By Caroline Boschetto, news staff
Neon lights streamed through the air and young energy shook the floor at Northeastern University’s (NU) annual Springfest concert on Saturday night.
Chicago hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper, Swedish pop star Tove Lo and California-based alternative rock band Bad Suns performed in Matthews Arena as students and guests jumped and swayed to the music. Despite tension between security guards and students over seating rules, Northeastern students said they had a positive experience.
After waiting in line for two hours or more to enter the arena, students were dancing and singing in their seats before the show even began.
Courtney Johnson, a senior electrical engineering major at Northeastern, said this was his first time attending a Springfest concert.
“I’m really stoked that they brought Chance here,” Johnson said before the event. “I’m expecting magic to happen on that stage.”
In the middle of Tove Lo’s performance, the singer encouraged audience members on the floor to leave their seats and stand in the open area up front, even though security guards were trying to prevent this.
“F*** safety, get up here!” Tove Lo shouted.
Unable to restrain the mass of students rushing to the front, security guards gave up, but after Tove Lo’s act was over, security forced standing students to return to their seats. Guards also sent students with bowl tickets who had jumped onto the floor back to their section.
Freshman electrical engineering major Zach Neveu said he felt that the security was too strict.
“Maybe that’s warranted for safety, but it absolutely detracts from the whole experience,” Neveu said. “It’s college, not a middle school dance.”
The audience cheered when Chance came out in a white T-shirt and Chicago White Sox cap. He performed songs from his various mixtapes, including “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” “Pusha Man” and “Sunday Candy,” which he played at the request of an audience member who said it was his birthday. Like Tove Lo, Chance also encouraged the floor audience to rush to the front.
The security guards could not get students to return to their seats after this point.
Mihnea Bulugioiu, a freshman bioengineering major, said although the seating situation was poorly organized, he could sympathize with the security guards.
“They probably have security protocols and were just doing their job,” Bulugioiu said.
Bulugioiu said he still enjoyed Chance’s performance as well as the animation projected on the screen behind the rapper, which featured images ranging from cartoon bongs and joints to fiery skulls and nature scenes.
The Council for University Programs (CUP) president Amanda Hernandez, a Northeastern senior communications major, said that CUP was not responsible for managing security at the event. Hernandez said, however, that the organization prioritizes safety.
“Obviously you want everyone to be safe at a show and you don’t want it to interfere with people enjoying the show,” she said. “I think every year we strive to make improvements.”
The members of the security team at the venue declined to comment on the situation.
Hernandez said she thought that the concert was a success overall.
“It sold out so we definitely got artists that we think appealed to the general public at Northeastern,” she said. “I know Chance the Rapper is really popular at Northeastern and there were people who said they came mainly for Chance but actually enjoyed the other two artists as well.”
Hernandez said that CUP could not disclose information about the costs involved in holding Springfest, but she said the whole show was funded by the student activity fee.
The News spoke with the members of Bad Suns backstage before they opened the concert with some of their hits like “Salt,” “Rear View” and “Cardiac Arrest.”
Lead singer Christo Bowman said Bad Suns had previously done a few college shows and that these types of performances differ from tour concerts.
“It’s much more of a mixed group,” he said. “You’re playing for the college. It’s not your own fans. […] You’re playing to a lot of new people. It keeps things fresh.”
Drummer Miles Morris said playing for a new audience has both advantages and drawbacks.
“It’s more pressure in the sense that you want to impress the people that may be unfamiliar with your band,” Morris said. “But it’s a little bit less pressure because I feel like you can just give them your best show. That’s all you can do.”
When Tove Lo took the stage, she strutted and glided around in a black gem-rimmed bodysuit. She performed “Habits (Stay High),” “Talking Body,” “Thousand Miles” and other songs from her two studio albums.
“Tove Lo was really good,” said sophomore communications and screen studies major Joanna Odorisio said. “She was fun and so cute, and I liked that she talked to us.”
A freshman bioengineering major Mihnea Bulugioiu said he will most likely attend NU’s Springfest concert again next year.
“The energy of the arena was happy and filled with positive vibes,” he said.
Photo by Brian Bae