This year, Oregon State University’s annual Dam Jam concert made its way across campus from its grass-filled MU Quad to the home of its Pac-12 football team: Reser Stadium. The school’s biggest non-sporting event was slated to hold one of the largest crowds in the event’s history.
First up was DJRLOVE, who came out strong with an electronic/hip-hop set to energize the thousands of fans in attendance.
Next up was the first of the co-headliners: EDM artist Alison Wonderland. As the students screamed “Wonderland” she made her way out from behind the stage. To fill the crowd full of students with an unmatched enthusiasm, she immediately said the only two words needed: “Go Beavs.” As her song “High” was played, Alison told the packed stadium that the song featured rising hip-hop act Trippie Redd. She added in a subtle “fuck 6ix9ine,” and the students responded with screams of surprise and support.
Alison spoke briefly about the energy that she intended to bring, and shortly after followed through on her promise. The refreshingly authentic DJ set saw her speak to the crowd as if they were family – saying that a particular song was “for anyone dealing with any kind of anxiety or depression.”
She played “Cry” from her most recent Awake project to a swarm of students entering the field level. She retained the crowd’s intensity by utilizing the speakers’ bass to make each drop more engaging than the last. She had their hands waving throughout the performance, and captured the crowd how I never thought an EDM DJ would be able to.
As the sun set and the night drew cold, the crowd got hot. SuperDuperBrick came out to play a short DJ set in preparation of his friend KYLE‘s hour-long performance. He seemingly filled the field and stands with a new life as he asked, “y’all fuck with Kodak Black?”
“Tunnel Vision” came on and Oregon State proved that its spirit wasn’t going anywhere.
KYLE burst out from behind the stage just after Brick began playing the instrumental for KYLE‘s 2 Chainz and Sophia Black assisted song “Ikuyo.” After the upbeat, club-oriented introduction to his set, KYLE broke into one of his most catchy songs, “Doubt It.”
He then expressed his appreciation for the crowd rocking in the stands, played a quick track, and then went into his song “Games,” from his new album, Light of Mine. After proving he was at Oregon State to deliver a passion-filled performance, he taught the packed stadium the simple lyrics to the hook of his banger of a single, “Nothing 2 Lose.”
With graphics of palm trees on either side of him, he brought the California sun to the Oregon night. Next up was his most recent hit, “Playinwitme” with Bay Area singer Kehlani. It was evident that this was a special one for him, as he has maintained a friendship with Kehlani since before either of their days of stardom and platinum hits. With the crowd singing every lyric back, KYLE went through the entirety of the infectious track with a grin.
“Hey Brick, can we play some old shit?” KYLE said to his spirited DJ.
With a surge of excitement, Brick then made his way from behind the DJ booth to hit a few sharp dance moves alongside his friend. Their chemistry shined as they played “Don’t Wanna Fall In Love” from KYLE‘s 2015 project, Smyle. After this, they broke into “Babies” with Alessia Cara, which they said they had never performed live before. KYLE then said they were going “To The Moon” and played his single of the same name amidst flying Aquafina water bottles.
When “To The Moon” finished and the instrumental for “iSpy” dropped, the screams commenced. The song immediately squeezed out whatever energy the fans had left in them. The entire crowd was jumping as KYLE sprinted around the fans on the floor to make his way into the stands. From the first row in the stadium’s student section, he ended the night on a high note with an unparalleled positivity.
For a brief moment, he had found a way to make the large venue feel as if it were a small, intimate show.
That uplifting vibe and positivity was the theme of Dam Jam 2018; it was a wildly successful first year in the school’s football stadium.
All photos by Ryan Hansen: Instagram
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