Although ticket sales may have indicated otherwise, fall concert headliners Gym Class Heroes and opener Asher Roth performed a lively, well-received show to Kuhl Gymnasium on Nov. 21.
For Geneseo, the genre-defying, Top-40 acts - one a hip-hop group based out of nearby Geneva, N.Y. and the other a white rapper from a Pennsylvania suburb - would have seemed a perfect choice. Yet, it took the Student Association making the event free to fill the auditorium. Music fans, however, didn't leave disappointed.
The enigmatic Asher Roth, whose single "I Love College" threatens to plunge him into the oblivion of one-hit wonderhood, energetically took the stage with boat shoes in hand, despite very modest accommodations (in other words, a locker room) and a mouth infection (which, according to him, was caused by smoking weed too soon after having molars pulled).
Shortly after opening, Roth "popped in" humorous back-up vocalist Brain Bangley's mix CD for "blunt cruising" - one of which happened to be a Spice Girls song. This tone-setting skit allowed for Roth to show off some impressive rhymes over well-known tracks and eventually led into his stoner anthem "Blunt Cruisin'."
Roth's set also consisted of his probable sophomore hit song, "She Don't Wanna Man," and for this performance, Roth invited a dozen females from the audience to join him on stage.
To round out his set, Roth delivered "I Love New York," a personalized version of his hit single, replete with a literally head-spinning intro by DJ Wreckineyez. While most of Roth's portion of the show was formulaic entertainment, he demonstrated an irresistible charm and enthusiasm on the mic and even waxed didactic part way through, saying, "Never make music to make money. Make music to make music."
Gym Class Heroes followed suit, getting across a message while showing up to have a good time.
After opening with "Peace Sign/Index Down," which is explicitly stated as "for my family" and features lyrics such as "Good lookin' pop on the strength that you givin' me / wasn't for you Gym Class would be history," lead singer Travis McCoy waved hello to his family, which was in attendance. He requested that the audience do the band one favor: "Just make us feel at home."
The Heroes rocked the next few songs off their latest record The Quilt, including "The Queen and I" and "Blinded by the Sun," the latter of which McCoy dedicated to ex-girlfriend Katy Perry: "May she continue to kiss girls."
McCoy played Romeo again during the throwback Papercut Chronicles part of the show: after scanning the crowd carefully, he pulled a Geneseo student on stage and in true rock star fashion, asked "Do you mind if I sing for your sexy ass?" Gym Class then broke into their most popular song to date, "Cupid's Chokehold," as McCoy caressed and eventually kissed the girl he called "Helen."
On a slightly more serious note, before the song "Viva La White Girl" (with lyric: "Isn't it fun how music makes your lips numb?") McCoy declared, "My name is Travie and I'm addicted to music." He then shared a short but inspirational anecdote, which he ended with, "Whatever you decide to do, make sure that it's something you absof---inglutely love."
Before leaving the stage, Gym Class treated concertgoers to a cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry" and a high-energy performance of their latest single, "Cookie Jar."
In returning for an encore, guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo showed off his vocal abilities in "Live a Little" and McCoy implored audience members to give each other the "biggest hug you've ever given anyone in your entire life."
After successfully persuading everyone to embrace, McCoy expressed his gratitude: "You guys didn't have to do that, but you did and we f---ing love you for it."
His sentiments summed up the entire gig; the passion and personal touch Gym Class Heroes and Asher Roth gave to the fall concert made it an ideal opportunity to get together and enjoy music.