Last weekend, the Campus Activities Council hosted rapper Yung Gravy for the annual spring concert. It was the first spring concert since Blackbear performed at Grand Valley State University in 2019.
Yung Gravy took the stage at Fieldhouse Arena on April 2. The event sold 4,500 tickets, which was the Fieldhouse Arena’s maximum capacity. It comes after T-Pain’s performance was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Matthew Raymond Huri, also known as Yung Gravy, is a 26-year-old rapper from Minnesota. His career took off in 2017 with his song “Mr. Clean,” which samples The Cordettes’ “Mr. Sandman.” Since its release, Yung Gravy’s song has gone platinum.
The concert was opened by DJ EDERZ, also known as Matthew Ednie, an emerging DJ from the Detroit area. He opened the set by mixing in popular songs, giving them a house party twist. He played both classic pop hits and new favorites, sampling Labrinth’s “Still Don’t Know My Name,” which was popularized on “Euphoria.”
“The best part is how I feel when I play,” EDERZ said. “It’s great to make a group of people happy in a live setting, live music obviously brings everyone together. That everyone is vibrating and having a great time on the same song at the same time, it’s really inexplicable .
EDERZ tries not to conform to a specific genre. He mixes dubstep, house, trap and hip-hop, turning each song into a unique experience. EDERZ has been a DJ for seven years, since he was in high school. EDERZ is an alumnus of Central Michigan University and often plays Mt. Pleasant at venues such as Wayside and Encore The Nightclub. It’s the first time he’s played a set on the west side of the state.
“My vision is always to bring fun, I always want to throw the crowd something they wouldn’t expect to hear in a DJ set,” EDERZ said. “I want to have them play music and mix things up that they won’t be able to hear on the radio or something that you can only hear on a live show. I don’t really want to combine any particular genre if he gets a good reaction, I like him.
EDERZ is a self-taught DJ and he advises anyone who wants to learn to buy a mixer and start practicing. He recalls that the hardest part of starting up is getting the first paid gig, recalling that the most important thing is networking to get connections. He describes the moment he was told he was opening for Yung Gravy as “pure excitement.”
“I was thrilled, my buddies who play hockey put me on him years ago when he was still growing as a musician,” EDERZ said. “I loved his music at the time, so to bring it all full circle, it’s just amazing.”
After DJ EDERZ’s set, Yung Gravy’s DJ, DJ Tiiiiiiiiiip came to play to warm up the crowd for the rapper. He played classics like “Sweet Caroline”, “Party in the USA” and “Burning Up” to get the crowd ready.
Throughout his other shows, Yung Gravy often throws objects at the crowd. During this show, he stopped the show to throw away signed Lunchables and water bottles. An audience member lifted his prosthetic leg, catching the rapper’s attention and receiving a Lunchable.
Unlike previous years, the CAB did not email students asking who they would like to see perform at the spring concert. Erin Westberg, director of Live Music, was responsible for finding an artist who would be the best fit. During Campus Life Night, CAB had a whiteboard where students could write down the artists they wanted to see or the genres or music they liked. After putting them all together, Westberg noticed that people were interested in pop and party music.
“I understood the demographics, the different genders and the different age groups,” Westberg said. “I found that pop and party music was popular with people our age, so I went from looking at the list the agent gave us, when I saw his name (Yung Gravy), we went from there.”
CAB has been planning this concert since last semester. The longest part was filling out the paperwork with the agencies and solidifying the contacts. After months of hard work, their efforts paid off.
Some of the CAB members have been in the band for all four years at GVSU, so that experience made up for the previously canceled 2020 gig.
“I’ve had a unique experience with CAB for four years, but this is only the second spring gig we’ve had,” said CAB President Jay Chapa. “My freshman year, I didn’t have a lot of behind the scenes, but it was really cool to see how Erin took on her own autonomy in this role and how they found ways to listen to what the student body wanted and to work with our advisors to make it happen.
Although the organization of the event went well, there were still some issues that the CAB had to face while organizing this event.
“It’s been hard to see the students not being so receptive to certain things,” Chapa said. “We really want to have a space where students feel comfortable sharing these feelings with us, but maybe we’d like to know a little more about why students are upset. We also think it’s a great opportunity to find out if students are looking for something different or something more.
Chapa said she wants students to share their feelings with CAB in the future. For CAB, it was difficult to find the one artist that matches what everyone wants to see, but they feel like with Yung Gravy, they achieved that as best they could.
“I’m very excited and very interested to see how it’s going to turn out because the campus culture is so different,” Chapa said. “Not in a good way or a bad way, it’s just different, and I’m very excited to see because I feel like the demographics and what we’ve heard people say as well as the people we have Views to buy tickets come from all sorts of areas on campus, so I feel like this is going to be a unique event in terms of all sorts of people coming.
Former students who went to Blackbear’s concert were more satisfied with this concert. Thus, the changes made by CAB were welcomed by some.
“I think Yung Gravy was a good pick for Grand Valley and what everyone loves,” said GVSU student Holly Heathfield. “I didn’t go to the Blackbear concert and I know a lot of other people didn’t, so it made more sense to me.”
While many students had fun at the concert. there was some confusion over specific rules, such as whether masks were acquired during the event. Prior to the event, questions were posted on CAB’s Instagram asking if they were needed.
“It was super fun, but I remember there was some confusion about whether or not we needed masks, which was interesting because we didn’t need them for the concert but we had to wear in class,” Heathfield said. “It just doesn’t make sense because everyone is piled on top of each other, but we need that in the classroom.”
The CAB is recruiting new members for next year and their applications are currently open. Those in the CAB have the ability to plan events like these, Chapa said.
With the spring concert having been canceled for a few years, the CAB knew the students were excited to have the event returning, but they felt no pressure. Westberg said she felt all events were going well.
“I think something really great this year is that we had the opportunity to start with a clean slate,” Chapa said. “The students we have engaging with CAB are almost entirely different than they were before. It’s not so much a sense of pressure as an opportunity.