Spring Fest is “Better With You”

by TAYLOR BRETHAUER & ROSE BRENNAN, Editor-in-chief and Editor

Manhattan College’s annual Spring Fest was held this past Saturday, April 21. The day, full of fun activities and a BBQ on the quad, lead up to a concert in Draddy Gymnasium. This year, students voted in Student Engagement’s Instagram contest for pop artist Jesse McCartney to perform.

With a slight change to the schedule, students found themselves soaking up the sun before the concert. In years past, the concert typically proceeded the BBQ and games on the quad.

As usual, there were inflatables on the grass, including the ever-popular mechanical bull, where students gathered around to cheer on their friends.

Inside of Smith Auditorium were photo backdrops painted by student Samitheus Savinon and her classmates. Savinon proposed the idea at a student government assembly meeting a few weeks prior.

“There are some students that I know that are hands-on and want to be creative. We want to have backdrops of areas that will remind us of the sixth borough [to take pictures in front of]. So they’ll be designed around Jasper pride […] and we’ll plan a hashtag to tag the pictures with too,” said Savinon at the March 28 meeting.

The inflatables were deflated and the food was taken away as the concert time loomed near.

Around 2:15 p.m., the student body began filing into Draddy Gymnasium, anxious and excited to see the man whom many called one of their first childhood crushes.

This particular Spring Fest was unlike any other. Student Government and The Office of Student Engagement had been teasing a second “surprise” artist since the announcement that McCartney would be headlining.

It seemed that the students forgot about this excitement in the moments leading up to the show, as they kept chanting, “Jesse!  Jesse!  Jesse!”

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Jesse McCartney (left) and Marc E. Bassy (right) performed at this year’s Spring Fest. NAOMI KITANO / COURTESY

But then, the second artist took the stage: up and coming singer/songwriter Marc E. Bassy.

Bassy opened with some crowd pumping songs, yelling out “let’s go Manhattan College!” and other expletives. But the surprise performance seemed to be lacking, as several students were seen exiting the gymnasium during this time. Others were shocked that Bassy had made the surprise appearance and were dancing along to his songs.

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Marc E. Bassy surprises MC students before the headlining act. NAOMI KITANO/COURTESY

Bassy finished up his set around 3:00 p.m. with his most popular hit, “You and Me”, after which stagehands began to prep the stage for McCartney’s arrival.

Between the set change, vice president of commuter affairs took to the stage to make a few announcements.

She began with a clever play on McCartney’s most popular song, “Beautiful Soul”, by saying to the crowd: “let’s hear it for all of those beautiful souls out there.”

She reminded seniors about the upcoming senior fair and also mentioned the upcoming commuter carnival.

Finally, the moment had arrived: McCartney took the stage and the crowd erupted into screams and cheers of those whose childhood fantasies were being fulfilled at last.

McCartney took to the stage with his hair slicked back, sunglasses on. He played some beats on a launchpad instrument, a square device with buttons that play back different sounds and tones. Eventually, the sounds began to form the opening of his recent hit, “Leavin’”, that utilizes dial tones of cell phones. The crowd went crazy once they realized what he was doing.

To the delight of the crowd, McCartney sang a lot of his tried-and-true favorites, including “How Do You Sleep?”, “Shake” and “Body Language.”

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McCartney serenades Christina Brancoto during his song “The Stupid Things.” NAOMI KITANO/ COURTESY

McCartney, whose new studio album is in the works, also played his newest song “Better With You”, and an unreleased song, “Wasted”, which McCartney said he had not played live in New York yet.

He then began to search the crowd for a girl to bring up on stage.  And much to junior Christina Brancoto’s delight, he chose her. McCartney sang “The Stupid Things.”

After Brancoto’s appearance, McCartney played one more song then departed the stage, much to the audience’s confusion.  Students looked at each other asking, “Is that it?”

Luckily, a few moments later, McCartney came back onstage and asked the audience, “Oh, did we forget something?”  The concertgoers screamed and, as expected, McCartney launched into his smash-hit, “Beautiful Soul.”

After the concert, The Quadrangle had the opportunity to speak to McCartney for a brief interview.

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McCartney held his microphone to the crowd as an opportunity for students to sing along. NAOMI KITANO / Courtesy

McCartney has been on a “college tour” lately, as he was previously at Saint Cloud State University in Saint Cloud, Minn., the night before.

When asked about the difference between a college show and a regular concert, McCartney said, “It’s a two-man show, so actually, musically, it’s a little different, because right now it’s just…my guitar player and I, and for my regular tour, I generally have all of my guys up there with me.  But what is really cool is I get to see all of the… collegiate crowd, which is…a different reaction from the normal audience.  Stereotypically, college students are the most fun and having the best time at the shows.”

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McCartney finished his performance with his smash hit, “Beautiful Soul.” NAOMI KITANO /COURTESY

When it was announced in January in a Quadrangle Exclusive announcement that McCartney would be headlining Spring Fest, director of student development, John Bennett, mentioned that McCartney had been one of the fastest artists to respond in recent years.

“[The college] called and apparently, there was an influx of fans who wanted to see me here,” said McCartney. “And I love that I get to do these shows. It’s like where the heart of my fans are and I want to play the music if they want to hear it.”

Ultimately, the concert was a hit with many students, claiming McCartney was a great performer and getting to dance with their friends to songs they grew up with. McCartney feels the nostalgia strikes an important cord with his fans.

“There’s a part of this show that tickles the nostalgic bone in some ways.  So a lot of people have this 2004 rush all over again, especially with songs like ‘Beautiful Soul’ and ‘She’s No You’, or some of the older ones.  So I think that it’s just a snapshot of wherever that person was in their life.”