication senior said. “But at this show, everybody was on their feet the whole time pumping their arms. Everyone was really engaged the whole time.”

Email: tylerpager2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @tylerpager

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