Sweat, weed and drowned hippopotamuses a Homecoming Howl do not make

What makes a good homecoming show? Is it copious amounts of weed and alcohol? Is it mosh pits or crowd surfing? Perhaps the secret behind a great concert at the U is enough compiled crowd sweat to drown three hippopotamuses.

Well, Friday’s Homecoming Howl concert with Kidz in the Hall and N*E*R*D had all of those things covered, but still lacked a quality that would have had students walking away from the University Green contented and fully satisfied.

For weeks leading up to the show, there was a huge buzz around campus and students simply couldn’t wait to get more inebriated than they did on prom night and check out the seemingly upbeat and exciting N*E*R*D.

Instead, those excited fans were provided with a concert at which the opening act outshined the headliner. Somehow, the featured act took the stage and wasted the initial crowd excitement, paralyzing it with an excruciatingly boring set that had more people walking away than bopping their heads. Just fifteen minutes into their performance, hundreds of students strolled away from the crowd with their heads and spirits dragging, as if they’d been told Christmahanakwanzaka had been canceled.

So, in the aftermath of a show that had many feeling simply “bleh,” I was left wondering – what makes a good Homecoming show, and what sort of performers fit the bill?

First off, we need an act we’ve all heard of and can easily recognize. It seems as though UM kids listen to songs like “Whatever You Like” more often than the somber and not-so-catchy “Love Bomb” by N*E*R*D. And that’s not a bad thing. I’ll admit T.I.’s sugar-daddy anthem has a play count over 20 in my iTunes, and in all honesty if I’d heard the King of the South singing it on Friday I would’ve danced my sweaty Reggie Miller (retro alert!) jersey off.

Next, we need an act with enough energy and excitement to match or even exceed ours. As college kids, we’re naturally happy and joyous about most things – and if you throw in some alcohol and drugs, there are few things that wouldn’t make us jolly concertgoers. So if performers can’t make their enthusiasm resonate with a crowd of thousands, we’re left hanging high and dry and ready to further the evening’s festivities elsewhere. Just weeks ago, when Wyclef joined Jay-Z at a free show for Obama in downtown Miami, the former Fugee had just about everyone swinging articles of clothing over their head. And that’s the sort of zeal we need!

Finally, the U needs an act whose sound can resonate at a venue like the Green. This seems like a given, but it’s pretty apparent that unless you were in the pit directly in front of the stage, N*E*R*D’s sound was just faint enough that you wouldn’t be drawn in to stay and watch. Artists who have anthems and big records can sonically draw in listeners from afar, even if they don’t recognize the songs. And with an outdoor show like the Homecoming Howl, that’s an essential component.

If you were at this year’s Homecoming Howl, you may have left fulfilled, disappointed or too sloppy to know the difference, but there’s no doubt that next year’s show should get a universal consensus that it was the absolute shit, in a good way. If someone listens to the priceless advice above, that shouldn’t be an issue and perhaps next year we’ll all be rocking with the likes of Kanye, Chris Brown or another fitting and worthy performer.

October 26, 2008


Dan Buyanovsky

Senior Writer

2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Sweat, weed and drowned hippopotamuses a Homecoming Howl do not make”

  1. berry says:

    i love dan buyanovsky. don’t be meannn

  2. Danielle says:

    Dear Mr. Buyanovsky,

    I do not intend to question your musical tastes, though I’d like to point out that Pharrell Williams is an incredibly talented producer and musician alike. I would like to mention that I am very disappointed at your ignorance as to what makes for a good performance. As the Edge Editor I would expect you to realize that being mainstream or incredibly famous does not instantly ensure that you will have an entertaining performance. Rather, it is energy and talent that provide entertainment, and I would be absolutely astonished if you were to disagree that N*E*R*D* did not explode on that stage with an insane amount of energy and I would undoubtedly call for your resignation as Edge editor if you denied that N*E*R*D* was not incredibly talented and innovative. Additionally, there is no artist that is famous enough to make every single UM student happy. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but we have an incredibly diverse student population who more than likely enjoy all different types of music. I can guarantee you that if T.I. or Chris Brown played next year’s homecoming concert there would still be people leaving the concert discontented. Now I’d like to make it clear that I am not N*E*R*D*’s biggest fan, in fact I only own one of their cds, but please consider what would happen if Chris Brown or Kanye West (infinitely more famous to be sure) had played at homecoming. Would either of them have encouraged crowd surfing and then pulled these people on-stage and danced with them throughout the concert? Would anyone more famous have been shouting U over and over again and been so intent on arousing our school spirit? I doubt it. I definitely agree with you that N*E*R*D* is not the most famous band around. But seriously, they put on a great show. It was high-energy, incredibly entertaining and in my personal opinion they put way more effort into this show than any other artist who may have been more famous would have. And most importantly, I’d like to point out that the Homecoming concert is completely free to students, so what right do you have complaining that N*E*R*D* is not famous enough? I mean come on Dan, stop being so negative and appreciate what your fellow students are accomplishing for your entertainment. Sorry it didn’t live up to your expectations, sorry they were not famous enough for you, but in my opinion stating that N*E*R*D*’s performance was not entertaining is simply ignorant.

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