On Friday, April 1, St. Olaf College held their first ever Urban Sound Music Festival presented in coordination with MEC and Smack Radio, completely student-led. Held in the Pause Mane Stage, Urban Sound showcased student musicians from various musical disci- plines, debuting new Ole artists as well as highlighting students who have been making music on this campus for years. Performers included Paulo Gladney ’19, Tolu Toluhi ’18, Gen. Rising (Tatyana Hornof ’19, Maddie Thies ’19, Gunnar Olseth ’19, Lilia Escobar ’17 and Griffin House ’19), Afritino (Romario Smith ’17, Dillon Cathro ’17 and Alma Castañeda ’18), EJ the Catalyst (Efren Ramirez Jr. ’18) and DJ Ross Nevin ’17.
Gladney started the night off with nothing but his voice, a guitar and a loop peddle, singularly filling up the room. His shoutout to his mother after his first song instantly endeared him to the audience. His cover of Ed Sheeran’s “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” was
straightforward and upbeat, and his use of a loop peddle provided the audience with an inside look at how he builds his music.
Following Gladney was Toluhi, play- ing a set of fun and energetic songs including a cover of One Direction’s “Drag Me Down.” His band featured Paul Johnson ’19 on bass, Michael Banwart ’18 on piano, Escobar on cajón and Graham Essex ’18 guitar. Toluhi’s songs were catchy and emotive, and he encouraged the crowd to pick up the lyrics and sing along.
Gen. Rising’s jazzy attitude, engaging tempo transitions and aura of complete confidence made for an entertaining third act.
Every single act took the stage with a bearing like it had always been there, and the audience certainly agreed. Their fun and casual personalities paired per- fectly with their spirited and relatable songs.
Afritino captivated the audience with their synchronicity and the energy behind their movement. Backed by a
high-octane track, the three dancers brought a different artistic mode to Urban Sound.
EJ the Catalyst, hailing from the south side of Chicago, was clearly a crowd favorite. Accompanied by DJ Nevin, the hip hop set was filled with energy and momentum that flowed for- ward, bringing the audience along.
The last set of the night brought the audience into the mind of Alex Hemmer ’18, with her personal and honest lyrics. Equipped with just her guitar and her voice, she filled the room and brought the mood to a dreamy calm. Noting that sometimes one lan- guage isn’t enough to express yourself, she sang in both English and Dutch.
The concert concluded with an impromptu dance party led by DJ Nevin. The concert was well attended and certainly well received. Let’s hope this is the start of a new tradition here at St. Olaf.