Phin Fest 2012 is a surprising success
As the only piece of Phin Fest that ended up occurring this past Saturday, April 28, the concert lineup featuring Joe Driscoll and Gym Class Heroes had a lot riding on it. Did it shine or “Phall Phlat”?
At 6 p.m., the doors of the Athletic Center let in the 30 or so fans that had braved the unseasonably cold temperatures for a coveted spot near the front of the stage. Upon entering the marquee, the same room that the Halloween dance and Snowball take place in, fans were greeted by Steve Laureti, a sole pianist whose faithful covers of old staples (“Piano Man,” for example) interspersed with modern hits such as “California Gurls” kept the small crowd entertained.
Stereo Bomb walked on stage at 6:40 p.m. and began playing half-baked mashups set to a lackluster light show. Those up front spoke to one another as if they were in a café rather than a concert hall. The cheers garnered at the beginning of a song made way for awkward confusion when it was mashed with something uninteresting or unknown.
The only concertgoers moving more than the performers themselves were members of LSPB trying to rustle up support from within the crowd. Throughout Stereo Bomb’s set, more people began to fill out the gym. The greatest applause garnered by the duo came after they noted that they hailed from Rochester. Still, by 7:30, the crowd barely flowed over the boundaries of the basketball court.
At a quarter to 8 p.m., Joe Driscoll took the stage, and for the first time since the show started, the crowd was engaged. This wasn’t Joe’s first trip to Le Moyne and during his introduction, he mentioned that he “hadn’t been here since Dolphy Day.”
An obvious crowd favorite, cheers and claps followed all of his songs and banter. The loose-knit freestyle attitude was far more consistent with the vibes of a college-aged crowd and as the multi-layered beats and rhythm flowed, Joe made it all look easy.
After the third song, Joe began to call up guests whose names were lost in the sea of applause that followed their entrance. The addition of a sax player, DJ and percussionist didn’t improve or detract from Joe’s music; they simply augmented it, giving the already lush soundscape a different flavor.
After three hours of anticipation, the Gym Class Heroes finally took the stage. With a projector system illuminating a backdrop behind them, the Gym Class Heroes proceeded to play song after song. Having never given them a thorough listen, the lyrics were lost on me but the atmosphere was not. The half-full athletic center was packed with constant cheers, jumping and general pandemonium. The band’s banter only added flames to the fire with callbacks to shows they used to play at SU at the beginning of their career.
With general apathy and a sense of major boredom surrounding Phin Fest and upon their announcement as the headliners, Gym Class Heroes was met with a lukewarm reception. But that couldn’t have been less evident at the concert as near-constant jubilation was ubiquitous. I couldn’t appreciate it as much as those taking videos on their cell phones or reaching toward the stage to try and get a high five or handshake but the general good vibes, including a pre-set “YOLO” and “U.S.A.” chant from the crowd, proves that the majority doesn’t always rule.