Show Review: UofT’s Frosh Concert With Kardinal Offishall & Le Sera

By Sian Last, Photos by Emily Scherzinger

I am not a typical rap fan.  There are only a handful of underground R&B and rap artists that I actively choose to listen to.  However, hyped-up on adrenaline from screaming at the top of my lungs for three hours and painted head-to-toe in Vic’s scarlet and gold, I decided the Frosh Week Concert was the perfect opportunity to experience my first show headlined by a top 40 rapper. I went to the show as a foreigner to much of the mainstream rap scene, as I am sure a lot of other U of T students are.  My usual music of choice is closer to the soft ballads of opening band Le Sera.  So, I guess, that is a good place to start.

Their performance carried on the tradition of cool California rockers, reminiscent of the smooth vocals of Dawes and Best Coast.  However, the mix of simple ballads and slightly heavier, sixties-twinged rock songs would lead the band to be grouped with anything from the Head and the Heart to Firehorse.

The lead vocalist, Katy Goodwin of Vivian Girls fame, spread a chill vibe over the back campus as more and more people started to fill in the green space.  It was the perfect music to sit about and chat while recovering from a long day of walking and cheering.  Students half-heartedly clapped in between each song, but no one seemed to be focused solely on the music, probably because the performance was a bit low in energy. Nonetheless, the vibe seemed to fit the mood of students and had me wishing I had worn a long shirt and been given a tambourine to play along.

After a quick stage change, Kardinal Offishall started in a pretty typical fashion, getting the crowd pumped, running all over the stage, and, of course, shouting “jump” into the microphone repeatedly.  When listening to Dangerous or BodyBounce, it is very clear that the rapper has made a name for himself through entertaining—providing fans with a fun experience.  In other words, it is not just about the music.  In this sense, I think the act can be considered a success.  The show was fun and engaging.  I was quite impressed by his ability to include the crowd in his lesser-known songs, in addition to the chart-topping hits, while working around the fact that most of Offishall’s big songs feature at least one other well-known artist, notably Akon.

A lot of kids who, like me, have little independent desire to listen to this kind of music were still participating, “putting their hands in the air,” “moving to the left, moving to the right,” and of course, JUMPING, JUMPING, JUMPING.  However, I found the overall performance a bit underwhelming, and a lot of people left the stage in favor of the big green field behind the booths to talk with friends.  Despite this opinion, the event as a whole was amazingly fun.  I mean, with free pizza, cotton candy, and button making, how could it not be!



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