Iggy Azalea and Magic! at Meadowbrook Music Festival
Written by: Music Director Anthony Spak (@Spakdaddy)
Photos by: Music Director Anthony Spak
Program Director Lauren Barthold (@bylaurenb)
SVP President Lelia Cotten (@RhymesWTequila)
Rochester, MI – Iggy Azalea and Magic! warmed up Meadowbrook Music Festival on a chilly Friday night at the Student Program Board’s annual Fall Concert.
Attendees began to congregate outside of the venue an hour and a half before doors opened. Most of the early arrivers were OU students.
While they waited in line, concert-goers were treated to music and free-giveaways from three local radio stations: AMP 98.7, Channel 95.5, and 88.3 FM WXOU, Oakland University’s on-campus station.
At 6:30 the doors opened and fans quickly filed in to the outdoor venue. Not long after, Magic!, the opening act, took the stage. The Canadian band’s first few songs were brimming with their energetic blend of reggae and rock. Magic!’s rhythm section immediately got the crowd to wiggle in time to their deep grooves. Drummer Alex Tanas laid into his golden-sparkle Gretsch kit with cutting, half-time beats and funky offbeat fills that were reminiscent of another famous reggae-rock drummer, Stewart Copeland of The Police. Bassist Ben Spivak (sporting a vintage Grateful Dead t-shirt) laid on deep, thick reggae bass lines alongside Tanas’, and together they got the crowd dancing.
After three songs and a bit of a temperature drop, lead singer and guitarist Nasri complimented the audience’s enthusiasm, saying “You guys are really warming this place up!”
After playing a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 anthem “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, dedicated “to the ladies” by Nasri, the front man took a moment to address the crowd on a more personal level. “Can I say something serious? Positivity is the key to happiness in life,” he said.
Magic! closed their set with “Rude”, their hit song that spent six straight weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the USA this past July and August. The crowd erupted as the opening chords sounded and sang along to the familiar tune.
The minute Magic! left the stage, the young and rowdy crowd immediately began asking for more music, chanting “I-GGY! I-GGY!” After a half hour wait, the main act finally walked onto stage to thunderous applause.
Amethyst Amelia Kelly, better known to the world as Iggy Azalea, took the stage around nine p.m. The Australian-born rapper has been riding a hot streak of popularity since the release of her debut album, The New Classic, which spawned four hit singles, including her ubiquitous mega-hit “Fancy” that also went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts over the summer.
Iggy was much taller than expected. The Aussie towered over her four backup dancers as they shimmied and twerked through a short, highly-choreographed set.
Azalea and her onstage crew of four dancers, two backup singers, and a DJ played through 17 songs, including her four singles from The New Classic. Azaela spoke very little during the show between songs, only instructing the DJ a number of times to “drop that shit”, or begin the beat for the next song.
While Iggy’s music is popular and the crowd sang along to the hits, the music was not the main focus of the crowd or the performer. Azalea’s butt was her greatest weapon in terms of controlling the audience; her
backside has taken on a life of its own with help from social media networks like Twitter and Instagram, where advertisements and pictures of “Iggy Azalea’s Ass” are shown and shared regularly.
Azalea was certainly aware of her valuable asset, and knew how to work the crowd with just a simple shake of her hips. Fans went into frenzy when Azalea would slowly bend down mid-song and shake her butt, more so than they did for any line or beat of any of her actual songs. Simply put, it was all about the booty for Azalea.
The rapper’s voice was raspy through most of her set, which may seem to negate recent accusations by Buzzfeed of her lip-syncing onstage during a performance with Jennifer Lopez. Still, her performance suffered a bit because it appeared that she was losing her voice the longer her set went. Again, the audience didn’t seem to mind as long as Azalea and her dancers continued to twerk on and around each other.
Azalea closed her set with “Fancy”, her biggest hit. Friday night’s version seemed watered-down, which is understandable considering that her backup singers had to sing the hook, rather than Charli XCX, who sings on the recorded version. Azalea saved a special gesture for the last song, waiting until the last few minutes of the set to actually touch her own behind. The audience roared its loudest at this moment when Azalea grabbed her own butt cheek and briefly fondled it. Soon confetti shot out of the side of the stage over the crowd, Azalea thanked the crowd “for the support”, and exited the stage without an encore.
In terms of popularity and current relevance, the Student Program Board landed a great headliner that created lots of excitement around campus. In terms of talent, character, and musical quality, however, one has to wonder whether or not Iggy Azalea was the right choice for the Fall Concert. Sure, Azalea’s music is bumpin’ and easy to drunkenly bob one’s head to. But should we as a student body support an artist who
so shamelessly relies on her own fake sexual gestures in order to garner attention from the media and applause from a crowd, rather than from her actual music? Should we support a female entertainer who reinforces negative stereotypes of both woman with her hyper-sexualized performances and hip-hop artists with her lyrics that focus on cash, ass, and nothing else?