ABIR wows, Kiiara disappoints at Fall Flex

ABIR wows, Kiiara disappoints at Fall Flex

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September 21, 2018

The Campus Activities Board (CAB) hosted ABIR and Kiiara on Saturday, Sept. 15 at the annual “Fall Flex” concert in the Shapiro Gym in Gosman. Despite flares of strobe lights and fog covering the stage during the performances, the event’s energy level was inconsistent, with the audience growing and shrinking throughout.

The opening act, ABIR, a 22-year old up-and-coming artist from New York City, opened up the concert with a strong vocals-heavy ballad. After introducing herself, she moved into more upbeat songs, energizing the surprisingly small crowd which greeted her. Pausing between songs to introduce herself and vibe with the audience, she created an intimate mood.
Performing original songs, including two unreleased performance-exclusives, she created a feeling similar to having a conversation with that one person at a party you instantly connect with (except more amped up and with more dancing instead of talking). Her energy reached a peak with “Girls,” a sassy song inspired by behind-doors gossip, built around a dance-inducing heavy beat. Even alone on stage, ABIR brought a big mood, filling the gym with the party spirit only pop can bring.

The gym steadily filled during ABIR’s performance and the crowd continued to grow during the break between ABIR and Kiiara. A steady pulse of top chart pop hits played while the stage was empty, bringing in more concertgoers and hyping them up.

Kiiara’s set began with her drummer and keyboardist alone on the stage, building up her entrance. However, when Kiiara appeared on stage, she seemed disjointed from the audience, compared to ABIR’s soulful performance. The overall performance left the audience wanting more. She made heavy use of lip syncing, moved in the same “pop stars don’t have to dance” sway routine for every song and never seemed excited about the performance. The crowd agreed, many leaving shortly after Kiiara came out.

The first big music event on campus, Fall Flex has the potential to set the stage for Brandeis’ concert scene for the rest of the year. However, a headliner without a recent hit or excitement to perform here did not create a moment with enough momentum to fuel future events.

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