New diverse performers, entertainment draws students to Crocs Next Step Concert Tour to KSU

Melissa Dilley

After successful 2007 showing, concert returns to Kent for second year with Cartel and Yung Joc acts

The host of the Crocs Next Step Concert Tour said they never come to a campus twice – but they made Kent State an exception.

Last year Guster was part of the tour and Tom Simpson, assistant director for the Center for Student Involvement, said the sponsors were more than willing to work for Kent State again.

“The Guster tour came for Homecoming and those involved had such a pleasant experience dealing with us that they broke their promise and came back,” he said.

The tour was entertaining students long before the 8 p.m. concert time, with free Crocs apparel available in Risman Plaza and Xbox 360 tournaments for last-minute ticket buyers in the M.A.C. Center.

The events continued during the concert, keeping students engaged throughout the night.

Some used the extra entertainment to occupy themselves during bands they may not have wished to see. Brittany Sara, freshman interior design major, said she had never been to a concert where there was so much to do.

“It made it a lot more fun because my friends and I didn’t really like the first band,” Sara said. “So, instead of being bored we had the opportunity to do something else but still be at the concert.”

Although many students hadn’t entered the gymnasium yet as he performed, and many said they had never heard of him, MC Lars, the opening act, swore the crowd was the best on the tour so far.

“They were responsive and awesome,” Lars said. “Definitely the biggest and best crowd yet.”

While the crowd was less interested in being in their seats for the opening act, as soon as they saw the lights dim and Cartel’s music begin to play, the lobby cleared out and the show really began.

The crowd cheered “one more time” after Cartel left the stage, proving they had a large fan-base in the audience. And before the show even began, many students said Undergraduate Student Government made the right choice in bringing the band.

Patrick Tucker, junior computer information systems major, has been a Cartel fan since high school and seen them in concert six times. Tucker said he has been around for a lot of concerts at Kent, and in his opinion, they don’t always make the best choices. This time however, he said they got it right with the diversity and popularity of the bands.

“Usually I think, ‘who are they asking about this stuff?,’ but this time we can see groups that are upbeat and different, which can appeal to, and make it a good time for everyone,” he said.

Yung Joc may have been the biggest act of the night, judging by the screams of concert-goers when other performers asked if they were ready to see the chart-topping rapper. Sophomore business major Michelle Toth said she has seen lots of rap concerts with her friends, so there was no way she could miss this one.

“I like that Kent brought someone who is really big right now,” Toth said. “I think everyone can have a good time with him because his music is popular and people know him.”

While some came to see a certain act, other students said they came simply because a $10 concert and a night out wasn’t a bad deal. Some students even got work done during the concert. Freshman dietetics major Christine Pfaff was required to attend an event for her freshman FlashPoints class, and she said this was definitely the best one she could find.

“I’m not really interested in any of the bands here but it’s a good deal for a concert, and it’s right next door,” Pfaff said. “Plus, I’m getting credit for it.”

Whether students loved or loathed the acts at the concert, Mike Szabo, director of programming for USG, said he tried to choose bands that appeal to the majority of Kent students.

“The choices are mostly based on what Kent wants and who’s available,” Szabo said. “But, there is always the element of what and who we can afford.”

The profits from the concert, which cost USG more than $30,000 to stage, go toward future concerts. Floor tickets sold out before the concert began. Upper-level tickets were still being sold even after Yung Joc, the final performer, took the stage. At the end of the night, Szabo said more than 2,200 tickets were sold.

Contact on-campus entertainment editor Melissa Dilley at at [email protected].