Chase Gaewski | Asst. Photo EditorArts & Entertainment
Despite small crowd, Aer captivates audience, inspires young musicians
A small crowd only took up a fraction of The Westcott Theater, but its energy still seemed to fuel the performers at Aer’s concert on Saturday night.
Aer has grown in popularity recently, according to its biography on ReverbNation.com. The band’s latest release, “What You Need,” rose to the No. 1 album on the iTunes hip-hop chart.
Kalen Matherne, a freshman communications design major, said she knew about the band from various music websites. She also said she is most familiar with the song, “Fell I Bring,” which was recently listed on iTunes’s “New & Noteworthy” page.
The Westcott’s doors opened at 7 p.m. and the first warm-up act took to the stage a little after 8 p.m.
Backhand Fam performed the first set of the night. The group consisted of Guy Harrison Campbell and Cartier Sims, two Syracuse University students.
“We are good friends with Aer,” said Campbell, a junior public communications major.
He also said Backhand Fam has opened for Aer in the past. As a newer artist, he learns a lot from watching Aer’s performances.
“I love how they do their sets very casual so you feel like you know them,” Campbell said.
Campbell is currently working on two new songs with the group. Working with them helps him develop his skills of understanding rhythm, tempo and transitioning between songs. He said it’s good to pick up on that as an artist.
Another of the openers was New York City-based rapper Yonas. His music was much more dubstep-infused than the other openers, and included remixes of many popular songs.
“I like a lot of his stuff, but he is not very innovative,” said Carmen Carbone, a junior at the Rochester Institute of Technology, who was in town to see the show.
Yonas’ rendition of “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People had a much quicker beat and hip-hop vibe than the original and energized the crowd. The small cluster of concertgoers jumped — some wildly — to the loud, quick beat of the remix.
“I like these intimate shows,” Yonas said. “I feel like I can connect with everyone in the audience.”
Many in the crowd also reached out anxiously to grab Yonas’ hand as he glided across the stage, rapping precisely to the beat of the turntables.
Aer came on stage with a rush of liveliness, making it clear the group was more about entertaining the audience than some of the earlier performers were. The crowd fed off the band’s energy and animated stunts, like pretending the turntables were on fire.
As Aer’s rappers, David von Mering and Carter Schultz, exchanged verses, the small crowd clustered close to the stage and bounced to the beat.
When the group introduced an electric guitar, the band’s sound leaned more toward reggae and indie, which the audience cheered on.
Justin Carll, a junior at the Rochester Institute of Technology, said he is a fan of Aer’s sound. He decided to make the trip up to Westcott for the show.
“I like almost everything they play. They’ve got a good flow,” Carll said.
After the show, Aer interacted with fans and sold merchandise as the crowd filtered out to start Saturday evening festivities.
Campbell said that even though he thinks Aer always performs well, this show was not quite as exciting as some of the group’s other sold-out shows in Boston. He said he thinks the reason is that Aer did not do very much promotion for this show.
Even though the show did not have the impressive turnout of some of Aer’s other shows, Campbell said he thinks all of the groups there still had fun and did their best to engage the smaller audience.
Said Campbell: “We always put 100 percent into everything we do, and I’m sure they feel the same.”
Contact Shannon: email@example.com
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