Spring Fling brought the jams this year featuring a new student band, Gnarwall, hip-hop artist DRAM and headliner Foster the People.
Gnarwall, a seven-piece hip-hop/funk band, formed in fall 2017 after a few friends decided they wanted to combine their talents and find other members.
The group started rehearsing right away and decided to compete in this semester’s Battle of the Bands on March 24. Winning this competition meant that Gnarwall would open for Spring Fling this year.
Joe Vitale, a sophomore double-majoring in German and history, is one of the founders of Gnarwall and started recruiting friends to join in fall 2017.
“We started last semester, with a different core lineup than right now,” Vitale said. “Coming into this semester, we had auditions and recruited my friend Ben, as well as others and since then we have really grown as a band over this time.”
The group’s name, Gnarwall, may seem funky to some, but it goes along with the band’s vibes and the aesthetic it strives to create.
“We were going through names and landed on the name Gnarwall, a combination of an animal and funky beats hitting off the walls,” said Sam Wolff, a junior majoring in finance.
Despite the group’s quick start and rather short time practicing with one another, Gnarwall still won Battle of the Bands.
“We got together in the fall and our number one goal was to perform at Spring Fling,” Wolff said. “It’s crazy that we actually achieved that.”
Their set list for Spring Fling had a variety of original tracks each individual contributed to, including a medley of Chance the Rapper songs and Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness.”
“The hardest part of figuring out our set list was figuring out what to cover,” Wolff said. “For Battle of the Bands we had to write originals and covers, but for this we figured out our last cover within a week of this performance and had to get it down and learn it.”
Gnarwall said it loves to create original songs and work on new tracks together. For Vitale, sensing each member’s contributions in their music is key to their sound.
“For collaboration on the songs, someone brings a riff and we all add our own flair to it,“ Vitale said. “You can hear each of us individually on the track.”
After Gnarwall hyped up the crowd, DRAM — short for “Does Real Ass Music” — continued to keep the mood going after a brief intermission.
DRAM kept the party vibes going with his performance, keeping the crowd enthusiastic and on its feet. His Top 100 Billboard hit “Broccoli” seemed to be the highlight of his performance, with not a person in the crowd not singing along.
DRAM kept his carefree and positive attitude going through constant conversations with the crowd in between every song, creating a connection to keep the audience engaged. He repeated the phrase, “Spread love,” to match his upbeat demeanor.
His set list included an array of his songs from “Broccoli,” to “Cash Machine,” to “Cha-Cha,” to “Outta Sight,” with most songs he performed coming from his album “Big Baby DRAM.”
His songs were catchy and easily had the crowd swaying back and forth to his beats. Even if the audience didn’t know the words, it was hard not to enjoy his performance.
Foster the People seemed to set a more laid-back atmosphere unlike Gnarwall and DRAM, a perfect setting during sundown.
“Coming of Age,” from their album “Supermodel,” started off their set list right with a strong guitar solo in the beginning, the blue lighting entrancing the audience, bringing it down from a long day of Spring Fling festivities.
Foster the People were a popular choice to bring in for Spring Fling; the band is one of the top performing names at 2018 summer festivals, like Firefly Music Festival in Delaware, and brought in an overwhelmingly positive response from most of the student body.
“The concert was definitely entertaining,” said Kasia Rybczyk, a senior majoring in biology. “I think Foster the People ended on a good note with ‘Coming of Age’ and ‘Pumped Up Kicks,’ even despite the topic of the song.”
The indie-pop band performed “Don’t Stop,” which has a catchy melody that compelled the audience to sing along to the lyrics.
“From the time I got there I think DRAM really connected better with the crowd,” said Victoria Roselli, a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience. “Foster the People seemed to connect better toward the end of their performance with their deep messages in between songs.”
Their set list featured a variety of their hits over their career, including their most popular single, “Pumped Up Kicks,” which they performed as their encore, and their new song, “Sit Next to Me.”