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Rap band Aer draws dedicated fans, engages with crowd at Westcott Theater

The Fresh Aer Movement’s House Party Tour with Dizzy Wright came to the Westcott Theater Friday night for a night revolving around marijuana, sex and good music.

Aer is comprised of two friends — David von Mering and Carter Schultz. The band plays an eclectic mash-up of genres that its members don’t quite know how to classify, but is predominantly a mix-up of rap with indie rock and pop influence.

Gabby Dalton, a 18-year-old Cayuga Community College student, has been to 14 Aer concerts over the past two years. She said she first met them when they were starting out in the music industry, playing in small venues.

“I’ve been on hundreds of road trips to see them,” Dalton said. “It’s been really cool to see them grow. We’ve waited hours in line to get the front row when we can.”

Since the show started, Dalton was one of the only women in attendance. The crowd contained mostly high school-aged males and the occasional twenty-something. Nic Dean, a senior at Syracuse University, said he wasn’t surprised by the lack of diversity in the crowd.

“They’re like frat bros, so who’s going to look up to them?” Dean said. “High schoolers. And I don’t mean that to diss them, they have really dope lyrics. It’s just who’s drawn to them.”

The first act of the night was NJOMZA, an up-and-coming artist off of hip-hop artist Mac Miller’s “Most Dope” label. NJOMZA maintained a sultry, laid-back vibe that got the audience moving throughout the set.

She told the crowd that Aer’s House Party tour was the first tour she’s ever been on, but she took the stage with confidence.

“This is my first tour ever so this is super exciting,” NJOMZA told the crowd during her set. “I have a half a bottle of Jameson sitting in my stomach.”

NJOMZA danced around the stage every once in a while, but she mostly stayed rooted to her spot at the microphone, where she sang songs about sex, smoking weed and exes.

After a brief set change, rapper Dizzy Wright took the stage. The Las Vegas native said he “came to put the good vibes in the air.”

Tyshone Fennell came out to Syracuse from Schenectady, New York, to see Wright with his friend Trey Prescott and Prescott’s 8-year-old nephew. The three were there early to stand right in the center of the front row. Fennell, 18, said he enjoys Wright’s music because “it’s real” and talks about “real” issues and ideas like world peace.

“His music is chill, it’s positive, it brings people together,” Fennell said.

Wright came out on stage accompanied by a hype man, but Wright’s energy was palpable right from the beginning, re-energizing the crowd after the set change. He was fast on his feet and engaged the crowd throughout the night.

“If there’s one thing you all take away from tonight, remember one f*ckin’ thing,” Wright said. “Kill ‘em with kindness.”

The lyrics to his songs were emotionally charged, discussing issues surrounding peace and race. His song “I Need Answers” dealt with the way black people are treated by the police force in light of Ferguson.

About half way through his set, Wright said it was time for a “smoke break,” and asked for a blunt on stage. He then smoked in front of the crowd.

Morgan Conover, a junior writing and Middle Eastern studies major, said she was shocked by the act and didn’t feel as if Wright had the star power to pull it off.

“I was like ‘what the f*ck, is this actually happening right now?’ How is that okay for him to do that?” Conover said. “It’s not like he’s Wiz Khalifa or Kid Cudi or anyone or even like he has any star quality at all. I’ve never even heard of him before tonight. How could he think he could pull that off?”

Finally, Aer made it on stage. By this time, the crowd had begun to disperse following Wright’s set.

From the second Aer entered the stage, Schultz was electric, showing extreme energy in both his movements and his rapping. Conover said his engagement with the crowd put her experience over the edge.

“I loved it so much and a lot of it had to do with (Schultz),” Conover said. “He just had so much energy, he was so animated and into the crowd.”

There were a few moments in the set where Shultz and von Mering seemed to have difficulty connecting with one another. Schultz started to speak and connect with the crowd a few times between songs, but was quickly shut down by von Mering, who seemed to prefer sticking to the music.

But despite their differences the two complimented one another. Schultz’s unparalleled energy lasted throughout the show, as he used the entire stage and the hands of hundreds of his fans to crowd surf and get the crowd hyped up. Von Mering was focused on the music, staying rooted on stage with his guitar. He roamed around the stage for only a few songs.

Schultz and von Mering played a mixture of their old and new material. At the end of the night, the duo said goodbye and abruptly left the stage. But the audience wanted more, chanting for an encore.

The duo came out to perform one final song to the crowd. Dizzy Wright joined Aer on stage and ended the show in harmony.

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