Staff Reactions to Movin’ On
Movin’ On was last Friday night, and in addition to coming away with some really sweet photographs, several of our staffers took some time to reflect on the music they were able to soak up. Here are their thoughts on the festival.
Shawn Inglima: It really disappoints me that majority of the crowd that attended Movin’ On only came to see Ludacris’s set and maybe, if not compelled to go out drinking, The Avett Brothers as well. I arrived at Movin’ On at the start of The Wondershop Showdown and they performed well, just as I remembered from Battle of the Bands. The next performer, The David Mayfield Parade, was quite a character. I laughed as the lead singer pranced across the stage in a flamboyantly gay fashion that possessed the characteristics of Chris Farely. Michael Franti’s cheerful sunshine melody was enough influence for me to steal a modern-day flower child’s hula hoop, which I haven’t done since I was 10 — the hula hooping, not stealing one from a flower child. The Avett Brothers had an incredible light display and gave me new appreciation for Folk.
As for the overly-hyped Ludacris, I can’t differentiate which songs he performed or which songs his DJ took from the Billboard Top 100. Ludacris rapped his old songs to test his fans’ worth, which I’m sure everyone preferred since who the fuck knows his new shit, but then repeatedly he proposed the idea of kidnapping four Penn State girls back with him on his private jet to South Carolina, or wherever, and never see their families again. Sounds very promising Luda, why wasn’t I picked? His DJ’s style of energizing the crowd by cutting parts of the chorus out of songs annoyed the shit out of me like a scratched CD skipping my favorite songs. The best performer by far was Young the Giant. Their lead singer Sameer Gadhia reminded me of Nate Ruess from Fun. as he belted out “I Got” and “My Body,” which is still on constant replay in my head, not to mention banging the shit out of that tambourine. If everyone came to Movin’ On to fully appreciate free music in the good company of friends rather than the idea of being in the presence of a famous rapper, everyone would have new artists to download onto their iPods.
Zach Berger: I only made it to two Movin’ On acts this year, catching the band that I really wanted to see in Michael Franti & Spearhead and a rapper that I haven’t listened to since middle school in Ludacris. This wasn’t my first time seeing Franti, and he was as good as he always is. His upbeat, jam-band-ish, hip hop-infused, folky tunes are sure to brighten your day as he jumps around on stage barefoot while wearing a t-shirt despite the chilling temperatures. Franti is a true hippie, but he’s also a crowd-pleaser, and everyone in the somewhat small crowd that was there for his set seemed to love him. At one point he brought what I believe were some local kids on to play with the band, and later let others come on stage to dance and sing. Crowd interaction at its finest. And then there was Luda…
Contrary to what most have said about the performance from Ludacris, I actually liked it. Over the years, I’ve become more and more convinced that Luda is just another shitty rapper, but I walked away from Movin’ On with the impression that he’s actually pretty mediocre. And believe me, mediocre is much better than what I expected going into his set. Apparently, I used to like Luda a lot, and I met his criteria for being a “real fan”, which really just meant that you listened to Top 40 radio from 2001-2005. I forgot how catchy and offensive the majority of hits are, and I especially loved when he offered to kidnap girls that are half his age and then bragged to us about all of the places he’s travelled to that we probably never will just so that he could introduce “Pimpin’ All Over The World“. But damn, is that a great fucking song or what?
Meghin Moore: This year, I went to my first outdoor music festival wearing my winter coat. Did I look like a fool? Yes. But I was warm and happy. The first band I saw at Movin’ On was Young the Giant, with my very own “Young Giant,” my tall boyfriend, who was just as excited to see the band as I was. To be honest, I thought that they had a great set, as did my boyfriend, Kohl, who was more excited to see them cover Ignition Remix live. That was a fantastic cover, and I think that the reaction of some of the people in front of me made it even more worthwhile to see them play it.
Later, (at the request of Kohl…) I saw Luda. I met up with some of the other OS staffers, and stood there awkwardly while Kohl busted out every dance move he could possibly think of. That was embarrassing, but I know he had a good time. As for me? I couldn’t wait for Luda’s set to be over, as I was so incredibly stoked for The Avett Brothers to perform. There was nothing more perfect that night than seeing them play under the stars with the faint smell of cows in the air. Somehow that made the show so much better. Before seeing them, “January Wedding” had been in my head all day, and when they sang it, it was so much better than just hearing it in my head. Their rendition of “Blue Ridge Mountain Blues” was also one of my favorite songs in their set. I was disappointed that they did not play “Ten Thousand Words,” but that didn’t change the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed their show, as did Kohl, who had been wanting to see them for a very long time. I bopped along to every single song played, had a fantastic time, and crossed another band off of my band bucket list. I had a great time at Movin’ On this year, and it was the perfect way to end my junior year.
Alex Federman: I made it to Movin’ On around halfway through Ludacris’ set and met up with a few other OS writers. I didn’t know much about his songs, having only recently seen an interview that Evan Kalikow did with him. He definitely had all his bases covered, from weed references (I can’t say if he smokes or not, but it did seem like he enjoyed rapping about it), to kidnapping beautiful independent women, to turning the crowd against itself. But overall, his set just didn’t seem to connect with many people. When he asked “Are there any Luda fans in the house?” there weren’t many replies. Besides a snooze-worthy interlude with DJ Infamous (the baddest DJ in the west), I was surprised to hear “Pimpin’ All Over the World.” I remember humming that song in middle school, and thinking, “I wish I could be that cool someday.”
After everyone who came to see a rapper with very few recent hits left, the real show started. I was excited for the Avett Brothers since they were announced, and I’ve listened to the band ever since my banjo-playing former roommate somehow got me to like bluegrass. Their mix of emotional lyrics, guitar and banjo harmonies, and faster, more rock-influenced songs showed through as many strings were broken and the audience joined in on the choruses. While I’m a bit disappointed they didn’t play “Slight Figure of Speech” or “It Goes On and On,” the Avetts hit some of their best songs, from “At the Beach” to “Paranoia in B Major.” Though their music isn’t exactly “danceable,” everyone around me had a great time taking in the sound and energy from the group, and from that performance alone, I’d say this year’s Movin’ On was a big success.
Evan Kalikow: I showed up late to Movin’ On on Friday, seeing only Ludacris and the Avett Brothers. Coming into the latter set fairly lukewarm on the Avett Brothers material that I had heard, I was very impressed by their 90-minute set. The group is obviously tight, well-rehearsed, and competent, and songs that seemed mediocre during studio releases gained a new sense of urgency and emotion in a live setting. Overall a great set that blew my expectations away.
Ludacris was fun. But a lot of things really bugged me about his set. He rarely (if at all) performed an entire song, choosing instead to do a verse or two and a chorus or two. He also left for about ten minutes midway through his set to let his DJ, DJ Infamous, play Top 40 tracks. It was an awkward interlude that had nothing to do with Ludacris and it was really dumb. He also performed songs that he was a featured guest on, such as “Tonight (I’m Loving/Fucking You)” or “All I Do Is Win.” While I love any chance to hear DJ Khaled proclaim that “WE THE BEST,” it was stupid for Luda to play 2-3 minutes of a song only to rap for 20-30 seconds.
But here’s the thing — does Ludacris love or hate women? I honestly couldn’t tell after his set. He talked at length about the attractiveness of Penn State’s women (and his love of coitus), but he also said, “Which of you fine-ass hoes wants to be kidnapped by me tonight?” WHY THE FUCK WOULD THAT EVER BE SOMETHING THAT YOU SAY? I shouldn’t need to break that down any further.
I still sang and danced along to “Move Bitch,” “Rollout,” “Stand Up,” and all of Luda’s other hits, though, so it wasn’t a total failure. But he creeped me out in a very not cool way. Please don’t kidnap people, Ludacris.
Bobby Chen: I’m going to make this short. I don’t really listen to Luda and I had never heard the Avett Brothers before Movin’ On, but I think that the distinction between the two is pretty easy to see. Luda talked about all the places in the world that he could be instead of in State college (even if it was just the introduction to him playing “Pimpin’ All Over the World,” still pretentious); the Avett Brothers thanked us repeatedly and made it known how happy they were to be here.
Also, what Evan said. Luda, what is wrong with you?