August 28, 2011

The White Panda Ransacks Arts Quad

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Under rosy twilit skies and perfect summer weather, with booming bass kicks echoing off old stonework, thousands of Cornell students gathered on the arts quad Saturday night to dance and celebrate life on the hill. Not even the approaching hurricane or the possibility of rain could have put a damper on the energy the students brought to the quad Saturday. It didn’t matter whether you were a freshman seeing your first Arts Quad concert or a senior seeing your last, Saturday was all about coming out to the biggest party on campus — save for Slope Day — and having a good time.

Up first to warm up the crowd was True2Life, a hip-hop trio composed of k. Words ’05, Concise ’05 and Slangston Hughes ’05. The Cornell alumi performed a set composed of their own originals interspersed with hip-hop classics. Besides repping the Townhouses where the group originated, True2Life highlighted some of the geographic diversity of Cornell. After asking students from the West Coast to cheer, the group launched into a cover of Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang.” Next up was the Midwest, with a cover of Kanye West’s “Good Life.” The trio followed with covers from the South and the East Coast, before rounding out their set with one last song. Going into the short intermission between acts, the crowd’s excitement bordered on impatience as they waited for more music.

“What the fuck is up Cornell?!” asked The White Panda as the duo burst onto the stage, clad in matching white suits and their trademark panda masks. The group could barely contain their excitement as they ran around the stage, and you could hear it in their voices. Before they got behind the boards, the two asked each class to represent itself with a cheer. “Class of 2012 where you at?!” drew a few cheers, as did 2013 and 2014, but the loudest by far was the freshman Class of 2015. With a pumped-up crowd ready to party, the group began their set.

Mashups with familiar backing beats got the crowd going, with White Panda hits “I Want Brooklyn Back” and “What You Know About Little Secrets” getting the best response. Hundreds of students occupied the area immediately in front of the stage, with their hands up in the air, dancing freely. This tightly packed, hot, sweaty mass was the best indicator of how The White Panda kept up the concert’s energy all night long. Artists who come to Cornell are sometimes put off by the response of the crowd (The Flaming Lips, for example), but Saturday night’s crowd kept the DJs pumped up while performing.

Perhaps the best aspect of Saturday’s concert wasn’t the music itself, but the atmosphere created by having a free concert in one of the most beautiful parts of campus. Those fond of dancing could join the huge group in front of the stage. Other students sat on the grass, or on the balcony above Libe Cafe, taking in the scene. A few students watched the concert from the lap of the A.D. White statue.  Thatcher Barton ‘12 sums it up: “I had a great time. It didn’t really feel much like a concert, but they kept the crowd pumped and the energy going all night.”

Well-deserved kudos to the CCC for putting on a great concert and building upon what has become a new favorite tradition at Cornell. Along with a free show comes a great opportunity to get the whole campus together, and over the past few years these concerts have only grown in size and spectacle. In the words of Jess Bidelman ‘12: “I thought it was a great opportunity for freshman to have fun and see the awesome late night programming Cornell has to offer.” Next year will probably be even bigger.

By the time the concert ended, and the students began filtering through the streets back to their new homes on the hill, I overheard at least ten people looking up from their phones and saying, “It’s only 11:00?” Time flies when Cornell students are having fun.

Original Author: Patrick Cambre