Fall Fest 2019: A journey through the decades
Courtesy of University Relations
With clear skies, carnival games and music that could transport you back in time, this year’s Fall Festival was nothing short of a good time as the Hofstra community came together to celebrate the beginning of another school year. While fun rides and good food made for popular attractions, the main event happened on the Fall Fest stage where artists united for unforgettable performances.
The stage warmed up with a performance from previous Unispan Records artist KarmaRé. The solo musician was not a rookie at singing on the Hofstra stage, as she put on a show at Hofstra’s Music Fest 2019 in the spring. Unlike Music Fest, however, the singer-songwriter was riding solo, absent of any band or accompaniment. Also different from last spring’s concert was that this time around, KarmaRé only performed three of her songs. “Not Fazed” and “i s l a n d” had the bass booming with beats that carried all across the field, while “Get Over” was performed as an acoustic version featuring her ukulele.
Up next, the Hofstra campus traveled back in time with the help of ’90s cover band Reservoir Dawgs, who belted out the best tunes from the decade. Opening with “My Own Worst Enemy,” guitarist and background vocalist Vinnie DeMasi, lead vocalist John Enghauser, bassist and singer Tia Vincent-Clark, drummer Sean Minardi and rhythmic guitarist Ali McDowell got the crowd nodding their heads to the beats of two decades ago. The entire group was dressed in all black and white attire with all but one member sporting black shades to match. The group had a lively energy to them, often dancing and jumping around along with those in the crowd. The guitar section in particular seemed to be having tons of fun, as they could be seen jamming out with one another or alone during a guitar solo. The beat of the drums blasted through the speakers and into the crowd for all to hear and enjoy. The Dawgs seamlessly transitioned from one song to the next, keeping the crowd’s energy alive and well. Though this crowd was mixed with both a younger and older audience, everyone – even the security – could be seen singing and dancing along to the ever-so-popular tunes.
Whether it was encouraging clapping, holding the microphone out to the audience or just asking questions about Bits n’ Bytes, the Dawgs made sure to interact with their small audience. At one point, Enghauser even whipped out his phone in the middle of performing, taking videos on stage of the band and audience.
Though petite, Vincent-Clark sustained some very high-pitches with her powerful pipes, belting songs like Alannis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know” and “Just a Girl” by No Doubt. The band covered almost every genre: upbeat bops, slower ballads, funky hits and even rock songs.
While other decades have had their time in the spotlight, the members of Reservoir Dawgs were here to usher in the resurgence of the ’90s. “The ’80s had a resurgence, and I think it’s now the ’90s’ time. One thing I like about ’90s music too is the ’80s music went more electronic and processed, and ’90s music pushed it back the other way to some extent. In some ways, the ’90s felt like a continuation of the ’70s more than a continuation of the ’80s,” DeMasi said, who is a Hofstra alumnus who graduated in 1998.
Despite the fact that most in attendance grew up on early-2000s music, there was a sense of excitement in the crowd when most people realized they knew the songs being performed.
Closing with songs like Blink-182’s “All the Small Things” and Foo Fighters’ “Everlong,” this became the start of a nostalgic night with music that transported the crowd to other decades.
Following Reservoir Dawgs was the highly anticipated performance by 3OH!3. Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte, the two band members, are known for their electro-pop hits from almost a decade ago, including the most recognizable numbers “Don’t Trust Me” and “My First Kiss.” With an infectious beat and the iconic line, “Tell your boyfriend if he says he’s got beef / that I’m a vegetarian and I ain’t fucking scared of him,” 3OH!3 was a long-awaited act of the night.
“Our music has always been just about rocking a party, having fun and making it a collective experience between everybody,” expressed Motte.
The duo from Boulder, Colorado, wasn’t afraid to have fun on and off stage, whether it was dancing around, signing a marriage certificate or playing spike ball while performing. At one point, Motte even ran out into the crowd, starting from the back and working his way up again to the stage. Like the Reservoir Dawgs, 3OH!3’s set was extremely interactive, as they often made eye contact and called out to audience members. One unexpected moment from Motte came when he called out a particular viewer for being on their phone too much. He even went so far as to get the entire crowd involved by having everyone shout out the name of the viewer’s friend.
Aside from this, the group loves their fans and is even planning on releasing new music. “There’s a lot of new music in the works. We don’t know if any of it is any good – that’s why we’ve been holding off on it, but there’s 40 to 50 new songs,” states Motte.
To close off the night’s musical memory lane was rapper Flo Rida, the headliner of the festival. The rapper’s set featured many of his iconic bops, such as “Low,” “Whistle” and “Good Feeling.” Handing out posters, t-shirts and even roses, Flo Rida and his crew, which consisted of two backup dancers and his hype men, made strides to bond with the much larger audience. They even went so far as to bring large groups of girls, guys and kids on stage with them to party the night away. Flo Rida also connected with his crowd through call-and-response chants and even throwing water into the crowd to cool them off. “It’s definitely an honor to be here – a lot of love, a lot of energy; I had a great time,” said Flo Rida.
He seemed to care for his very tight-knit, supportive crew, as he gave the floor to members of his posse to perform their own songs, even having the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to one of his backup dancers.
Similar to 3OH!3, Flo Rida is also working on new hits. “Definitely working on the album; by the end of the year, we should have something out. I’m in the studio right now cooking up,” he said.
This year’s Hofstra Fall Festival went down a musical timeline, hitting each of the most recent three decades in order. Starting with the ‘90s cover band, Reservoir Dawgs, continuing into the early 2000s with 3OH!3 and culminating with pop hits of the ‘10s by none other than Flo Rida, Fall Fest 2019 was one for the books.