By JACKSON GALAN
Published: May 2, 2012
Many believed Fordham’s Spring Weekend 2012 to be a flop before it even began. The big-name artist would be Jay Sean, whose name is certainly not as recognizable as last year’s nostalgia-stars Third Eye Blind, or MGMT who headlined in 2010. He does that song “Down…Baby are you down, down, down, down, down?” Indeed, many of the Fordham population seemed down; not agreeable, but glum.
Nevertheless, Fordham College at Lincoln Center students headed to the at Rose Hill campus in droves, ready to take advantage of free ice cream, hot dogs and music. Security scoured purses for stashed alcohol, commemorative shirts were doled out and Frisbees sailed from hand to hand on Martyr’s Lawn. Dirty Bird, the first opening act, took the stage at 1 p.m. before a meager standing audience and a scattering of turf-top loungers.
The quartet ran through a set of earnest indie-rock with spectacular result. Frontman Alex DeSimine’s mellow, heartfelt vocal and emphatic accompaniment on acoustic guitar meshed seamlessly with Asher Bank’s driving drum work and Zach Moses’s electric lead ornaments. The pulse of the band, however, emanated from bass player Alex Tremitiere, whose dynamic lines and back-up vocal seemed to dictate the energy of the performance. The crowd responded with hearty applause, and Dirty Bird left the stage in triumph.
Such success of a relatively unheard of band proved that performers don’t neccesarily need a big name to enact a successful performance. The opening act could not have been more appropriate for the time and place, and the stage was well-set for Jay Sean. More people poured in and the crowd became denser. A DJ took the stage and, in attempts to get the crowd fired up, yelled “Are y’all ready for Jay Sean!?”
That’s when things started to go downhill. Because, yes, we were ready for Jay Sean, and no, he did not arrive. The DJ continued to play prerecorded music, just like we’d been listening to in the interim, only now we had a DJ interrupting it to yell things like “Make some noise!” He sounded angry. The stage was occupied by the band’s guitarist—tuning up—and keyboard player—standing there. The energy level took a hit.
Jay Sean eventually took the stage, and the crowd livened up. He is a talented and enthusiastic performer, with plenty of stage presence and a tight backing band. There were some minor hiccups (his request for a repeat-after-me of “Take money money Take money money mon-ay” didn’t get a repeat, and he left stage mid-set to simply take a break), but the crowd keyed into his generally festive vibe and the show went smoothly. He closed the show with “Down,” and everybody moved on.