Review: Juice Jam 2020 brings virtual performances to another level

Review: Juice Jam 2020 goes virtual

The concert brought excitement to fans this year through virtual performances made by A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Ari Lennox, and Beach Bunny
Published: September 13, 2020
Beach Bunny performs at Juice Jam 2020, a free virtual concert for Syracuse fans.
Beach Bunny performs a pre-recorded set for Juice Jam 2020, a free virtual concert Sunday night for Syracuse fans.

Every fall, SU’s Juice Jam concert brings thousands of students to Skytop Field, all ready to party and have a memorable night. Obviously, the 2020 concert looked very different. The show was entirely online, streamed through Vimeo for students to enjoy from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual lineup had a range of music genres fit for every fan, ranging from indie pop, R&B, and rap. Nearly 500 students from SU and ESF tuned in to see Beach Bunny, A Boogie wit da Hoodie and Ari Lennox perform. Each act performed 30 minute sets, with a five- to 10-minute intermission between each artist. As more students logged into the concert, the chat box piled with excited fans waiting to see artists perform their top hits.

Beach Bunny set the tone with their now-TikTok-famous song “Prom Queen” that went viral earlier this year. The four-piece group dressed in casual outfits while they performed in a recording studio. Lead singer Lili Trifilio brought strong, emotional vocals to the show , even through the computer screen. The audience got up close and personal with other members of the group, including Jon Alvarado, the drummer, as the camera constantly showed him displaying his epic drumming skills. Although the band is well-known for Trifilio’s vocals and quirky songs, their performance allowed the audience to engage with all the members of Beach Bunny.

Setting the mood with indie pop music allowed fans to experience a variety of different music genres throughout the night. After the 30 minute set, the concert went into a five-minute intermission to prepare for the next artists.

The anticipation for Ari Lennox to walk on stage was quite the moment for her fans. It began with an LED light poster of her face in the background, surrounded by an all-black set. Lennox made her way to the middle of the stage dressed in a mustard yellow dress, displaying her half-sleeve tattoo. Unlike Beach Bunny’s performance, Lennox filled the silence with a virtual conversation with her fans, urging them to make it through school.

“It’s hard to stay up late,” the 29-year-old singer said. “But you gotta push through, especially now.”


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Ari Lennox, who was among the three Juice Jam 2020 performers.

The set began with the song “Up Late” from her album Shea Butter Baby. The R&B singer showed off her smooth, well-trained vocals through most of the songs on the album. Not even a song later, the Vimeo chat was filled with fans asking her to perform “Shea Butter Baby, “and she delivered. Her most famous hit features J.Cole, and while he did not appear on stage, his voice echoed through the computer screens. Both their vocals together made it a memorable performance for Lennox and Cole fans alike.

A Boogie wit da Hoodie made the final appearance in the virtual concert. As the viewing numbers went up, it was apparent that many students attended the stream for him. Again, the chat was filled with excited fans waiting to see how the rapper could pull off a virtual performance and keep his fans hyped– and he did.

A Boogie started the set with a song that showed more than his rapping abilities. It wasn’t a memorable performance and the fans in the chat started to get agitated with the set list, asking him to perform “Drowning” or “Swervin,” both songs that appeared on the Top 100 Hits over the past year.

He hyped up the audience half way through the set list with “Drowning” while jumping on stage and laying on the floor. The strobe lights also played a role in excitement, as it resembled something fans would see in a music video.

In comparison to the other artists, it was no surprise the A Boogie had the best fans coming to his performance. Based on Spotify numbers, Boogie was the biggest artist on the ticket. However, the atmosphere in the group chat treated his set as if they were seeing him perform on Skytop.

Despite the hostility of some fans, the evening provided students with live music, something most people have not been able to enjoy in months. Each performance brought something new to the concert, and the overall watching experience was highly enjoyable. In a time when in-person concerts may not start back up again for months, SU students had the chance to dance and sing along to three popular artists. Even if it was from their own homes, Juice Jam 2020 was a memory well worth the Vimeo stream.