‘Victorious’ star Matt Bennett brings throwback hits to Big Night Live


Renée Abbott

Approximately 300 people dance and sing at Party101, a DJ night featuring Victorious star Matt Bennett. The Boston stop of this event was held at Big Night Live.

Renée Abbott, news staff

The cast and crew of “Victorious” have gone on to do incredible things: star in hit shows like “Dynasty,” win Grammy awards, gain notoriety for a viral video claiming that everyone in the cast sings or in Matt Bennett’s case, become a DJ specializing in nostalgia.

Big Night Live hosted Party101 with DJ Matt Bennett March 11, with almost 300 people in attendance. Bennett is best known for his role as the quirky, scrawny, puppet-wielding, MTV wannabe character Robbie Shapiro in the classic Nickelodeon show, “Victorious.” Running from 2010 to 2013, the show follows a group of teenagers at the fictional — yet extravagant — Hollywood Arts High School in Los Angeles, an institution for young aspiring artists, as they get into all sorts of hijinks. 

A decade later, Bennett now travels the country bringing the sounds of Gen-Z’s childhoods to their favorite club and event spaces in the series Party101. The 2023 tour has 36 dates listed in cities across the country. His DJ tour — formerly known as iParty — has garnered fans across the country, creating a Matt Bennett renaissance and bringing Jonas Brothers songs into clubs. 

The Party 101 events have gained popularity on TikTok and Instagram — this is how attendee Denney Forget of Cape Cod heard about it. The event initially caught her attention last year, but she couldn’t get anyone to go with her. This year, though, Forget traveled from Cape Cod to finally attend the event and was looking forward to hearing “Give it Up,” originally performed by characters Jade West (Liz Gillies) and Cat Valentine (Ariana Grande). 

“I definitely think it will be nostalgic for a lot of people,” Forget said. “I’m just here to dance to fun music. I don’t really know what to expect.” 

Attendee Maya Abel, a second-year communications and media and screen studies combined major at Northeastern, said she enjoyed the event and all the songs played. 

“I thought it was really fun because I love throwback songs and it brought me back to my childhood, it was very nostalgic,” Abel said. “The crowd was very hype too.”

Doors opened at 6:30 p.m., and the line was already wrapped around the building and into an adjacent parking lot. The opening DJ was Erin Constantine, or Const, who pumped up the crowd with throwback favorites including songs from “Hannah Montana,” “Big Time Rush” and the “Cheetah Girls,” as well as real artists like ABBA, Kesha, One Direction and Taylor Swift. Olivia Rodrigo’s hit, ‘good 4 u,” played while an advertisement for Joshua Bassett’s upcoming performance flashed across a nearby screen. 

While music was playing, a montage of dancing and singing scenes played on the giant screen behind Constantine. Among clips shown were the “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’” sequence from “Teen Beach Movie,” the iconic baseball dance-off in “High School Musical 2,” a clip from “Shake It Up” and more. 

At 9 p.m., Matt Bennett came onstage after a one-minute countdown showcasing clips of the actor-turned-DJ as his character Robbie and his cameo in Ariana Grande’s music video for “thank u, next.” He came out dancing and strutting his stuff to “Squirrels in my Pants” from “Phineas and Ferb” before introducing himself and thanking everyone for coming. He then moved onto “Best Friend’s Brother” sung by “Victorious” co-star Victoria Justice and “Year 3000” by the Jonas Brothers. 

Bennett danced around, took selfies with fans and lip-synced all the 2000s hits. After he came on, he told attendees to feel like they were in high school again, and if they were the students, that made him the teacher — more specifically the eccentric theatre teacher Sikowitz from the show. Bennett promised one enthusiastic fan a coconut, Sikowitz’ signature snack, at the end of the night. 

Some favorites were “This is Me” and “Gotta Find You” from the 2008 Disney movie “Camp Rock.” He also mixed in some music outside of Disney or Nickelodeon and played the music videos for “Bang Bang” and “thank u, next,” both starring “Victorious” co-star Ariana Grande. In one particularly social media-worthy moment, a fan gave Bennett a necklace with a chicken nugget on it, likely the viral one sold on Shein

During different moments in songs, fog and dry ice blasted out of giant machines, which Bennett said was not planned by him and surprised him every time. 

He ended the night at 10:30 p.m. with “Gotta Go My Own Way” from “High School Musical 2,” while dramatically lip-syncing along with the opener, DJ Constantine.

There were, however, no guests. In other shows, he had brought out Victorious co-stars Avan Jogia and Liz Gillies. Recently, at a show in New York City, Jogia came out dressed as Tori from “Victorious.” 

While heartthrob Avan Jorgia may have been anticipated by some, for attendee Shianne Rowe — who traveled from Burlington, Vermont — Bennett was enough. 

“I decided to come tonight because Matt Bennett is hot and I am wanting and choosing to live in nostalgia,” Rowe said.