Spring Concert gets wild

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Best known for her appearance in the 2006 film "Aquamarine," and her mid-2000s popularity JoJo gave it her all at the Spring Concert. Photo by Mary Harbert.

The nostalgia of tween pop, a standout opener and abandoned sobriety.

The University of Northern Colorado’s Spring Concert turned out to be pretty wild for many attendees. Students were given the opportunity to relive their middle school years as JoJo headlined the University Program Council’s annual concert.  

UNC senior Natalie Tanner, UPC’s marketing and spring concert coordinator, staring working on getting the event together in August. The music genre for the event is chosen via polls; hip-hop and R&B was this year’s selected genre.

“It varies year to year,” Tanner said. “Last year, we had a more of R&B rap music. We try to give a variety of options and students pick based on their early interests.”

Tanner explained that the artists are chosen through an agency. Four hundred tickets for the concert were sold, but more continued to be sold throughout the evening. The concert was held in the UC Ballrooms which can hold up to 800 people. Tickets for students cost $7 and $20 for general admission.

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JoJo’s prominence in the mid-2000’s led to many wanting to experience that nostalgia at her concert.

That year, her 2006 album “The High Road” left a great impression on many as the song “Too Little Too Late” peaked at number 3 on the Hot 100 Chart according to Billboard. JoJo started her music career at a young age. Notably, in 2004, at age 14, her single “Leave (Get Out)” peaked at number 12 under the same chart.  

If attendees didn’t recognize her for her chart-topping music, they might have recognized her filmography. She starred in the popular 2006 teen mermaid movie, “Aquamarine,” which starred JoJo, Emma Roberts and Sara Paxton. That same year, she joined the cast of the road trip movie “RV” which starred Robin Williams.

JoJo has grown in her music career beyond 2006, but she did not entirely ignore her early fame. JoJo balanced her one-hour-and-forty-minute set with a mix of throwback singles, covers, and songs from her newest album, “Mad Love.” From her new album, she sang “No Apologies” which typically features rapper Wiz Khalifa. The audience was energetic and responsive to her strong performance, gathering around tightly by the railing. A meet-and-greet was held before the concert, but some audience members were able to catch up with JoJo and her band members for pictures and autographs afterwards.

The opener, specifically chosen by JoJo from a selection of three audition submissions, was UNC student performer Slake Dransky, who gave an eye-opening and thrilling performance.

His thirty-minute, hand-picked set held a boisterous amount of energy as he and his friends rapped on stage. Slake Dransky and his crew worked together to put on a show entirely unexpected by those in the audience. The variety of sounds, with different voices rapping or singing, mixes and brassy, trumpet tunes, kept the crowd’s attention. The performance sparked responses from the crowd as they danced, moved and chanted back to him. At one point during his song “Mike Pence Smokes Weed,” Dransky called out, “Mike Pence,” to which the crowd responded with “smokes weed” with great enthusiasm.

Slake Dransky is his stage name, which was formerly a high school nickname given to him by a theater friend. The senior acting major’s real name is Drake Slansky. The switching the consonant sounds in his name is a type of literary device called spoonerism. After learning about spoonerism, Slake Dransky’s logo became a spoon, which he is quite committed to as he has a matching spoon tattoo on his forearm.  

His music is available on every major streaming platform from SoundCloud to Spotify. Dransky describes his music as something people can groove to, but it inspires critical thought. He says he is a lyricist first and foremost.

He prefers to work with a variety of people, friends with great talent. Dransky brings along as many of his featured artists to his shows as possible to create an energetic and fun atmosphere among him and his friends and the audience. Common featured artists and friends of Dransky are: his trumpeter, Kelso, Sydee Whigs, Radiance, Type 1ne, Frederiiick the Great and Jason LoCricchio. He met most of them through UNC. He has performed in smaller venues in Greeley, like the Moxi Theater and the Jager, and in Seattle where he is from.

For some, this night looked like a really great time as they came prepared. Several inebriated attendees were in the audience. One young woman was so inebriated that when she was prompted by the police of who is the current president, she replied that it was George Washington. Two attendees received a minor in possession charge, one having vomited in the middle of the crowd early in the evening. Two young women towards the end of the concert were escorted to their ride.

No major harm came to anyone in the audience as the police handled the situation with humor and women shared compliments about who looked like JoJo or not.

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