The Lancaster Event Center lit up with rainbow glow sticks on a chilly Thursday, Oct. 3, for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Homecoming concert. DJ D-Wayne from Lincoln Top 40 radio station 106.3 KFRX introduced the first act, the Cincinnati pop-rock band PUBLIC.
As the band came out on stage, the theme song from “Jurassic Park” rumbled the dirt floor. The band’s first original selection was a great showcase of its talent. With flamboyant, minimalist drumming, soft and careful vocals and a trash can ending, the night was primed for everything to come.
After a second, slower selection, the band led the audience through a series of meme-centric chants and shouts including “bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
As the set progressed, the band displayed some technical prowess through a couple of quick, but solid guitar solos, melodic breakdowns and fluid keyboard riffing. Crowd banter was a regular routine between songs.
One piece was introduced as “a pop song” and the audience was instructed on how to sing the chorus with little difficulty or reluctance. The interactivity with the audience was a testament to the collective atmosphere in the rodeo arena-turned-concert hall.
Even near the show’s end, the crowd still maintained a consistent pulsating of swinging colors and holistic energy. The themes of the music represented universal experience, and the music was obviously touching each individual personally.
The lead vocalist introduced the final track as “everything we got... by one of our favorite composers” and shot a surf rock swing through the crowd with a few spooky licks from classical composer, Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Macabre” worked into the mix. The performance was a righteous one for one of the first fall days of fall.
After the Homecoming royalty introduced themselves on stage, there was a short intermission before the headlining act, Snakehips, a well-networked British electronic duo, usually consisting of James Carter and Oliver Lee, started its set. Only one of the two members was on stage for the evening, but it didn’t seem to hinder the quality of the performance.
Several harrowing synth bass drops led up to the DJ’s ascent to the stage. He pressed one button, and the journey began with a fluttering of playful sampling, usually sped up or slowed down hip hop vocal samples. At the get-go, Snakehips’ sampling seemed to draw mainly from party classics. Snoop Dogg’s“Drop It Like It’s Hot” worked its way into the mix as well as Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz’ “Get Low,” but the sampling was always delivered through the filter of Snakehips’ chaotic beat changes.
Quick snare taps and jittery synthesizer fluttering were commonly used elements of Snakehips’ artillery, and laid against the grandiose backdrop of sugary pop-choruses and rapid-fire rapping. The man himself made the performance seem effortless, and his microphone switched hands rapidly to accommodate his sporadic button-pushing and turntable shuffling.
The audience soaked up the heat from the performance by pushing to the very front of the standing area, leaving about 75% of the arena completely barren and the mixing booth completely exposed. It was obvious the party was on the stage, and everyone migrated as close as possible.
As the set progressed, Snakehips’ diversity in sampling began to surface. Some tracks reached back to early EDM similar to Moby’s “Go” and Daft Punk’s “Homework,” but also reached into some newer classics like Lil Pump and Kanye’s “I Love It” and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll.”
The diversity in Snakehips’ style made it an engaging and enjoyable performance for everyone at the Lancaster Event Center. PUBLIC came out after the show to mingle with the crowd, showing one more time the blurred line between the performers and the audience. It was a night of unification for Huskers and a display of intense camaraderie among students.