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Intensity and diversity were characterized by the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Homecoming Concert Thursday in a three-act performance at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.
Though forced to shuffle their lineup of homecoming performers after the September cancellation of scheduled headliner A$AP Rocky, The Entertainment Network and Black Emphasis Committee still delivered quite a show, hosting the likes of Machine Gun Kelly, Pusha T and Schoolboy Q.
The variety of hip-hop styles alone made IUP’s Homecoming Concert worth the admission, with each artist bringing a different approach to the stage.
As the show progressed, students were taken on a journey of rhythms onstage: vibing with some mellow tracks by Schoolboy Q, then building up energy with Pusha T before going flat-out crazy along with Machine Gun Kelly.
For casual rap fans, the first two acts of the evening might not have been as notable as, say, an A$AP Rocky.
But both artists, especially Pusha T, made immediate connections with the crowd and seemed to perform long enough to have easily headlined a two-person show of their own.
Schoolboy Q, a frequent collaborator with Kendrick Lamar and (ironically) A$AP Rocky, was perhaps the most “laid-back” performer of the night, matching his Hippie-esque outfit with a smooth sampling of several songs. Among the most popular tracks performed by the West Coast-raised Schoolboy Q were “Collard Greens” and the remix to A$AP Ferg’s “Work.”
Pusha T, signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music label, had the benefit of playing several mainstream songs he has been featured on.
Set to release his debut album “My Name is My Name” on Oct. 8, the 36-year-old rapper was seemingly the first act to inject a sense of hype into the crowd, drawing eager participation from the audience on hit singles such as “I Don’t Like” and “Mercy.
Headlining the evening, the Cleveland-born Machine Gun Kelly brought as much of a unique performance as his background set indicated.
Spitting rhymes in front of a full band reminiscent of a rock ‘n’ roll concert, the 23-year-old rapper showed off his energy from the time he stepped onstage until the conclusion of his performance, showering the crowd with water, throwing himself into the audience and climbing into the seating area of the arena throughout the show.
Rocking a punk-style outfit that ultimately became bare skin above the waist by the show’s end, MGK let loose a wide variety of songs throughout the night, furthering the diversity of the event.
At times, he evoked the crowd’s compassionate side with some melodic tales about his past, and in other instances, he simply tried to match his intensity with that of IUP, blasting club hits like “Wild Boy” and French Montana’s “Ocho Cinco” on which he is featured.
IUP’s 2013 Homecoming concert may not have topped some of the school’s previous shows, but there is little doubt the three artists onstage this year did enough to rile up the crowd, each doing so in a very different, yet altogether energizing, fashion.