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April 15th, 2013

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Take a “Victory Lap”

The Convocation Center shook from bass and a hype crowd last Monday, the 8th, as Macklemore & Ryan Lewis raised the bar for UPB’s annual Spring Convo Concert.

The event sold out approximately 30 minutes before Macklemore took the stage around 9:00. “The turnout has been great! We just sold out at about 32,000 tickets being sold,” said Liz Rea, the Public Relations Director for UPB.

Yonas, an emerging hip-hop artist from the Bronx, opened up the show with mixes of top 40 songs and playing a few of his own. He maintained a high energy, creating a nice atmosphere for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to take over. “I was really impressed by Yonas, I hadn’t heard of him, but I like his remixes--they were really fun!” said Austin Alley, sophomore Media Arts and Design major.

The instrumental beginning of “Ten Thousand Hands” provided the perfect intro for Macklemore to take the stage along with Ryan Lewis and trumpet player Owuor Arunga. “Thrift Shop” was performed soon after opening with Wanz, an R&B signer from Seattle, jumping in to sing the hook.

Macklemore’s energetic and engaging performance enthralled the audience non-stop, even when taking a more serious, personal role during his performance of “Otherside”­­—a song reflecting on the friends he lost to drug overdoses, as well as his own issues with drug addiction and alcoholism. Ashley Huff, a Junior Geographic Science, said, “I like his music a lot. It has a good message and he is a success story in himself having overcoming personal issues like alcoholism and social issues like same-sex marriage. I appreciate what he’s doing.”

“Same Love” garnered a huge reaction from the audience. Macklemore followed the performance of the song with his perspective and hopes for the future—eliminating homophobia and legalizing same-sex marriage. But, by far, the song that brought out the JMU spirit we know and love was “Can’t Hold Us.” The noise rose, and it was JMU’s turn to impress Macklemore, resulting in him jumping into the crowd, singing a few lines on the floor, then crowd surfing back to the stage. “It was epic!” declared Chris Martin, junior Business Management major and Music Industry minor.

Another highlight of the night was when Macklemore tried on a fur coat belonging to someone in the audience, effectively making that kids life. Macklemore also expressed his wish that he could take the loud rumble that the audience created by pounding on the bleachers with him everywhere he went.

The night finished with an encore performance of “And We Danced” (along with Macklemore’s british alter ego Sir Raven Bowie) and a second playing of “Thrift Shop.”

I’ll leave it with this tweet by @teewanz (the Twitter handle of Wanz, the vocalist on "Thrift Shop"): “JMU went IN tonight and KILLED the bleachers, brought the love, and took the @macklemore & @RyanLewis show off TOP!!!”

 Curious about upcoming concerts? Check out UPB’s website at http://upb.jmu.edu.