BY NATALIE LARIMER
The Drake Relays concert was held last Friday at 9:15 p.m. on Forest Avenue. This year was the first year the Student Activities Board (SAB) brought two artists to the concert, Marc E. Bassy and AJR. This is also the first year I have attended the Relays concert, mainly because Skizzy Mars and Lil Yachty were the last two and I really couldn’t care less about their music. I decided to go this year because, upon a first listen, AJR sounded pretty decent.
I never ended up listening to Bassy before the concert, and I really should have because I did not enjoy it at all, and I would have been better prepared. They say that hindsight is 20/20, and I believe that specifically applies to when you accidentally attend a concert for the alternate universe version of a Jason Mraz who followed the rap route.
Bassy is the embodiment of the fake-deep Soundcloud rapper who accidentally got a hit song and now his music can be heard blasting from your least favorite neighbors. His lyrics are the stereotypical wannabe-rapper lyrics about women and partying, which alone are bad enough, but on top of being a terrible lyricist, he also puts on a really underwhelming stage show.
I think the best way to sum up Bassy’s performance is to quote some of the notes in my phone that I took during the concert in order to write this review. For starters, I wrote, “dance moves like Donald Trump on SNL,” which accurately describes his charisma.
Then I noted, “sounds recorded but badly,” then “is literally recorded,” followed by “he walked away from the mic during the lyrics, and it still played,” and finally “DJ / hype-man started rapping to cover up the recording when Bassy stopped.” My literal Soundcloud rapper friend from high school did this exact same thing at his debut performance because he could not rap as fast as his recording.
To sum this up, I ended up doing ironic magic tricks with my friends for the remainder of Bassy’s performance. When I looked up, Bassy was shirtless, and I do not think I have ever turned back around so quickly. My favorite part of his whole show was when he left the stage and they started playing Africa by Toto as they set up for AJR.
After this experience, I was slightly hesitant to stay for the rest of the show, but I am extremely glad I did. AJR came on and played one of the best shows I have ever attended.
Not only did AJR have great songs with non-problematic lyrics, but they actually put on a great performance as well. What a concept. The lead singer was jumping around and got the audience really involved with everything, and the band actually showed us how to make a remix at one point, and their remix of the words “Drake University” is on its way to my top ten list.
AJR has three members: Adam, Jack and Ryan Met (Breaking News: the first initials are the band name), who are all brothers and get along way better than I do with my siblings, and we are pretty close. I imagine that this is the band that would have come from the Jonas Brothers if Disney was not involved with them. AJR records all their songs in the living room of their apartment that they share, and Spotify actually has a track commentary version of their first album, “Living Room,” which explains this and provides a lot of context for how they write as well as what meanings they draw from their music.
All three members use various instruments and programs to create their music, and they all also sing, so basically they can do anything. In my notes I had written, “If I made a band, I’d make this one,” and I think that is honestly how I can accurately display my love for them. Their songs are fun and interesting, both lyrically and musically. I have been listening to their album “The Click” since the concert, and there is no end in sight.
The Relays concert in general was very strange. The first part with Bassy was an experience to say the least, and the second part with AJR was so fun that I did not care how badly I was dancing in front of all my peers. I was looking around occasionally and actually saw a public safety officer singing along with AJR, which made my night.
I look forward to what the band committee comes up with next year, especially because their idea of two bands to appease most students was very effective and ended up working very well.