“Raise your hands in a heart” for Gym Class Heroes
Gym Class Heroes brought dynamic energy, dance fever and hometown appeal to the grand opening
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 14:09
“Yeah, yeah, sick yeah, hell yeah, f**k yeah!” Not only was Gym Class Heroes’ front man Travie McCoy leading this cheer to hundreds of Brockport students, but these eight words epitomize the show itself.
The raging adrenaline rush of Gym Class Heroes’ performance was the perfect capstone for the grand opening of the Special Events Recreation Center (SERC) Friday, Sept. 14.
McCoy and crew took the stage at 11:40 p.m. and for the next hour delivered a dynamic, dance-inducing set that kept the crowd engaged and energized the entire time.
While each GCH song has a generic rap-rock vibe to it, each performance generated its own animated reaction from the student body.
The set opened with “Cookie Jar” and from then on the hits just flowed, with the crowd feeding more into it with each passing song. “Clothes Off” incited a fervent vigor in the masses, while “Peace Sign/Index Down” had a smoother, more cohesive feel as peace signs and middle fingers waved in tandem.
“It’s cool to be in that situation where people are enjoying the music and having a good time, McCoy said in an interview before the show. “We feed off that energy.”
After a couple of allusions to “Billionaire,” the band finally played the familiar tune from McCoy’s solo album. A clamourous cheer came from the student body after McCoy announced “If I was a billionaire, I’d pay all ya’ll’s tuition, man.”
A huge contributing factor to the overall atmosphere was the chemistry of the band to the crowd. There was a definite connection on another level than just performer-to-audience, a certain level of comfortability in playing for a college-level crowd.
“We came up playing predominantly college shows for the most part,” McCoy said. “We played at each other’s colleges and from there launched college tours, so the college circuit is nothing new to us.” said McCoy.
His commanding stage presence carried through other hits like “A** Back Home,” “Stereo Hearts” and the anthemic “The Fighter,” which was most recently nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for “Best Video With A Message.” These songs feature popular names like Neon Hitch and Adam Levine, while GCH typically supplements its melodies with its own rap backdrop. Regardless of having none of the featured artists present, the songs didn’t lose anything in their performances.
Overall, the energy was off the charts, and a lot of GCH’s most popular songs were played. A glaringly obvious omission from the set list was “The Queen and I,” one of the band’s first singles. Having released a few albums since then, it’s understandable as to why the band might not perform it, but when every other hit single was played, it was an unfortunate exclusion.
Another disappointing aspect of the show was the length of the headliner’s set. GCH came on shortly before midnight, and only played for an hour. This could be the typical set length for the band, or its shows could be shorter due to McCoy’s health issues, but the show seemed to end almost as soon as it started. There was a palpable amount of energy in that hour, and for the most part it was a satisfying experience, but the set left people wanting more.
A more subtle, but definitely striking difference in this concert compared to ones in previous years was the venue itself. SERC provided plenty of room for the estimated 1,700 students and alumni present. The first-class acoustics were a solid step up from the auditory atrocities we’ve grown accustomed to from shows in Tuttle South. Gym Class Heroes, arguably a group with a big sound and inordinate amount of energy, was the perfect band to break in the new building.
A great concert can be judged from the quality of sound, the band’s intimate connection to the crowd, and the tangible energy produced throughout the course of the show. Gym Class Heroes was one of the best groups we could have asked for, and the band definitely delivered.
Of course, there’s something to be said about hometown pride and supporting a band that made it to the big leagues from Western New York, specifically Geneva.
“Any time we come near the Rochester or Buffalo area, it’s kind of like being home.” said McCoy.