Review: Bandersnatch’s live return was “A-O-K”

Review: Bandersnatch was "A-O-K"

The concert series, presented by University Union, returned to its in-person format in Goldstein Auditorium.
Published: October 24, 2021
Tai Verdes was the highlight of the night with his feel-good music and confident stage presence. (Photo by Cali Delisle)
Tai Verdes closed out the night with an upbeat and energetic performance.

All things considered, Bandersnatch accomplished exactly what University Union sought to do with it. The small, more intimate show gave students the chance to experience the music of up-and-coming artists BenSpence, Maude Latour and Tai Verdes for only $5. Latour currently racks up nearly one million monthly Spotify listeners, while Verdes has a reported 11.5 million monthly listeners. Students will be grateful Bandersnatch gave them the opportunity to see these artists at such a low cost, because it’s looking like the two performers are on the trajectory to not be considered “up-and-coming” for much longer.

BenSpence opened with, “Yo what the f— is up, Syracuse,” and then proceeded to warm up the crowd with an EDM set. There were a few polite fist-pumpers, but students didn’t seem to be too taken with the DJ. Still, you have to give him credit for having the guts to get up on stage in front of his peers (BenSpence is a student at SU) and break the crowd’s ice for the next two acts. Alone on the stage with just his bucket hat and turntable, his music woke people up and got them excited for the sets to come.

Maude Latour, however, had fans enraptured- myself included. Everything from her outfit to her performance was high-energy, with lots of dancing around the stage and quick anecdotes about each song. Plenty of students knew her music and were belting along with the lyrics. “Block Your Number” was definitely a highlight. Audience members jumped around and commiserated with the song’s chronicling of the grief of a regrettable heartbreak. Contrast the room’s high frequency during this song, with the peace of the collective meditative breath Latour had everyone take halfway through her set, and the young singer really accomplished an impressive range of energy and emotion in her performance. In an interview before the show, Latour talked about the challenge of being a rising musical artist and a student at Columbia University, saying that she was “constantly checking in with myself and prioritizing the fact that I’m supposed to be enjoying this.” Her moment of peaceful meditation with her fans was one such moment when Latour found a way to connect with Syracuse and make her performance special. She is the kind of artist who thrives in an intimate venue setting, and Bandersnatch was the perfect exposition of this. Maude Latour was by far the highlight of the concert for me personally, and Syracuse should be on the lookout for what she does next.

Maude Latour brought energy and personability to her Bandersnatch performance. (Photo by Cali Delisle)
Maude Latour brought energy and personability to her Bandersnatch performance.

Closing act Tai Verdes appeared on the Bandersnatch stage with a swagger and confidence that he carried throughout his set. Walking onto the stage calmly and staring down the audience in a casual hoodie and high top Jordans, he had the crowd mesmerized from the moment the lights found him. Verdes opened with a ballad, and then proceeded to shatter the ear drums of the crowd with heavy bass and drums, for which I’d say the audience thanked him. The students loved Tai Verdes, and it was easy to see why. He did a great job maintaining the energy of the audience while still coming across as cool, calm and collected with his upbeat, feel-good music. Obviously “A-O-K”, a song made widely popular by TikTok, was a crowd favorite.

It’s a shame it was a bit of a harrowing process to find tickets and get into the show. The crowd might have filled up more than half the room if the ticket-buying process was less convoluted and UU hadn’t waited until three days before the show to start promoting it, but the artists made the most of it, and you could feel in the air how grateful everyone was to be in a traditional concert setting again. All in all, the community is just grateful to have another pre-pandemic norm back and get to come together to experience some music.