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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Hooligans in Wondaland 2011 Come to Stony Brook

    Bruno Mars visited Stony Brook University on May 6 with Janelle Monáe as part of their "Hooligans in Wondaland" tour. (Photo Credit: Kenneth Ho)

    It was a few minutes before show time, and the performance was about to begin. Strangely, I was not excited. I had been at the Sports Complex since before 5 p.m. and, as much as I dreamed of being the future Mrs. Mars, waiting what felt like forever-and-a-day to get inside had made me insanely cranky.

    Before the show started, I decided to grab a soda. As with any major show, the concession stand was relatively overpriced and desolately empty. My Pepsi cost just under $4. Strangely enough, it came pre-opened. My bottle cap had been kidnapped. A short blonde cashier named Amanda told me this was to “prevent the throwing of the caps at the performers.”

    I silently wondered if this happened a lot. Reading my thoughts, Amanda continued with, “it’s just a precaution.”

    I let my heightened eyebrows do the talking, and wandered into the stadium.

    Seeing the set-up stage escorted some of those butterfly wings back into my belly. The show began promptly. At 7:55 p.m., a beat-boxing musician stumbled onto the stage. His name was FaithSFX. His voice sounded like a weird crossbreed between Optimus Prime and Daddy Yankee.

    But he was really talented. He was able to remix songs like “Black and Yellow” and “Calabria“ and even old-timers like “I Like to Move It.”

    At one point, he put the microphone next to his voice box and was able to produce the beat-boxing sounds without moving his lips.

    The applause showed the content of the audience. A few lonely fist-pumps even started pounding in the crowd. Several more soon joined in. Within a few seconds, scattered fist pumps were seen in the crowd.

    After this, Plan B came on the stage.

    “How the f*** are you, Stony Brook?” the lead singer asked.

    He didn’t get much of a response. He started his set anyway. Almost instantly, there was ear-splitting loud music. Still, students continued to file in, even through the end of their act.

    “Now this next song is about smoking weed…” The singer continued.

    “Woooooooo,” responded the audience.

    No one danced, no one cheered.

    Everyone’s mind was on one man: Bruno Mars.

    But Plan B didn’t give up. The band tried to suck enthusiasm out of the crowd like sucking the venom out of a snake bite. The music got louder, stronger. It was so loud that I couldn’t hear myself sneeze – even though it’s mid-allergy season.

    Getting the notion that their songs weren’t widely recognized, Plan B did several remixes. “Stand by me” was one song. “Kiss From a Rose” was another. Plan B proudly announced that the songs had a dubstep remix.

    “I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray. Ooh, the more I get of you…The stranger it feels, yeah…Now that your rose is in bloom, a light hits the gloom on the gray.”

    It’s such a great song, I thought. Why would anyone remix it? Will everything be dub-stepped soon? I hoped not.

    The band ended their performance shortly after. It was time for Janelle Monáe.

    Her emcee pounced onto the stage. He looked like a hybrid of David Cooperfield and Criss Angel. Violinists wearing black and white took the stage and sat down as well. They danced with their hands, making vogue poses, while three hooded figures stumbled upon the stage. One by one, they drew back their hoods and revealed their identities.

    The middle one was Monáe.

    My first thought was: Wow, she’s tiny. My second was: Damn, she has an incredible voice.

    I looked around. Had anyone else noticed the talent performing before us?

    Applause definitely resonated from the audience.

    Clap clap. Clap. Clap clap. Clap. Clap clap clap. Clap.

    I thought Monáe deserved more from the audience than what they were giving her. Many students agreed with me.

    Sophia Marsh, 19, and an undeclared major, had seen her perform once before, at a show in Madison, WI. She is a USG Stony Brook Street Team volunteer and helps promote on-campus events. She was excited to see Monáe again.

    “I expected her to do something crazy,” Marsh said.

    She had never heard of Plan B, and came mostly for the Mars and Monáe combination.

    “She’s more than a singer, Marsh said. “She puts on a show. She’s really a performer.”

    And she really did. Monáe swung her black cape like a matador, and hopped up and down like a bunny throughout a majority of the set.

    At one point, her famous pompadour began to fall out of place. But Monáe didn’t skip a beat. I kept thinking that she looked like Willow Smith, but stretched out a bit. She even whipped her hair back and forth in a similar matter.

    “Cause baby whether you’re high or low; Whether you’re high or low; You gotta tip on the tightrope; (Tip, tip on it); T-t-t-tip on the tightrope; (Tip, tip on it).”

    Her performance of her hit single “Tightrope” was memorable. She does a classy moonwalk on the stage. She looked like she was genuinely having fun. She earned a handful of applause. She got her respect.

    As I looked around, I saw a boy in all black, and a girl in a tan dress rock out to the music. They were one of the six or seven people that I could see dancing during Monáe’s performance. They did “The Twist” as good as Ferris Bueller himself .

    The boy was Hendryx Silva, a senior, psychology major. He looked like he was having a blast. He said he wished more people could enjoy the show as much as he was.

    “People have been filling in and out. It feels like people haven’t been enjoying this as much as they could have. Maybe they should have opened the doors earlier,” he said.

    Finally, it was time. The man of the hour was about to take center stage.

    “Bruno! Bruno! Bruno!” Some people chanted. Finally, the crowd had found their excitement.

    As I wandered around the gymnasium, I noticed a plethora of empty Pop Chips bags scattered about the floor.

    I later learned that the entire tour was hosted by Pop Chips. I still felt bad for the cleaning crew that night. The room was a mess.

    Finally, he came out. Bruno OMG-I-CAN’T-BELIEVE-IT’S-REALLY-HIM-IN-FRONT-OF-ME Mars.

    He was like a Greek god, radiating on that stage. The audience was captivated.

    As he entered the stage, blackberries and iPhones alike escaped from their owners pockets and began recording the wonder in front of their eyes.

    Then, he pursed his lips and began to sing.

    “It’s a beautiful night, We’re looking for something dumb to do. Hey baby,

    I think I wanna marry you.”

    The girls in the audience begin to melt.

    “Well I know this little chapel on the boulevard we can go,

    No one will know,

    Come on girl.”

    The girls look like they want to head over to David’s Bridal directly after the show.

    “Don’t say no, no, no, no-no;

    Just say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah;

    And we’ll go, go, go, go-go.

    If you’re ready, like I’m ready.”

    One girl actually mouthed “Yes” at Mars. This is surreal, I thought. But I was secretly smitten also.

    A boy enveloped in a huge American flag swayed to the music. His name is Matthew McCort, and he is a senior political science major. Why the flag?

    “It’s America, you gotta support it,” he said.

    It seemed to tie the week of crazy news and outbreak of patriotism all together.

    Bruno played another few songs. He tickled his guitar. He played beautiful tunes. And all the while, he never stopped grinning.

    Several girls slipped out of their shoes and continued to rock out, dancing with their shoes in their hands. Somebody crowd surfed.

    And then, Mars asked to slow the mood down. He sings, “Stony Brook…is it okay…? Ladies…is it okay….? Is it okay if we slow it down….?

    And then he sang “First Time.” It seems fair to say that at least three quarters of the crowd began fantasizing about Mars.

    Finally, it was time for the last song of the night – “Just The Way You Are.”

    Mars dedicated the song to Stony Brook. Why?

    Mars smiled. “Because,” he said. “You all are amazing.”

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