Grouplove lights up Kent state

Brandon Koziol

Hands flailed, heads banged and two students dropped to the ground as Grouplove packed a punch at the M.A.C. Center to kick off their Campus Consciousness Tour.

Students and Grouplove fans braved the 40-degree weather Thursday, waiting outside for more than 20 minutes longer than when the doors were supposed to open at 6 p.m.

“I can’t feel my fingers,” commented freshman pre-nursing major Jasmine Crump.

However, the frigid weather didn’t keep students from showing love to Grouplove at the concert, which was put on by the undergraduate student government at Kent State.

The M.A.C. Center wasn’t full by far — but fans were still pumped.

“I just like how fun they are; they’re just a really fun, loud … band,” said freshman fine arts major Gabby Parsson.

The band of the night had two opening acts: Saints of Valory and The Knocks.

All the way from Austin, Texas, Saints of Valory came to Kent State to play songs of their EP, “Possibilities.” The alternative band even surprised the crowd with a cover of Lorde’s chart-topping single “Royals.”

Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson of The Knocks then took the stage to drop some beats.

The electronic music duo played mash-ups of hit songs by Beyoncé and Usher while singing, pounding drums and playing the keyboard. Some technical difficulties forced a pause in their act. Also, two students — a guy and a girl —collapsed at different times in the mosh pit surrounding the stage. Disoriented and unable to walk, a group of police officers had to carry each one of them to the exit, as their feet dragged across the ground.

“The opening acts were better than I expected,” senior nursing major Tram Le said. “The crowd really seemed to enjoy Saints of Valory and The Knocks — got them hyped up and dancing.”

At 9 p.m., the lights went down, and it was time.

Introduced with a rap that transformed into a blasting dubstep, Grouplove fans screamed as the band took sage and woke up the crowd from the opening acts.

Lights flashed and panned in all directions as Grouplove rocked their first song “I’m With You.” Keyboardist and singer Hannah Hooper whipped her head around and danced in a bodysuit skeleton outfit while guitarist Christian Zucconi sang and played guitar in a long, dress-like patterned T-shirt.

The crowd continued to roar as they played songs from their newest album “Spreading Rumors” and also fan favorites such as “Tongue Tied” and “Itchin’ On A Photograph.”

Grouplove ended with an elaborate light show and did an encore of their song “Ways to Go.”

But Thursday’s concert wasn’t just about music; it also promoted green initiatives.

Before the concert started, students were able to mingle in the “Eco Village,” where different tables were set up to support the Campus Consciousness Tour’s mission.

Fans got a chance to win a photo op with the band if they participated in the “Action Card Program” and went to four different booths, which all dealt with environmental issues.

“The Campus Consciousness Tour especially is important to me because I really believe that students and fans of this age are the perfect group to message to because these are kids who are coming out of college, ready to go out there and take on the world,” said Tanner Watt, special programs director for Reverb, the company that runs the Campus Consciousness Tour. “We’re really excited to be here.”

So was Grouplove.

“We’re so happy to be here with you guys tonight,” Zucconi said.

“You have a very beautiful school; thank you for having us,” guitarist Andrew Wessen reiterated.

Contact Brandon Koziol at [email protected].