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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Concert review: Kweli, Sugarcult and William Tell rock Centennial”

    The very different worlds of rock and rap came together Tuesday night at Centennial Hall as hip-hop artist Talib Kweli and rock acts Sugarcult and William Tell performed as part of the Virgin College Mega Tour.

    The show struggled to get off the ground with William Tell’s tired and insipid form of pop rock, which is probably even too schmaltzy for VH1. He played to a mostly empty hall, though three dedicated female fans cheered him on and danced in their seats.

    California pop-punkers Sugarcult were next, and right from the start singer Tim Pagnotta expressed his disappointment in the audience. “”Are these assigned seats?”” he asked the crowd. “”That’s bullshit,”” he replied, and, much to the chagrin of the security staff, urged members of the crowd to leave their seats and stand up close to the front. A large portion of the growing audience did so, but was quickly dispersed, while Pagnotta continued to taunt security guards.

    Sugarcult’s performance was much more energetic, as the band played songs from its newest album, Lights Out, as well as its lone hit, “”Bouncing Off the Walls,”” from 2001’s Start Static. The band’s set might have been improved by talking less and playing more, but members won points with the audience by announcing that they would be hanging out at the merchandise table after their set.

    By the time Kweli hit the stage, the audience had grown immensely, and he was given a warm welcome. His performance had a retro R&B vibe, thanks to two stellar backup singers (who perfectly filled the shoes of Mary J. Blige on “”I Try””). He showed off his ample rapping talents on songs like “”Broken Glass,”” “”Good to You”” and the crowd favorite “”Get By.””

    He offered up impressive freestyle raps, including one set against the backdrop of the Eurhythmics’ “”Sweet Dreams.”” Kweli also performed three new songs from his upcoming album Ear Drum.

    He kept the performance spontaneous by frequently stopping in the middle of a track and switching to another. After an encore, Kweli closed the night with a tribute to late hip-hop producer J Dilla.

    Mixing rock and rap on the same tour is not necessarily a bad idea, and in some cases could produce something extraordinary. Unfortunately, William Tell and Sugarcult (whose antics overshadowed its actual music) simply couldn’t keep up with the enthralling Kweli, but his talent was more than enough to carry the evening alone.

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