Nate Ruess headlines SUBOG fall concert

Nate Ruess performs during the SUBOG fall concert at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts in Storrs, Connecticut on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Bailey Wright/The Daily Campus)

Nate Ruess of fun. performed a lively set from his new solo album “Grand Romantic” Saturday night during SUBOG’s annual fall concert, a stop on the first leg of the 2015 Campus Consciousness Tour.

While Ruess started out the night with old favorites like “She Doesn’t Get It” by The Format and fun.’s “We Are Young,” by the end of the evening he was stumbling through an impromptu playthrough of “The Gambler” on piano and learning the UConn Huskies chant from enthused students. He also performed a series of unexpected covers ranging from “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink and “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince and the Revolution.

The audience, of course, demanded an encore and Ruess jumped back on stage to bang out a wild rendition of “Rocket Man” by Elton John before closing out with “Some Nights” by Fun.

“It was totally awesome, he had great energy and I loved his covers,” Danni Dong, a 3rd-semester physiology and neurobiology major, said after the concert.

Amanda Simon, a 7th-semester molecular cell biology major, said Ruess’ music was an “earwig” she couldn’t get out of her head.

“I really like Nate Ruess as an artist,” Simon said. “His voice is very unique, I’m not sure how to describe it, and I think the messages in his music are very nice.”

Opener Holychild stole the show earlier in the evening with a round of thunderous brat pop straight out of LA. Liz Nistico, dressed like a modern Cleopatra with bold curls and a golden headpiece, milked the audience for everything they were worth with a flirty stage presence she took onto the dance floor during “Tell Me How It Is.”

Dressed casually in jean jackets and tie dye shirts, Holychild created a groovy “Party in the U.S.A.” vibe as the multitasking trio played guitar, piano and drums, sometimes simultaneously, throughout a set from their debut EP “MindSpeak.”

Giving college students some ear candy wasn’t this show’s only goal though. As part of the 2015 Campus Consciousness Tour, it was also designed to drum up support for clean energy and bring out the youth vote. While students queued up for a prize wheel and free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, volunteers from REVERB, NextGen Climate and HeadCount circulated the crowd with clean energy petitions and voter registration forms.

“These nonprofits are trying to bring social consciousness to young people,” Silvana Parada, a communications graduate student at Brooklyn College working with HeadCount to register voters, said. “Everyone is super responsive and engaged.”

Casey Lambert, an undeclared 1st-semester student, was one of several Ecohouse members distributing clean energy pledges to promote the #50by30 movement, a push to transition to 50 percent clean or carbon-free energy in the United States by the year 2030.

“The big goal is to make touring more sustainable,” Lambert said.


Kimberly Armstrong is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at kimberly.armstrong@uconn.edu.