Riley: CUSEapalooza showed off student talents

Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

15 bands played the Westcott Theater as part of CUSEapalooza Wednesday night.

Student run with student performers, this year’s CUSEapalooza featured 15 Syracuse student musicians who played, sang and shimmied their way over the Westcott Theater. Each set lasted around twenty minutes, and the genres ranged from EDM to pop. It was both variety and substance. Here’s a breakdown of everyone who played:

Opener Ose coaxed the crowd from the bar to the front of the stage. “It’s kind of weird for a Wednesday, but let’s do this,” he said,. A dude cool enough to wear sunglasses in doors, and strong enough performance wise to tackle the difficult job of being opener his almost sing-song-y rap style was both charming and dazzling. He performed the song “Crash,” and asked the audience to rate him out of five stars, like an uber driver. 5/5 Ose.


Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

Charlie Burg, a charming Midwesterner with vocals sounding like a poppy version of Vampire Weekend was the geek band that lit up the room with songs about Star Wars and girls they wanted to come over. Incredibly polished, they made the whole thing seem easy.

Is Haq stated eloquently, while performing, “I just fucking put words together.” With a lack of preamble or bluster, Haq jumped into his performance and lit up the stage. His sound was darker, but still practiced and understandable.


Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

Melan was so fierce, and she owned the stage with incredible confidence. It was like she was a seasoned pro — her movements seemed natural and bold. She rapped about herself    being herself, achieving her dreams, being the best she could be. She actually got the audience to sing the chorus to “Dope,” and the results were great. As Melan said, “I know I am the fucking best.”

The Easy was one of those oddly endearing blended sounds of gospel and jazz and rap which should just make a cacophonous mix of terrible noise, but instead comes together like it was all meant to be. Their cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” put a smile on my face, and I freaking loved that trumpet.


Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

Tyler Paull was the only DJ at the event and his particular EDM style was at times melodic, and then almost crossed into House territory but then swayed out again. With phat beats, he had the whole entire audience dancing and through remixes of The Weeknd, Drake and Rihanna. Because everyone needs a dance party.

Todd was essentially the young, boy-band heart throb of the evening. Male audiences screamed, “Marry me, Todd,” and “That’s my Baby.” His piano playing mixed with soulful vocals and the occasional Christmas carol resulted in a pop performance that was so sugary sweet despite the heartbreaking things he was singing about. But still, Todd didn’t quite fit a mold — because he covered Kanye.


Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

Ralfy was a word-spitting rapper in a Mr. Rogers sweater. His first live performance ever, he just started to rap this year. While there were a few bumps throughout the whole thing —Ralfy’s best songs included “Light It Up,” and “The Plan.” He also had one particular request for the audience, “If you’re taking videos, save that shit. My mom wants it,” he said. If you’re reading this, Ralfy’s mom, he did good.

Isaac Lewis was a bit blues-y, a bit Americana, but all sort of sad and melancholy sounding. With an incredible high-note, he blasted his way through his songs while strumming on his guitar, a whole one man band. His song “Glass House,” was an almost tear-jerker.


Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

Liv Kennedy is how I imagine autumn might sound — a bit Kate Bush, but darker and deeper and yet still in that sensitive singer song writer spot. She opened with a cover, of “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” but my personal favorite was “Dangerous.”

The Lab is what happens when a bunch of friends become a band, essentially. Giggling at each other, dancing across the stage with tons of inside jokes they were fun because it was obvious they were having fun. A rap band, they teased each other about their new country album they were putting out while in between dropping the f-word and wanting to be Drake’s designer. Totally unpolished, a bit all over the place but it didn’t really matter. That was their charm.


Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

Where The Lab lacked the practice polish, LiBossi had some in spades. Easy to understand, cool and collected, he was the much needed foil to The Lab’s exuberance. It was a complete shift in gears, but in a good way.

Sky Club was an odd balance of different people and personalities that came across as the most band-like of the bunch. A singer with a CHVRCHES like voice, a rapper with the best stage presence of the night, and a producer who mixed all the beats behind them created an energy where they just fed off one another. They played songs, “All I Know,” “Something New,” and “These Games,” which was the first song they made together.


Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor

The last performer of the night, Riley Mahaan, played to a nearly empty bar, but the people that stayed were so glad they did. She was a jazzy and fun with an incredible set of vocals crammed into one small human body. Her runs were on point and even she did that fun growl-y Grace Potter thing. People were leaving and when she opened her mouth, they came back. Her cover of Glee’s version of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” was a game changer.


Jacob Greenfeld | Asst. Photo Editor


Top Stories