By Victoria Kezra
The Westcott Theater was the place to be this Saturday night, Sept. 8, where four rap groups and bodily injury were available for the bargain-basement price of $10.
The night started with an enthusiastic performance by Syracuse junior Guy Harrison, who packed in clever rhymes backed by danceable electronica, prompting the small crowd to dance. Some of Guy’s quick-witted turns of phrase included: “That shit so refreshing like you had a frozen browser,” “Hey, I’ll tell you what she told me. Do it real slow like an oldie,” and “Bring that beat back like a refund.”
David Dallas, a rap duo hailing from New Zealand, came on stage second. Their set immediately started booming bass that reverberated in listener’s chests, with a slight electronic glittering in the background. They rapped with swagger, as well as matching, choreographed hand swings, over smoothly-produced beats. The music was catchy, though the rappers’ voices seemed lost in the backing music at times and made it difficult to hear individual rhymes as they ran by.
Third on stage was Yonas, a New York City-based rapper who alternated between singing and speed-rapping sessions that were reminiscent of Twista. Yonas’ set included several samplings of popular songs that were given a hip hop make over, which included M83’s “Midnight City,” Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kids,” and the ever-sampled Daft Punk’s “One More Time.” Yonas also performed the original songs “Looking For You” and “Drive It Like It’s Stolen,” as well as other songs off his last album Proven Theory.
The last act to play was tour headliner AER, which seems a fitting name for the group’s two members, who came bounding on stage while jumping up and down. David von Mering and Carter Schultz bent down to touch the outstretched hands of the crowd pushed up against the barrier. Chultz and Von Mering threw out slick reggae rhymes over a simple beat and a breezy guitar for much of the set, eventually pulling out a guitar of their own to play along with the track. Their style contrasted with some of the ground-shaking beats of David Dallas and Yonas, especially when paired with vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Sublime song. They treated their audience to their newest single, “Like The Way” off The Bright Side album, and got big laughs for their short rendition of a classic: Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.” Towards the end of the show, a crowd member climbed up on the barrier and launched himself into an unfortunately (for him) unready crowd. He landed head first on the floor, knocking himself out cold. This visibly shook the band for a moment, but they quickly recovered and finished the song. “This next one goes out to the guy on the floor,” Schultz said when the song had ended. “Please don’t do anything like that ever again.” The group finished out the set with two of their most popular songs, “Feel I Bring” and “Few Times,” as the sound of ambulance sirens from outside served as a faint, unintended accompaniment.