Reggae-rock and hip-hop serenade Whittemore Center
By Logan Hill, Staff Writer
A mellow vibe was humming in the Whittemore Center Arena Saturday night as students poured in to see the reggae-rock band Slightly Stoopid. Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley played through the speakers while the crowd packed in on both sides of the metal barricades set in the center, creating a walkway for security and volunteers to identify problems on the floor.
“I’m pretty excited. This is definitely different than what SCOPE has picked in the past, but I like Shwayze, and I think Slightly Stoopid should be fun,” said junior Kristen Paige.
Slightly Stoopid was a bit of a venture from previous years of hip-hop artists, like Nelly in spring 2014 and Kendrick Lamar in fall 2013, although rapper Shwayze as the opening act brought some of that back.
“I’ve seen Stoopid like three times, they always put on a great show so I’m pretty stoked,” said sophomore Tom Pawnell.
A hype-man for Shwayze ran out on stage.
“Come on New Hampshire, you guys ready for Shwayze?” he yelled at the crowd, working them into a chant with many in the middle of the audience jumping to the electrifying music.
The music cut — the lights shut off, and moments later the blue stage lights came on with fog machines rolling; Shwayze came out on stage, in a zip-up hoodie and sunglasses. He started in with some of his newer songs, tossing his sunglasses to the side and ripping off his hoodie.
“You guys like old school Shwayze?” he asked the crowd.
He continued into older hits like “Buzzin’” and “Sally Is A” and many in the crowd sang along to familiar radio hits.
The floor was only a third full for most of his performance; more people trickled in towards the end and as the Slightly Stoopid crew was getting ready to take the stage.
“Thanks for giving Shwayze your best tonight!” Shwayze said.
A reggae bass line began to bump from the speakers while the crew brought out the instruments.
“Damn, it’s cold!” one of the crewmembers said into the microphone during a sound check, responding to the below-40-degree temperatures — drastically different from those they are used to in their home town of San Diego, California.
The crew finished setting up the guitars, bass guitars, saxophone, trumpet, keyboard, drums and percussion, and Slightly Stoopid took the stage. The band got right into a funky instrumental under pink and blue lights, and the crowd started to loosen into the mood. Midway through the song, Kyle McDonald on bass switched instruments with Miles Doughty on the guitar, later switching back.
Doughty and McDonald both play bass, guitar and do vocals.
“Slightly Stoopid wants to thank you all for coming out tonight,” Doughty said. “Let’s get those [expletive] dancing!”
The band continued through some of their older and newer music, keeping a danceable flow and relaxed atmosphere.
“NO MOSHING OR CROWD SURFING,” read bright yellow and red signs to both sides of the stage. Despite the warning, a handful of students still crowd-surfed; many of them took selfies or Snapchats as they rolled over the crowd. Security on both sides of the crowd as well as the middle walkway would shine flashlights on those who did climb the crowds. Security then tried to get the crowd to move them to one of the sides to be pulled out.
A few puffs of smoke drifted above the crowd, and that familiar concert smell began to appear.
“I wouldn’t blaze that [expletive] in here, those folks are dangerous,” Doughty said, motioning toward the dozens of police officers waiting around the edges.
At the end of the next jam session, there was a bit of a pause. Some of the crowd started shouting out song names.
“You want us to take requests from here on out?” McDonald asked.
“Officer!” someone from the crowd yelled.
The band played into “Officer,” moving through more songs and a cover of Bob Marley’s “Roots, Rock, Reggae.”
More requests for “Wiseman” and “No Cocaine” were shouted.
“We’re here to play what you guys want to hear, not what we want to play,” McDonald said.
The band played through both requests. They then played “Sensimilla,” getting the crowd to call back the chorus. Flashlights scanned the crowd as puffs of smoke wafted into the air.
“You can’t get high when there’s a bunch of police around,” McDonald said.
The crowd continued dancing, warming up to the reggae beat and swinging to the music. More people surfed the crowd, still taking selfies or videos as they rode the sea of hands.
The band left the stage and went to the back.
“Slightly Stoopid! Slightly Stoopid!” the crowd chanted.
Doughty emerged from the back with his guitar and played a “Collie Man” solo. The band then joined him for three more encore songs, then headed out back for good.
Cold air greeted the crowd as they streamed out into the night sweaty and tired. Some gathered near the door, most walked back toward the parking lots or Main Street to get back home. The atmosphere was mellow but energetic — the crowd was relaxed but still pumped. Everyone shivered their way back to their homes, some already wondering who SCOPE might choose to bring to campus for their next concert.
“I had a great time. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but how can you not like that music? It’s just so happy!” said freshman Rebecca White.