Girls in T-shirt dresses and Chuck Taylors sheltered themselves from the rain in the EKU Center for the Arts on Thursday, March 24 as hot new artist DNCE took stage at the SAC Spring Concert.
The crowd, though mostly filled with college students who remember every line of Camp Rock (myself included), featured a diverse mix of pop music fans and indie-rock festival-goers as well as the additional begrudging father taking his too-young-to-drive children to see a band that sings about sex on the beach with a cool beat.
“I came here for Joe,” said Shelby Shackelford, a freshman political science major from Lexington, as she got ready to go inside the auditorium alongside her friends. Her friends agreed, but cited their love for the song Cake By The Ocean and the extremely low tickets prices as more reasons to love the concert.
Though the band’s frontrunner Joe Jonas can often be remembered as the boy who straightened his hair and wore a purity ring alongside his eerily similar looking brothers, that side of him seemed to be a distant memory as he sang and danced like a twenty-something who just really wanted to have fun.
Jonas and the rest of the band put on a full hour of entertainment, singing songs from their four-song EP SWAAY, in addition to putting their spin on hits from the 80s and 90s. Particularly, their medley of TLC’s biggest hits showed both the great range of Jonas and the tremendous musical talents of guitarist JinJoo Lee, drummer Jack Lawless and bassist Cole Whittle.
The care-free vibe of band was in full effect as they sang fun renditions of Crank That (Soulja Boy) and Thong Song while taking breaks to drink from their red solo cups. The eccentric group was nothing but energetic throughout the setlist, running out into the crowd, taking videos of themselves and the crowd and dramatically throwing water–and whiskey–into the crowd during the finale.
While DNCE is considered a new band, getting them to come to EKU was not easy after major performances at places such as Ellen Show and South by Southwest Musical Festival. Student Activities Council’s Jennifer Hurst worked tirelessly with a talent agency and the band’s tour manager to create the perfect experience for both DNCE and Eastern students.
Karlee Tanel, VP of SAC, praised Hurst and the rest of SAC for pulling off such an amazing night in addition to expressing how excited she is to see how SAC can get bigger acts to perform in the coming years.
“I know Jade [McClure, elected 2016 VP for SAC] really well–we worked together this year on SAC, and I know she will continue to look for awesome acts to perform here in the next year,” Tanel said.
While the Center was not sold out completely, the crowd took over much of the auditorium and appeared to enjoy the band–especially those in the front who got the chance to keep Lee’s guitar picks and Lawless’ drumsticks.
By the end of the concert, nearly every member of the audience was on their feet and screaming along to the lyrics of Cake By The Ocean. DNCE left a lasting impression on those who went, and according to Jonas, Eastern left a lasting impression on the band as well.
“I think we might have to come back to Kentucky,” Jonas said to his bandmates after the audience sang along to their new single Toothbrush.