News Editor; Managing Editor
F&M, get ready for the next big concert on campus: house music DJs The White Panda will open for headlining alt-rock duo Matt & Kim in the Spring concert April 6 in the Alumni Sports and Fitness Center (ASFC).
The Concert Committee, composed of Director of College Programs Kelly Kennedy ’04, and students Ed Sinista ’13 and Eric Belser ’13, selected these groups based on student interest, availability, and price. First, they distributed a survey among the student body to gauge interest in possible acts, which a little over 1,000 students responded to.
Once they narrowed the list down, the committee checked the availability of each group.
“Macklemore was the most popular, but unfortunately he will be in Europe in the Spring,” Kennedy said. Fun. was also a finalist on campus, but they, too, will be abroad in the Spring. Matt & Kim, the third choice, was selected to headline the concert as they fit the committee’s criteria well.
“We are always interested in bringing someone that people know. Matt & Kim have a few popular songs, they are very good live, and they play long concerts. With the level of talent that we are bringing to campus, I hope people will come and support the show. We need to have successful concerts in order to keep bringing big names to campus,” Sinista said. “I hope people are excited. A lot of schools don’t even get to experience a close venue like this. F&M does the concert experience differently than other schools. We are trying to bring something different, and support something that is special to F&M.”
President of the College Daniel Porterfield also commented on the upcoming Spring concert.
“I’d like to thank the concert committee for bringing in another up-and-coming act, Matt & Kim, to F&M, rounding out an impressive series that has included Cobra Starship and Lupe Fiasco,” said Porterfield. “I commend Director of College Programs, Kelly Kennedy, our student leaders and many others on the professional staff for their hard work to make exciting events like this happen on campus.”
The choice of an alternative rock group will create a different atmosphere than the concerts last year by Lupe Fiasco and Cobra Starship.
“Yes, it’s alternative, but it seems like it will appeal to a wide variety of fans,” Kennedy said. White Panda, though, will bring a similar vibe as the Super Mash Bros concert did in 2011.
The switch from Mayser Gymnasium to the ASFC will provide more space and structural stability for concert-goers and performers alike.
“The ASFC is very viewer-friendly. We are looking to put the stage on the side, facing the track so that students have the entire track to spread out and enjoy the show,” Kennedy said.
Similar to previous years, F&M students can purchase tickets for others who do not attend, but the concert is not open to the public. Last year, close to 200 tickets were sold.
Sinista and Belser have served on the Concert Committee for three years because of their work with WFNM. They helped Chelsea Ramsey ’12 bring Super Mash Bros to campus in 2011. Since then, they have assisted in planning the concerts.
“General managers of WFNM are really involved with the idea of a concert system,” Sinista said.
Matt & Kim’s opening act, White Panda, a mash-up DJ duo from Chicago, have had quite a prolific catalogue in their short existence. Procrast (Tom Evans) and DJ Griffi (Dan Griffith) have produced three albums since their inception in 2008; combining topical pop-cultural references and hip hop, the duo quickly rose to internet popularity, and were named one of Soundcloud’s top five most played artists of 2011. Eventually transcending the internet persona, White Panda grew to open for artists ranging on the dance-hip-hop scale, from Mac Miller to Benny Benassi. White Panda just released their fourth album, Bambooyah!, in Spring 2012, and have played numerous festivals such as Lollapalooza, Electric Zoo, and Bamboozle.
Matt & Kim — indeed, a man and woman (and couple) named Matt and Kim — is an indie-pop duo from Brooklyn. Keyboardist and lead vocalist Matt Johnson carries catchy melodies, while drummer Kim Schifino carries the rhythm. Starting in 2005, the duo — initially known for their “do-it-yourself” attitude — self-released their debut self-titled album, and toured relentlessly. Maintaining a full-time tour schedule, their hard work paid off, and by 2009 the act was picked up by independent label FADER Label to release Grand; maintaining their do-it-yourself ethic, the couple recorded the album in keyboardist Matt Johnson’s bedroom. Still a relatively small act at the time, Matt & Kim bolstered their image with self-produced music videos, some of which went viral (see: “Lesson Learned”). After earning some mainstream success, such as winning the “Breakthrough Video” award at the MTV Music Video Awards, Matt & Kim garnered enough of a national audience to successfully embark on two nationwide headlining tours in 2010. Gaining popularity with their upbeat dance-pop sound, Matt & Kim were asked to support Blink 182 and My Chemical Romance on Blink 182’s 2011 reunion tour, and have been gaining momentum ever since.
Hopefully F&M can match these artists’ energy.
Questions? Email Abigail or Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.