Binghamton Underground Music Presents (BUMP) announced on Friday that their first show of the semester will feature genre-crossing artist Topaz Jones. The show will be opened by indie band Crumb.
Bucking tradition, the show will mix genres, rather than sticking to the pattern of mainly alternative-rock and pop acts that have been brought to campus in recent years.
Mika Itkin-Weinstein, chair of BUMP and a junior double-majoring in English and history, said she’s excited to bring a new genre to the concert series.
“[Topaz Jones is] kind of like a funk, hip-hop rap artist and he has a full band,” Itkin-Weinstein said. “Actually, I went to high school with him [in Montclair, New Jersey] … a lot of people in my hometown were bumping his music all the time.”
While relatively new to the music scene, Jones has formal training in the industry with a degree from the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University. He released his first album, “The Honeymoon Suite,” in 2014 and followed up with sophomore effort “Arcade” in 2016. Jones has been featured on The Fader and NPR’s “Songs We Love” and found success with his song “Tropicana,” which has been streamed nearly 2.5 million times on SoundCloud. Part of his popularity comes from the way in which he engages with current events.
In an interview with Ian Blair for Pitchfork, Jones explained that his music is reflective of his experience as a black man in America.
“When people who look like you are being killed on television, that’s a crazy thing, and rather than attacking that head-on, I found myself just avoiding it altogether and trying to distract myself from it as a coping mechanism,” he said. “My role is more to just make really good music and to make things that represent my truth, and to have people relate to them.”
Crumb, which formed when the members were students at Tufts University, has already released two EPs and made a name for itself since its debut in 2016. The band has been touring for the better part of this year and will be coming to BU after a tour with (Sandy) Alex G and Hovvdy. In June, Paste Magazine christened the outfit “The Best of What’s Next.”
Itkin-Weinstein is combining her roles at BUMP chair and world department director for WHRW 90.5 FM to plan a series of events for the month of November as part of Underground Music Month on campus.
“I’ll just be putting out a calendar essentially of all the things happening, like [Cafe] O’Spacis with the radio station,” Itkin-Weinstein said. “I’m helping put on — hopefully — an open mic in the Undergrounds and just a bunch of other local-music things, trying to help promote Binghamton bands as well, throughout November.”
This will tentatively include a second BUMP show on Nov. 15, which Itkin-Weinstein said will be confirmed and announced later this month.
Topaz Jones will perform on Nov. 2 in the University Union Undergrounds. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 8 p.m. Admission is free.