The All-American Rejects Rock the Spring Concert



The student antics surrounding Alesso’s evening performance at SpringFest 2013 led to last year’s Jasper Days being a mid-morning country music concert with relatively poor student attendance.

This year, the return of the carnival, barbeque and The All-American Rejects headlining an afternoon concert proved to be a winning formula that appeased students and administrators alike.

Some of the events on The Quad included a inflatable climbing wall. Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann
Some of the events on The Quad included a inflatable climbing wall. Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann

“I think bringing back the carnival and barbeque and making the concert later was a great decision,” junior Matt Maino said.

“It made SpringFest an all-day event instead of just a short concert in the morning.”

The day began with games, hamburgers and hot dogs available on the quad. Students came out for attractions that included an inflatable climbing wall, a speed painter and trampolines.

As 2 p.m. approached, students began forming a line outside Draddy Gymnasium before the opening act took the stage. While initially indie rock band Circa Waves was set to perform, R&B singer Bridget Kelly instead warmed up the crowd prior to the Rejects playing their set.

Opening act Bridget Kelly. Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann
Opening act Bridget Kelly. Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann

Kelly, an artist signed to Roc Nation who has recorded a song with rapper Kendrick Lamar, performed a few of her own tracks and a cover of summer 2014 hit “Rude” by Magic!.

“It’s actually my first concert,” Matt Schroeder, a freshman said. “It’s been great so far.”

As the lights came on between the two sets, the crowd began buzzing with anticipation for the pop-punk headliner—a group that was at the peak of their popularity during most of the attendants’ middle school days.

Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann
Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann

Still, members of the band interviewed by The Quadrangle prior to the concert did not know what to expect from the crowd—a common occurrence with college audiences.

  “Because it’s a college show, there’s a lot of potential for kids who don’t normally listen to us to come out. So it can be interesting,” guitarist Mike Kennerty said.

“It’s just different every time. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

  Yet, when the band took the stage and got the whole crowd singing along to “Dirty Little Secret” from the start it became apparent that the MC students’ familiarity with the Rejects’ music would not be an issue.

Throughout the band’s high-energy performance, lead singer Tyson Ritter bounded back and forth across the stage, showed off his vocal range and shared some irreverent commentary with the crowd in-between songs.

This included humorously pointing out specific students for their behavior or appearance. Ritter dedicated one slow ballad “I For You” to all the “beautiful girls” in the audience.

Freshman Julianna Widlund was perched atop her boyfriend’s shoulders and caught the particular attention of Ritter, who joked that she should be with him instead.

“SpringFest summed up was the best day of my year, and The All-American Rejects really made me feel so awesome,” Widlund said.

At one point during the band’s show, they also broke out into an impromptu performance of “Happy Birthday” in honor of Ritter’s recent thirty-first birthday. This concluded with a cake being brought on stage for him to blow out the candles.

Lead singer Tyson Ritter celebrated his recent birthday on stage at the concert. Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann
Lead singer Tyson Ritter celebrated his recent birthday on stage at the concert. Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann

While Ritter joked onstage that he likes to replace his age of 31 with “dirty fun,” other members of the band acknowledged before the show that they are indeed getting older and have adjusted their schedules accordingly.

“We’re not spring chickens any more,” Ritter admitted. “We’re just taking it easy. We killed it pretty hard for like a decade, touring and recording.”

While the group has been playing at several college shows in the last few weeks, their work has been mostly limited to the weekends.

“I do like being home during the week,” drummer Chris Gaylor said, “It’s kind of awesome.”

The group has no plans to release a new album anytime soon, but said they might be recording something in the near future.

Regardless, the crowd enjoyed hearing the band’s older hits and packed in front of the stage complete with intricate lighting.

After the band’s roughly hour-long set finished, students chanted for an encore, particularly the hit song “Gives You Hell,” which the Rejects had not yet played.

Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann
Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann

The band obliged, with Ritter returning to the stage wearing a Sixth Borough t-shirt and a small video camera of his own to capture the moment.

When the recognizable opening notes were played, the crowd cheered and sang along for one final time.

After that final track, students emptied out of Draddy just as the morning carnival was finished being packed up from the quad.

The crowd also included some non-Manhattan College students here as guests with tickets bought the week prior.

Maya Alper, a sophomore at Barnard College, had attended Columbia University’s spring concert a few weekends ago but enjoyed MC’s more.

“I had a lot of fun, totally a blast from the past with The All-American Rejects. It was great to see everyone singing along here today,” Alper said.

“We had Big Sean play at Columbia which was alright, but with all the controversy surrounding the event this year—tied up with the sexual assault policy debate and limiting the capacity of the concert to half the student body—it didn’t quite live up to all the hype.”

While the Rejects may not currently have any chart-topping hits, it didn’t stop students from enjoying the concert and the rest of the day’s events.   

Additional reporting by Senior Staff Writer Natalie Sullivan & Editor Lauren Carr

Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann
Photo by Kevin Fuhrmann