Yesterday, Bwog Senior Staffer Sarah Dahl and Deputy Editor Zack Abrams used their press passes for an up-close and personal take on Bacchanal, 2018, whose theme this year was “Pop, Lock, & Bacch it.”
Being able to get close enough to Ty Dolla $ign yesterday to see the words in his tattoos (the neck one says “dolla $ign,” if u didn’t already know) was pretty cool! His performance was the most exciting, as he revved up the crowd and got everyone excited to sing along, throw “twos in the air” (peace signs), and, if you were a girl, climb on top of the shoulders of your nearest male friend. The crowd, in two pens on the right and left of the stage, went wild for him.
Let’s begin at the beginning, though. The day started off with a sizzling performance from Soul For Youth, an on-campus band who got their coveted Bacchanal opener spot by winning the Battle of the Bands back in February. Soul For Youth is a huge band, with 11 student members repping all four class years. Barnard sophomore Julia Roche provided a beautiful range of vocals that harmonized nicely with Columbia freshman Mamadou Yattassaye’s deep voiceovers. The band had a strong brass and woodwind section, with a trombonist, two saxophone players, and a trumpeter. The trumpeter, David Acevedo, said confidently that he knew they would win the Battle of the Bands. Trombonist Timoteo Cruz was more humble, saying he knew there was a lot of tough competition. Other members of Soul For Youth said they were stoked to play Bacchanal, and Timoteo added that it was “probably the biggest show we’ll play in a while.”
St. Beauty appeared next; a two-woman band from Atlanta. The duo worked it, rocking along to their songs. They were both incredible dancers, and it was fun to watch them jam musically and physically. They got really into expressing their music through their bodies. “Not Discuss It,” their most popular song on Spotify, was the strongest crowd hit.
Next up was DJ Vision. He played a couple favorite rap songs that the crowd enthusiastically sang along to. Then Kamaiyah came onstage. Originally from Oakland, she’s been featured on a song with rapper YG, and she opened for him during his 2016 tour. She rapped a number of her hit songs, including fan fave “Dope Bitch,” (“dope bitch/dope bitch/dope bitch straight up outta Oakland”), which she censored to “Dope Chick,” and she also premiered a bit of new material. She interacted with the crowd, asking how many of us were there with our best friends. It seemed like she wanted us all to have a blast. She later tweeted a video of her with a fan in Low. And she called out Ty on Twitter for having avocados in his room. (Wow).
CC Junior Aaliyah Triumph, who had a spot in the pen with her friends, said she liked the openers.
Then, finally, Ty Dolla $ign took the stage! He, too, interacted with the crowd, shouting out girls sitting on shoulders, telling us to follow our dreams and congratulating the soon-to-be graduates in the crowd. He also got a little personal, at one point discussing being hurt by someone you trust and love, and asking if anyone else had ever felt the same. “She’s a bitch,” he said, then noted, to “all the girls in the crowd,” that “guys can be bitches too.” Even though it was a frigid forty degrees, Ty was able to perform shirtless, as is his custom. For his last song, though, whether because he was cold or for the cool factor, he put his trench coat back on. He also hopped off the stage and interacted with fans, touching their hands and arms and waving. On Twitter he retweeted one excited fan’s video of the encounter.
His rapping, though, seemed a little lacking, because a lot of the songs were just played, and he would occassionally rap a verse or the chorus. Aaliyah noted that “I felt like a lot of his songs were just like samples of other songs or like featured a lot of more well-known people.”
Fans in the pens generally seemed to enjoy the performances. SEAS student Lara Turan, who got there right when the concert began at 1 pm, said she was stoked to have a front row position in front of the stage. The pens did get pretty full by the end of the concert, though, and Aaliyah said it was crazy inside, making it hard to see or hear what was going on. The lawns, too, were packed to the brim with students smoking and lounging on the grass, but, oddly, only the southwest lawn and the strip in front of Butler were open for students. Alums and graduating seniors will remember when the war on fun at Columbia first began. The restricted viewing areas, and the dystopian maze of fences and checkpoints to get close to the stage, seemed like a continuing reverberation of that war.
Overall, the performances were indeed fun. All the artists were great crowd performers, who seemed stoked to be doing a college show. They wanted us to have a great time. Although the headliner, as for the past several years, was again a rapper, the lineup was still a good mix of rap and pop rock. One downside was the relative lack of access press people had, compared to years past. Bacchanal had their own press team this year who seemed to get first dibs on access. We weren’t able to meet the artists, and we had very limited time to go into the press area in front of the stage to take pictures (only 8-10 minutes for each act). If you checked out the Bwog Insta, Twitter, or Facebook page yesterday, you’ll see me livestreaming the best songs (the FB livestream is still available but it’s kind of embarrassing). Hopefully, next year press can get more coverage! Shoutout to the Bacch team, though, for organizing the best day of the year here at Columbia.
Photos via Zack Abrams