Under the Electric Sky: UB hosts Bingo Players, 3LAU and DNNYD

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Not everyone was as prepared as Kathryn McSpedon for Friday night's Electric Tundra. While most students made sure they had their student IDs and appropriate attire, McSpedon had other priorities.

“We have water and chairs in case any of you guys are rolling too hard,” she shouted out to concert goers after they passed the security checkpoint to enter Alumni Arena.

The arena, which holds roughly 6,000 people, was packed Friday night for Electric Tundra, UB’s first Electronic Dance Music festival. The festival featured DNNYD, 3LAU and main attraction Bingo Players. Electric Tundra, a Student Association event, was the first of two SA concerts this semester, the second being SA’s annual Spring Fest concert.

McSpedon, a sophomore English major, is a representative from the student club Students for Sensible Drug Policy. McSpedon was there for what she described as “harm reduction.”

“We’ve acknowledged that it’s an EDM festival, so people will be taking drugs. We want them to do it safely. Saying ‘don’t do it’ doesn’t work,” said McSpedon. “We know [students] are going to do [drugs], so we want them do them safely and responsibly.”

Thomas Tiberi, director of Student Life, told The Spectrum in March Student Life would be taking all precautions necessary to protect students, including safety stations, police patrols and pre-concert security screens.

McSpedon set up just inside of the arena where everyone had to pass her to get inside. She had a table with jugs of water, some chairs in case patrons became fatigued or anxious, cut-up straws to provide what McSpedon calls “safe snorting” tools, as well as lube, condoms and flashcards with popular drugs and their dosage information.

The concert was funded by the $94.75 fee undergrads pay to SA each semester; the talent cost roughly $90,000, according to SA President James Ingram. Students who have experienced EDM festivals before were mostly ecstatic UB was hosting the festival and were excited for it to begin.

“Honestly, raves are when everyone comes together and just enjoys to the music. No matter how you’re feeling, you come to a rave and dance to the music and meet new friends. That dynamic is different from any other concert,” said Neneyo Mate-Kole, a sophomore pharmacology and toxicology major.

Students who came to the festival were clad in bright colors. Most of the concert-goers wore neon tank tops with words either referencing “good vibes” or funny phrases like one shirt with the "‘beer’iotic table of elements."

Short-shorts and flower tiaras were also a mainstay of Electric Tundra’s dress code, the former not being exclusive to any gender. Some students stepped it up and wore full-on costumes.

DNNYD’s set was first. Once their music came on, people crowded the stage, jumping to the music. When the beat dropped, the crowd seemed to erupt in a joyful chaos.

Some dancers jerked, others just moved their bodies in cadence to the beat. Many shuffled for hours at a time, not missing a single step. But the most entrancing dancers there were the students with light-up gloves finger-tutting.

A group of students sat on the floor, as one dancer began finger-tutting in front of their faces. The students were utterly hypnotized. It was as if the dancer was telling them a story with their gloves that only the wide-eyed patrons sitting crisscrossed on the floor could understand.

The maelstrom of sweating limbs flailing to the beat seemed almost hypnotic under the lasers and strobe lights.

3LAU’s set began almost immediately after DNNYD’s ended. There was little time for tired patrons to relax, and people on the outskirts of the crowd continued dancing for hours.

3LAU’s music sounded like something from the alien mothership in the film “Independence Day.” The quick, stuttering tones produced a clicking sound that were complimented by laser-esque vibrations scattered throughout.

Other songs played that night had a different flavor. Many of them were remixes of popular songs - even classics got a robotic makeover. The chorus to Rick James’ “Superfreak” shook the arena to the rafters, especially when the beat dropped and the crowd went into a frenzy.

Soon after, “Baking soda! I got baking soda!” from O.T. Genasis’ hit song “CoCo” erupted from the mammoth set of speakers. The entire crowd yelled the lyrics until the beat dropped. No genre of music was safe from being assimilated.

When 3LAU's set ended, many patrons became restless. Students wandered the concert floor looking for a place to sit, be it on the floor itself or in the bleachers further back. Some just left entirely.

After a short break, Bingo Players began its set with one of its more popular songs, “Get Up (rattle).” The crowd showed a ton of intensity to start their set.

“[The concert] was amazing. It was very hot though. My favorite part was definitely when they remixed that Drake song at the end,” said Rob Whitehorn, a sophomore mechanical engineering major.

While the intensity kept up in the center of the floor -- which at many points in the night was basically a mosh pit -- the crowd began thinning out during the Bingo Players’ set. Instead of ending in a bang, the show ended in a fizzle, as people made for the exits with a few minutes left.

But some students had a good time at Electric Tundra and praised the SA for having multiple concerts in order to appeal to as many students as possible. SA's Spring Fest, which is usually the only big concert of the spring semester, will be on May 2 and feature alternative acts Young the Giant, In The Valley Below, Banks and Bear Hands.

“It was lit,” exclaimed Brandon Gesler, a sophomore business administration major, of the EDM show. “UB has to do something like this again.”

Hopefully, the show will satisfy student’s concert cravings until the alt rock acts hit Baird Point next month. 

James Battle is an asst. features editor and be reached at james.battle@ubspectrum.com