By: Andrew Garison
Last Friday night, the newly refurbished Wilson Auditorium hosted UPB’s annual Fall Concert. This year, the organization brought Bryce Vine and Blanco Brown to JMU for a night of music and fun. Both artists performed amazing sets that were well received by all students in attendance.
Blanco Brown took the stage first. Brown is a singer, songwriter, and record producer based in Atlanta, Georgia. As he explained it, he was raised, “both in the hood, and in the country,” and this background comes through clearly in his music. Brown’s distinctive music style combines elements of rap and hip hop with country music. He sings and raps with a slight country accent that adds to his sound and aesthetic.
Brown performed a lot of songs off his new album Honeysuckle and Lightning Bugs. The energetic crowd danced along with his hits “Georgia Power” and “Ghett Ol Memories.” These songs covered a range of moods and topics, demonstrating Brown’s skill as a songwriter. Throughout the show, his DJ played two short intermissions, mixing in well-known pop songs as well his own beats. Students cheered upon hearing the opening verses “Hey Ya” by Outkast and “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash.
His set ended with a fantastic performance of his song “The Git Up,” which was made famous by the social media app Tik Tok. The students in the crowd erupted with cheers and happily danced around to the new hot track. Blanco Brown’s set was met with praise from the students in attendance.
“I want to listen to some more Blanco Brown songs now,” said Gwen Ward, a sophomore Kinesiology major, after the show.
Bryce Vine was the second performer of the night. He started his set off strong with a high energy rap number. Vine’s backing band, composed of guitar, drums, and an elaborate DJ set up provided powerful instrumentals to compliment his vocal performance. There were a few musical surprises during the night. Guitar solos were worked into some songs, like “The Fall,” and Vine’s DJ brought out a trumpet and played along to his hits, “I’m Not Alright” and “Sour Patch Kids.” This choice in instrumentation gave his songs a certain edge that could please fans of rap and rock n roll alike.
The crowd of students could be seen singing and dancing to every track. At one point he held his microphone out to the crowd, prompting them to sing along. The crowd responded right on queue and sang the verse word for word. Vine was touched by this moment and had to share his appreciation with the students.
“I am really feeling the love tonight,” he told his fans. Of course, that love went both ways. Multiple times during his set, purple and gold lights flashed to the beat of the music.
Vine’s performance was also well received by students in the audience. Annie Grinnals, a sophomore Hospitality major and long-time Bryce Vine fan, thought the show was amazing. “Even sitting the back was as good as being up in the front row,” she said.
UPB works hard to bring all kinds of music acts to campus. If you missed this semester’s exciting concert, be sure to check out UPB’s Spotlight Sounds, a monthly concert series held in TDU. Also, be on the lookout for news about the Spring Concert. More information is available at this link: https://info.jmu.edu/upb/events/