KTRU INDOOR SHOW
Despite location shift, the KTRU show must go on
Much to the dismay of its fans, the highly-anticipated KTRU “Outdoor” Show headed inside on Saturday to the Rice Memorial Center’s Grand Hall to avoid inclement weather. This is the second time in five years that the show has been moved. Sammy’s Cafe transformed into a mini beer garden offering free beer for Rice students of age and selections from Salento bar for outside visitors. Bands played from a centrally located stage while onlookers flowed from projection art pieces inside the hall to bands selling merchandise outside of it.
Despite the change of scenery, KTRU managed to make the most of the new venue. Concert-goers danced on the wooden floor of the hall as if it were Central Quad grass and art pieces were projected onto large boards instead of tents. Some attendees sported KTRU stickers stuck wildly on their jackets, shirts or foreheads. Honestly, it was fun to see the place so associated with coffee, pub and late-night pizza transformed into a concert hall. My only real problem was with the sound quality– the closed nature of the hall tended to make instrumentals overwhelmingly louder than vocals.
All in all, KTRU succeeded in putting on a great (and free!) show. Here are my favorites from the show, written from my seat in Sammy’s.
Austin-based Magna Carda was the first band that I was able to catch. Rapper Megz Kelli empowered the weak mic through her emphatic verses, at times accompanied by co-rapper Dougie Do. The band showed off an impressive range of style, with songs that had the audience alternating between grooving and bouncing. My favorite part of the performance was how much each individual member came through while also letting the other band members shine. From guitarists Eric Nikolaides and Andrew Schindler who performed acoustic covers of “My Boo” to Kelli who sang solo verses against bare instrumentals, Magna Carda is chock full of supportive, talented members.
If you guiltily look up “what music genre is CAPYAC” like I did, you will fail to find a clear answer. Austin-based CAPYAC refuses to be put into a box. Although most of their songs feature funk guitar and electronic sounds, CAPYAC surprised the crowd with hip-hop features and vocal performances. They egged the crowd on, commanding them to drop to the floor and raise their arms cha-cha-slide style. Awkward audience swaying was swiftly replaced by jumping, bouncing and dropping to every synth beat.
Admittedly, I am a massive sucker for soft, James Blake-y vocals and immediately fell in love when the first sounds floated over the crowd. Even for those who prefer rock over soft vocals, HOMESHAKE’s guitarist talent fulfills that niche with extended riffs and solos. HOMESHAKE boasted the highest attendance all day, with half of the hall packed to see the performance. This was also the first time in the night when I sorely missed the outdoor tent vibes.
Nineteen-year-old Kodie Shane brought the most energy all night with an explosive performance. Despite her fame, Shane made time to point to faithful fans in the crowd and rap along with them. With sass and expressiveness on par with Lil Uzi Vert, Shane leaped around stage wearing a Rice University hoodie.
“This is probably the closest I’ll get to [going to] college,” Shane joked.
KTRU’s goal of bringing more art to the show came to life in the form of multimedia pieces, consisting mostly of projections. Among the projections were mesmerizing loops of geometric shapes that lured onlookers from the stage to the back of the Grand Hall.
The pieces by Art + Engineering are the final proof that engineering students are actually not too busy to appreciate art and even create their own. Trippy cocoons of squares served as an Instagram-worthy background for many of the onlookers.
At Rice, blowing hundreds of dollars to go to Austin City Limits is seen as normal. The KTRU Outdoor Show offers a way for music-lovers and casual onlookers alike to get a taste of quality live music, with no transportation or ticket fees required.