Let me paint you a picture. It’s the first Monday of the semester — around noon, in the awkwardly long break period you have that is unavoidable with freshman pre-enroll. You receive a text from a jubilant friend: A photo of an event flyer. Suddenly, your optimism and anxiety about the week and semester ahead are put on pause. Your heart skips a beat — could it be true? Did the Cornell Concert Commission seriously secure an event with Beach Bunny this weekend? Campus Groups immediately receives your $10 and promises you a spot for Saturday night.
Alright, maybe that experience was exclusive to me. But I can’t lie! Beach Bunny is known by many for their TikTok fame. Don’t get me wrong, I love their hits — “Cloud 9” was my eighth most-played song of 2022! But even their less viral songs litter my playlists. Beach Bunny is an absolute staple on my Spotify, so I spent all week anticipating this concert. It did not disappoint.
The guest artist, Magdalena Bay, started the show off with a bang. First, I have to point out how much I appreciated the band members’ outfits, especially the lead singer’s sick white platform boots. Everything about the band’s set felt like — and I don’t use this phrase lightly — a fever dream. With the vocals resembling an alternative era Britney Spears, the shocking yet tasteful whistle-tone moments and the lead singer pulling out a pink bunny mask, I was confused in the best way possible. Don’t even get me started on the new breed of instrument they started to play at one point — was I the only one who had never seen a keyboard clarinet before, or was I just late to the trend? The opener was seriously ethereal and unexpected, and the crowd absolutely ate it up. In a building as big as Bailey Hall, it’s not easy for everyone in the auditorium to see that you know every word being sung. Someone in the front row managed to do just that; all of my friends adored their energy and enthusiasm. If you’re reading this, please know you brought the vibes my friends and I needed for the night. Magdalena Bay went hard on the crowd engagement with their chanting, and their enthusiasm set a wonderful scene for the main act.
It’s hard to accurately describe the feeling of seeing a beloved artist in concert. How can one explain the feeling in your chest as you sing along to the live versions of the songs you’ve been playing on repeat? The feeling of missing the experience before it’s even over? Wondering what the artist is thinking on stage — could they even fathom how I feel about their music? For avid concertgoers, I’m sure this sounds familiar. But in my experience, only truly wonderful performers inspire this sense of awe. Beach Bunny didn’t flare up the dramatics with special effects or crazy dancers, but their raw talent and ability to bend genres won me over.
My personal favorite song of the night was “Good Girls (Don’t Get Used).” This song embodies what I love most about Beach Bunny’s music: The lyrics are direct and simple but so deeply relatable and wittily strung together. And just like Lili Trifilo, I really am “tired of dumb boy talk.” The most unforgettable moments, though, came from the crowd-pleasers. During the band’s most popular songs, “Prom Queen” and “Cloud 9,” it felt like every student dancing in Bailey Hall was connected. With an undergraduate student body of more than 15,000, it’s a rare experience at Cornell to feel so united. Maybe it was the students in the back row initiating the dance moves that the whole crowd eventually mimicked or Trifilo herself admitting she had never seen a crowd do that before. Perhaps it was the knowledge that, faced with our separate challenges in the coming semester, everyone in the auditorium would be able to fondly remember our shared celebration.
I have to hand it to the Cornell Concert Commission. It’s hard to get Cornell students to relax, and I think this set of artists was the perfect choice for the task.
Isabella Hackett is a freshman in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].