Juice Jam 2019 rocks Skytop Field

Juice Jam 2019 rocks Skytop Field

With 21 Savage as headliner, the afternoon-long music festival brings a diverse range of artists to Skytop Field.
Published: September 10, 2019
21 Savage performs at the annual fall Juice Jam at Skytop Field on Sunday.
21 Savage drew an enthusiastic response from thousands of fans at Sunday's Juice Jam concert.

This year’s Juice Jam lineup of trendy emerging artists and one of rap’s biggest names paired well with the high-energy enthusiasm from a few thousand students at University Union‘s school-year opening concert.

Partly sunny skies and a steady breeze helped beat the heat — a welcome change from last year’s 90 degree temperatures that caused some performers to cut their sets short.

So Sunday’s atmosphere seemed just about perfect as the Juice Jam lineup topped by headliner 21 Savage and the audience kept each other hyped throughout the afternoon of live music and revelry after a couple weeks of classes.

Kilo Kish immediately set the tone by walking on stage in a pastel pink dress and glitter eyeshadow, drawing the attention of the few audience members present with her style and voice. The rapper proceeded to jump and sing with enthusiasm, encouraging those watching to move along as well to the song “Like Honey” off of her most recent EP mothe.

Backstage, Kilo Kish went into greater detail about how her hobby of making music has evolved into an art form.

“I like to make things that feel like myself,” the 29-year-old artist said. “My reasoning for doing art is pure.

“I’m not necessarily doing it to make hit songs, I’m doing it to express myself.”

Syracuse University students cheer for 21 Savage's performance at the annual fall Juice Jam at Skytop Field on Sept. 9, 2019.
SU students cheer during 21 Savage's Juice Jam performance at Skytop Field on Sunday.

Led by singer Matt Quinn, Philadelphia indie rockers Mt. Joy attracted a sizable crowd by the time they played their first song. The band’s attire notably mirrored several students in the crowd with similar sweater and flannel looks. Mt. Joy’s fans enthusiastically sang and danced along to tracks such as “Silver Lining” as the band wrapped its bright and upbeat set.

Those less interested wandered off to grab an early spot for Fletcher at the other stage. A handful of students went to partake in the bounce houses and concession stands on the edge of the concert grounds.

A large audience gathered even before Fletcher took the stage with students eagerly lining up to secure a place near the front. Screams and claps immediately filled the air as the pop singer walked on.

The melancholy nature of Fletcher’s opening song, “If You’re Gonna Lie,” contrasted with Juice Jam’s upbeat mood, but managed to attract even more listeners. As she went through her setlist, the crowd began singing along more, especially once she asked, “Do any of you guys have a shitty ex? If you do, you’re gonna like this song.”

During a preshow interview, Fletcher described her approach to songwriting as personal.

“I think the way that I like to classify my music is aggressive and vulnerable and TMI,” the 25-year-old New Jersey native said. “Everything that I write about is something that happened to me, it’s very much like a diary.

“I wear my heart on my sleeve only because I wish I had an artist to look to like that when I was growing up.”

The Atlanta-based hip-hop duo EarthGang seemed to also be eagerly anticipated as students flooded the main stage minutes before their set. The high energy of the crowd was obvious as students began to jump, put their hands up, and sing along to the music as they waited.

When the duo actually appeared, they circled the stage in brightly colored neon jackets and vests and lead people to chant along with them. EarthGang kept people engaged as they played songs, including “Meditate” and “Top Down” off of their most recent album, Mirrorland.

The duo directed the crowd to open up a mosh pit, participate in a moment of meditation, and invited multiple students on stage to dance. As they ended the set, the duo thanked the crowd for their enthusiasm. “You clearly f— with our energy and we f— with yours.”

With the audience already buzzing after EarthGang’s performance, it was no surprise that headliner 21 Savage drew the largest and loudest response from the day’s crowd.

The U.K.-via-Atlanta rapper’s setlist spanned his critically praised work such as “a lot” and “monster” along with mega hits like his Post Malone collaboration “Rockstar.”

Compared to EarthGang’s energetic set prior, 21 Savage appeared subdued as he casually strolled around the stage, letting the track play or pointing the microphone at the audience instead.

Regardless, students remained hyped, continuing to dance and follow along. 21 Savage had the exhausted but smiling crowd cheering until Juice Jam’s final moments.