This year's Fall Fest featured performers Mei Seimones, Lord Sko, and Simpson.
By Aidan Lally
Mei Seimones performing at Fall Fest (photo by Rin Vatovci).
The weekend after Halloween doesn’t usually carry too much hype, but the annual “Fall Fest” delivered some for those who came.
With the help of an online forum, students were able to help in picking three musical acts for the event. The musicians were greatly appreciated by the small crowd.
The Stood’s Major Events Coordinator, Vanessa Camacho has organized this event for the past two years. She’s had the torch passed to her from former student employees who have organized this long standing event.
“I like taking from the forum, but I also like introducing students to new artists,” said Camacho when explaining her process in choosing the performers.
The night opened with Mei Seimones: an indie jazz artist from Brooklyn. This bilingual singer/songwriter bounced between songs in English and in Japanese and featured two violinists and a new bassist. Her influences are varied and range from Thelonious Monk to Smashing Pumpkins ‘with a sprinkling of folk’.
In the song “Hfoas”, one of the band’s centerpieces, Seimone’s voice hearkened back to the 1980’s with an essence that might be compared to the Nigerian-British singer, Sade Adu. Mei was especially appreciated by other musicians in the crowd.
“Mei was my favorite set,” said attending musician Ben Cuomo. “Her band was so tight. The violins were an interesting touch,”
Purchase college’s campus does not easily lend itself to ‘fall festivities’. It has a funky, blackboard jungle type of dynamic with brutalist brick buildings. There are trees, but they are set urban-style amid the concrete and brick, not allowing for much “fall foliage” decor. This event really had to carry the mantle high to capture the fall mood.
Held in the Stood, the student employees spruced up the space with banners, fall-themed decoration, and festive lighting to lift up student spirit. The dark-purple stage lighting added to that nicely.
At 10:30 p.m, the Stood had never looked bigger, with empty floor space peeping out all over the place. However, an ardent crowd 4 rows deep gently bopped their heads to Washington Heights rapper Lord Sko.
Sko pulled his long hair out of his face as he rapped and held a wrestling belt on his shoulder. Sko worked with what he had and effectively amped up the crowd. His Mac Miller/Wu-Tang influence was positively New York.
Sko did not fall in the festivities. He rose up with songs like “FINDER’S FEE,” that tells the story of a ‘Poster-Child’ with the ‘silk-scarf." The lyrics to this song proved to be secondary – the music is what made it first-rate. It was a combination of bell-clear electric guitar fingerpicking chords with pacifying backing 50’s style do-op vocals that a grandfather might even approve of.
The crowd dwindled for the final act. Those who remained were excited for Simpson. Simpson welcomed us by handing out glow sticks, bubbles, and blow-up bunny ears.
She opened with a song requested by the crowd. She maintained an upbeat positive energy as she played her music, which was visibly and vocally appreciated by the students. A crowd favorite was the song “Switch Lanes,” a pop-rap anthem which Simpson played twice. Its hook had the crowd waving their arms back and forth which provided a sense of unity, something very beneficial for people to take home with them that evening.
Though the attending crowd was smaller than planned, the event proved to be full of intimate and gripping performances that uplifted people in a time when the days grow shorter, colder, and darker. Those who stayed for the music lived in it.
“This crowd was willing to accept people they didn’t know,” said Camacho, “I saw it from the crowd, people stayed, it was an iconic night.”