Turned up: Kid Ink, Skizzy Mars pump up volume in Schine Underground
The layer of sweat glossing Kid Ink’s 100-plus tattoos only grew thicker as the night went on. It was with good reason, too, as he constantly danced back and forth on stage.
Despite what he calls a “shaky stage” in some places, Kid Ink energized Schine Underground with his dance moves on Monday night. The concert was the first of the year in the Bandersnatch Music Series presented by University Union.
“You definitely have to find your groove,” Kid Ink said in an interview after the concert. “I had fun. Usually I just go all out. You can’t really fail performing if you just have fun more than anything.”
Skizzy Mars opened his set 10 minutes after 8 p.m. Mars, born Myles Mills, had been to Syracuse University before, but not as a performer.
“I actually applied here,” the 19-year-old rapper said in an interview before the show. “I wanted to go to Newhouse for a while.”
Instead, he went to Union College before doing music full time. The Manhattan native is also a self-professed Syracuse basketball fan.
“I’m a huge Melo and Knicks fan,” he said. “That (2003) Syracuse team was my team.”
He could’ve won over the crowd just by saying that. Instead, he let heavy beats clamoring over clever lyrics and sing-along choruses take over his set list.
The crowd of more than 100 started head nodding and foot tapping as soon as the first song started. He implored the crowd members to wave their arms to match the beat during some songs, while red and yellow lights added to the mellow effect of others.
His slower songs included many acoustic features and lulled the crowd, but his strong stage presence snapped fans out of their trance. The lights were static for the first half of his set and his crowd interaction stopped at just arm waving.
Right on cue, his newly released song “Colours” fostered many different colors flashing all over the stage as a nice change of pace. He began high-fiving the front row of students and moved around the stage.
By the time he performed his most popular song, “Douchebag,” the crowd got back into it. Even those who weren’t familiar with the song were singing the chorus the second time it came around.
His lyrics were crisp, even with his heavy beats. The crowd cheered at the end of each song and got more excited after the many times he implored, “Syracuse, make some f***ing noise.”
And make noise they did. By the time Mars was finished, the crowd had eclipsed 200 people and was ready for the headliner.
A 30-minute break ensued. Ten minutes before the headliner took the stage, chants of “Kid Ink” started popping up in the crowd.
Finally Kid Ink took the stage, asking the crowd, “You all ready to turn up in here tonight?”
After a deafeningly loud first song, his disc jockey from Tha Alumni Music Group dropped the volume to make his lyrics more audible. Many in the front row sang along to his first song, “La La La.”
Between his beat-inspired dance moves and grin, the crowd could not help but smile as the rapper performed. His dance moves motivated the crowd to move as well, and he engaged the audience with ease.
But as excited as they already were, the crowd members lost it when fog from a fog machine emerged at his back. With lower lights and rising fog, Kid Ink had the audience under his thumb.
“He was really able to connect because he went all over the stage and didn’t stand in one part,” said David Shahar, a freshman sport management major. “He was really interactive with the crowd, so he made everybody feel like they wanted to be part of the show.”
By the end, when he asked the crowd to “turn up” one last time, the audience responded. His song “I Just Want It All” brought everybody’s arms up and made the first few rows sing along.
At the end of his set, Kid Ink began signing baseball caps and other apparel passed toward the stage through the fog.
He closed by signing his own Starter snapback and tossing it over his head into the crowd like a wedding bouquet. Trying to snag the hat, students in the first two rows almost brought down the metal barriers and fell onto the stage.
“I sign as much as I can before they kick me off stage,” he said. “But I always make sure I have a snapback to throw out. It’s been a habit since the beginning.”
His conscious effort to connect with fans was apparent to Aleksandra Trifunovic, a sophomore undeclared major in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Said Trifunovic: “It was very fluid. It definitely touched my heart. It was the time of my life.”
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