CSUN’s Sierra Quad served as an amphitheater on Saturday for R’B singer and songwriter Ne-Yo, who came to campus to perform at Big Show 7.
Gates opened at noon, earlier than last year’s Big Show, so students could enter and enjoy the concert, said Tiffany White, assistant director of S.P.A.C.E.
Students entered through the west side of campus after standing in line along Etiwanda Way, willing to pass through metal detectors and having their bags searched to enjoy the concert experience.
Vendors’ carts were on the lawn of the Oviatt Library selling ice cream, chicken kabobs, funnel cakes, burritos and much more, while students bought food and ate on the library steps or found a shady spot under a tree. The biggest fans were as close to the stage as they could to have a clear view of Ne-Yo during his performance.
“Ne-yo has the best music,” said CSUN alumna Jamica Hale, who visited CSUN with fellow alumna April Burns just to see the performance. Hale and Burns arrived at 9:30 a.m. and sat at the Freudian Sip until the line began to form. Once they entered the concert, they ran to the front of the stage and laid their red blanket on the grass, claiming their territory.
Burns said, “His music is not too slow and depressing, and not too loud and crazy. We can relate to it.”
Big Show 7, which was free for students and $20 for everyone else, also included performances from rap group Living Legends and R’B and pop singer Colby O’Donis, an up-and-coming artist recently signed to singer Akon’s Konvict music label.
Although not mainstream, Living Legends, which is comprised of eight members, has been performing for 12 years, said Kruse, the group’s merchant, general helper and fan while selling the band’s CDs and T-shirts. Living Legends has released at least 120 albums and band members have released a few solo projects.
“It’s a combination of classic hip-hop and a new, unique sample-based sound,” Kruse said. “It’s so different than anything on the radio, but with a general appeal that is motivational and culturally educational.”
“It’s exciting to be able to turn something out of your imagination into something tangible,” said band member Scarub, who has been rapping since he was 10 years old.
One member at a time came onto the stage with their own style of rap and fashion, whether it was the blue velour body suit worn by Murs, the top hat handkerchief and goggles worn by Lucky, the mask reminiscent of an action movie’s character worn by Aesop or the fast rapping style of the Grouch, which caused the women in the audience to go wild.
Eighteen-year-old Colby O’Donis, originally from New York, was the fifth and last artist to be signed by Akon.
“I loved the energy from the crowd,” O’Donis said.
Moving to Los Angeles when he was 15 years old to pursue his music career, O’Donis hasn’t had a chance to attend college, but plans to go to school after he has been in the music industry for a while.
“I would consider going to this school, the campus is beautiful,” O’Donis said.
A group of female CSUN students waited after the concert to meet and take pictures with him. O’Donis, who writes and produces his own music, performed his songs “Dance With You,” “Quickie,” and Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack.” His first single, “What You Got,” featuring Akon, will be released next January.
Many people who aren’t CSUN students took advantage of the $20 admission price, including a mother and her daughter, who caught a towel that Ne-Yo threw into the audience, and 23-year-old Andrew Moore, who drove from South Central Los Angeles
“I’ve seen Ne-Yo perform before and I liked it, so I came with some friends who hadn’t seen him perform,” Moore said.
“I also went to Big Show 6 last year when Common performed and the crowd was live. I liked that,” Moore said.
S.P.A.C.E. has been providing CSUN students and the surrounding community with a Big Show for seven years, but this was only the second semester that the show was held during the fall semester.
“We have already started considering what to do and what not to do for next year’s Big Show,” White said. “But we have not yet began to choose an artist.”
As in previous years, next year’s Big Show performer would represent the tastes of the student body, as S.P.A.C.E. chooses Big Show performers based on answers from student surveys.
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