Hot and ‘Cole’ reactions

By Danielle Gittleman and Megan Pendagast

J. Cole, backed by a live band, performs for the Rider audience after opening act Miguel on Oct. 18.

Rider’s fall concert is something students look forward to every year, with a lot of talk and excitement revolving around who the performer will be.

When the announcement was made that Miguel and J. Cole would be this year’s fall concert performers, the news was greeted with mixed emotions.

Despite the doubt from students, the J. Cole tickets sold out quite rapidly and prompted an increase in the Student Recreation Center’s (SRC) capacity.

“The original capacity that we were given was 1,400 students,” said Joyce Suarez, special events chair of the Student Entertainment Council. “That number of tickets was sold out in six hours. Then, our Fire Marshall increased our capacity to 1,700. To sell out the other 300 tickets took about a day and a half. So in two days, all the tickets were gone.”

On the night of the concert, some students lined up as early as two hours before the doors were set to open.

Once the doors were opened, students were greeted by a huge stage in the SRC’s gym, similar to last year. An obvious difference, though, was the live band that backed both Miguel and J. Cole, a change which some thought to be positive.

“I watched [Miguel’s guitarist] a lot,” sophomore journalism major Justin Rodney said. “He’s really talented and knew when to jam. Both bands were great. Dreamville, J. Cole’s band, was really talented, too.”

Others, on the other hand, did not consider the live band to be an improvement.

“It [was] hard to recognize his most popular songs,” junior marketing major Brian Washington said. “It would have been a lot better for me if he did like Lupe last year and just had a DJ play his songs with no lyrics while he rapped over the beat.”

After a long wait, Miguel finally took the stage with his backing band. His music was soulful and it was clear that he was actually singing, not lip-syncing, which pleased the crowd. His performance was well-received by some in attendance.

“I really liked Miguel,” sophomore public relations major Jade Morton said. “I had never heard of him before, but he sounded great.”

Others commended Miguel on his stage presence, including junior behavioral neuroscience student Christina O’Brien.

“The opening act was actually really good — he was very charismatic,” O’Brien said.

Even though Miguel was a great performer, the crowd seemed to grow restless. All of his songs were slow and some were hard to dance to. After a while they began to sound the same, which made it feel as if it had gone on for too long for some.

“Even though I actually enjoyed Miguel’s performance more than anything J. Cole performed, he stayed on stage way too long for an opening act,” Washington said.

The wait between Miguel and J. Cole’s sets felt like an eternity, causing many people to become impatient and others to leave. Lack of timeliness was a recurring theme throughout the concert.

Yes, the instruments and wires had to be moved around, but it seemed as if it could have been a little more organized in order to shorten the wait time, which may have prompted students to remain for the duration of the concert.

“The wait was so long that I didn’t even stay for J. Cole,” O’Brien said.

When J. Cole finally took the stage, the excitement radiating from the crowd was palpable, but his performance drew mixed reactions.

“I liked it because J. Cole is a very known artist,” junior psychology major Marilu Mozo said. “I was there with my roommate and we were close to the front. It was awesome.”

Some students, such as senior radio and TV major Brianna Levy, were not as impressed.

“Considering I’ve seen him perform before, I had really high hopes for his performance,” Levy said. “But after waiting [a long time] for him to come on I was really disappointed. All the hype wore off and he became just another diva performer.”

For some students, the fall concert was great and J. Cole was phenomenal. For others, the choice wasn’t their first pick so they refused to attend the show. Then there were the students who were indifferent to the choice and attended the concert just to say they went.

“The concert was so much fun, but I think they need more variety within the artists,” sophomore popular music culture major Jamila Purnell said.

This year’s concert evoked mixed reactions, but the general consensus appears to be that Miguel was very entertaining, though his performance dragged on and ultimately J. Cole didn’t start performing until almost midnight and didn’t completely deliver.

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