Quinn XCII takes Page Commons by storm

After the chaos and disappointment that ensued at last year’s fall concert, the anticipation for an all around better experience this year was at an all-time high. As Saturday grew closer, students wondered if the Quinn XCII concert would mirror the disorganization, and instability of last year’s Kesha concert. “It was a complete 180,” Clay Rowland ’18 commented, “everything from SPB’s end, to getting people in, to the atmosphere. Last year felt very hostile, I felt like I didn’t know anyone in the crowd. This year the acoustics were way better and there was overall a very upbeat and positive vibe.”

Quinn XCII seemed unphased by the large and boisterous crowd jumping around on Saturday night and often lowered his own music to include concert-goers voices in one big jovial singalong.

On Saturday, Nov. 11, Quinn XCII performed in Page Commons, following DJ Tonedeff and Almand. One by one the hands of Colby students were stamped with the Student Programming Board (SPB) logo as they hurried into Page Commons. Flashing lights of blue and green illuminated the otherwise dimly lit venue, sporadically lighting the dancing crowd, boucing hair, and waving arms. Colby’s very own Tony Karalekas ’18, also known as DJ Tonedeff, kicked off what would be his biggest event to date. “It was honestly a surreal experience. I did not expect that many people to show up for the opening,” Karalekas said. As a DJ, opening for Almand and Quinn XCII in front of approximately 800 Colby students and friends is a monumental experience. “I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be on stage controlling the crowd and I actually got to do it. My adrenaline was definitely pumping. I had a blast.”

Following DJ Tonedeff was musical artist, Almand a recent graduate of Ithaca College. Notorious for his electronic dance music, Almand mainly produces remixes with the exception of his debut single, “Don’t Manipulate,” which came out in the fall 2016 under PRMD Records. The crowd went wild as he pumped energy and dynamism into Colby’s Saturday night. With his floppy hair, energetic presence, and move to take his pants off almost immediately after taking the stage, Almand’s confident personality injected the crowd with an excitement for the main performance yet to come. “I think Almand killed it. Definitely set the scene for Quinn XCII,” said Stefan Kohli ’18, Co-Chair of Concert and Live Music Programming for SPB.

New to the role, Kohli, alongside Renner Thomas ’19, is responsible for organizing Colby’s fall and spring concerts as well as other musical events, such as the recent performance of Jeremy Zucker. Luckily for Colby students, Kohli, due to his rapid climb as a professional photographer, has a unique position in the world of musical artists. In August of 2016, Kohli and Quinn XCII became fast friends after working together at the Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival. “I just reached out and he happened to be free when we wanted him,” Kohli said. As a talented artist on the rise, Kohli felt Quinn XCII would be perfect for Colby’s fall concert. “I was constantly hearing his music around campus and could tell there was a widespread student interest,” he said. And he was right. Colby went crazy over his performance.

“It was by far the best Colby concert I’ve been to,” Eliza Liebler ’18 said. In agreement, Anna Gildea ’20 exclaimed, “It was sick! Page was a surprisingly perfect venue, and because of the layering of the floors everybody was pretty close to him and that made it extra intimate and fun.” There was great enthusiasm over the venue compared to that of last year’s fall concert, the Athletic Center. Logistically, Page was the perfect size, entry was a lot easier and smoother, and there was no hostility or impatience catalyzed by long lines. “We wanted to keep the concert smaller due to last year’s situation so kept it closed to the Colby community, which enabled us to make it free,” Kohli commented. Weston Muench ’18 added “Colby students loved being around other Colby students. It made for an overall safer and more friendly environment.”

While the organization, venue, and crowd size make for the perfect event, Quinn XCII’s performance exceeded all expectations. A Michigan native, Quinn XCII was attending Michigan State University when he began making music with childhood friend and producer Ayokay, eventually leading to the release of his second EP, Change of Scenery. In 2016, a year after releasing his third EP, Bloom, also produced by Ayokay, Quinn XCII dropped his first album, The Story of Us, on Sept. 15, 2017, under Columbia Records. Since then, Quinn XCII has been taking the world by storm on his completely sold out tour. Lining up with its end, the timing of Colby’s concert was impeccable, capping off Quinn XCII’s 28 sold out shows.

Quinn XCII’s popularity has skyrocketed due to his unique sound. Through his creative combination of reggae, hip-hop, rap, and electronic music, he produces a novel sound and genre. As he took the stage, Colby students cheered, making their way towards the front of the stage, eager to get as close to the talent as possible. Opening with, “Worst,” Quinn XCII had students belting along from the get-go. Quinn XCII closed with his popular hit, “Straightjacket,” and the crowd danced and sang along.

Despite his rising fame, Quinn XCII exudes humility. “He’s such a normal, nice guy. He was willing to have several conversations with Colby students and he was as interested in us as we were in him,” Muench said. Kohli added, “He’s very easy to work with and just all around really friendly and fun.”