Excited students, daring dance moves and some of the catchiest current jams collided Saturday evening at Gannon University’s Hammermill Center.
Students and fans of popular pop funk-rock band DNCE sang and boogied with them at Gannon’s spring concert, sponsored by the university’s Activities Programming Board (APB).
Joe Jonas and his gang lit up the basketball court-turned-concert hall at 10 p.m. and played a solid set of original songs and covers for roughly an hour.
Although many in attendance were probably there to set their eyes upon Jonas, a former Disney Channel darling and member of his brother band called the Jonas Brothers, the other members of DNCE were successful in being equally entertaining.
Drummer Jack Lawless, bassist and keyboardist Cole Whittle and guitarist JinJoo Lee each significantly contributed to the show, countering Jonas with equivalent talent and showmanship.
While many might consider DNCE to be a lackluster headlining act with only a few popular hits, the band proved to those in attendance Saturday night that they are much more than the “Cake By the Ocean” band.
DNCE performed a number of covers including Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” TLC’s “No Scrubs,” Rod Stewarts “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” and the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe.”
The band was engaging and entertaining while performing their lesser-known songs, outrageously interacting with each other and playing their instruments in obscure ways.
It was apparent that the days of Disney were a thing of the past as Jonas and his crew sexually grinded on mic stands, instruments and each other multiple times during the set.
During one of the last songs, Lee and Whittle sat on each other and jammed out for a solid minute or two, evidencing that while the band may be labeled as pop, they like to perform like outrageous rock stars.
However, DNCE’s entire set wasn’t all this ostentatious, especially during the song “Truthfully,” a slower number about a messy breakup.
Students in the pit lit up the floor with their cellphone lights making for a dreamy and memorable moment in the set.
Although the band did a nice job performing their lesser-known material, it is no surprise that the more exciting parts of the evening occurred during the performance of hits like “Body Moves,” “Toothbrush” and “Cake By the Ocean.”
Of course, DNCE saved their arguable one-hit wonder “Cake By the Ocean” for the end of the set, leaving some of those in attendance with the satisfaction of hearing the only song they came for.
Even in this last song, Jonas and his band sounded similarly live as they do in their digital recordings, which was impressive considering they left their biggest hit and most listened to song for last.
While student reaction to DNCE’s performance has been mostly positive, the performance that perhaps got an even better response was that of the opener, CVBZ.
CVBZ, an LA-based dance-pop band led by Sean Jacobs, took the Hammermill stage at 9 p.m. and caught the attention of the audience early in their set.
Jacobs friendly attitude and engagement with the audience, paired with the band’s electropop sound, easily translated to the college student audience.
Although a majority of the audience didn’t know any of CVBZ’s songs prior to attending, they clapped and bopped along to the band’s energetic anthems and left the venue as fans of CVBZ.
Choosing CVBZ as the opening act was one of many smart choices APB made in regard to this spring concert.
While some students might have criticized the selection of DNCE as the main act, it was the best choice considering the restrictions APB faced.
A short planning timeline, a smaller budget and the artist limitations faced in regard to the university’s Catholic mission made this spring concert particularly challenging for all those involved in the concert planning.
However, APB succeeded in selecting artists who made for an enjoyable, inexpensive and entertaining evening.
Thanks to APB, CVBZ and DNCE, students in attendance were able to enjoy a memorable night filled with good friends, good music and good times.