Students lined the hallways just outside the Great Hall at Hart House this past Thursday to attend a free concert featuring DJ Intrinity, Sam Cash and the Romantic Dogs, and Lights. The concert, sponsored by Skull Candy, Apus, and the University of Toronto, was just one of the many events organized by UTSU for this year’s Winter Week of Welcome: “Frost Week 2015”. The week was geared toward welcoming new students and returning students to the university and to perhaps help students brush off those terrible post-Christmas blues.
Upon entry at 7 p.m., students were given large Styrofoam glow sticks from the Guvernment nightclub in Toronto with the words “Guv Life” in black on the side. Just outside the hall, students started dressing up for the photo booth with Bob Marley wigs, Batman masks, and devil ears while others enjoyed popcorn. Both the photo booth and popcorn were complimentary.
As more students slowly filtered into the hall, they were welcomed by the sounds of DJ Intrinity, who kicked the concert off with a mix of light house music.
The historical hall was decorated with white lights draped across the room and covering a couple of small trees. This gave the event a vibrant, eclectic, winter wonderland feel.
At the back of the hall a bar was set up offering ciders, bottled beer, and juice, but most of the crowd consisted of underage first-year students, so the concert remained pretty tame and relaxed.
Around 8, VP external Grayce Slobodian and VP internal and services Cameron Wathey of UTSU took centre stage and presented the audience with a chance to win a backstage meet-and-greet with Canadian electropop musician Lights herself. In order to win this prize, Slobodian and Wathey said that students would have to come up on stage and sing a song of their choice.
Several students hopped onstage and belted out lyrics from the likes of Nikki Minaj, Coldplay, Hozier, and Sam Smith. The winner was a student who sang Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” and was cheered into first place. In the end, UTSU granted the top five contestants backstage access.
Around 8:30, special guests and opening indie band Sam Cash and the Romantic Dogs took the stage to kick off the first of the two sets played, mostly drawing on their 2013 album Stand Together, Fall Together. I must admit that I wasn’t familiar with Cash and the Dogs before the concert, but with Cash’s great vocals in songs like “Remedy” and “Steal My Car” and the overall unity of the band, by the evening’s end I had definitely become a fan.
Around 10 p.m., the Great Hall was full of over 450 students chanting, “Lights, Lights, Lights!” as heavy fog filled the room. With a genuine big smile and laid-back demeanour, Lights greeted her fans. The Toronto-based artist, who once had a more synth feel to her music, now projected indie pop with her latest album, Little Machines, released this past September. Lights performed songs from the album such as “Portal” and “Running with Boys”. She closed the night with her most popular song, “Up We Go”.
The night came to an end around midnight as DJ Intrinity played his last set to wrap up the concert. The night had a great turnout, but unfortunately—according to the volunteer welcome desk—there were over 100 students that weren’t able to get in because the event was overbooked.