“Y’all look so cute in your ponchos — s---, I want one,” Chong the Nomad, the opener for Fall Fling, told the crowd on a rainy afternoon Sept. 23.
The gray skies, cold, and mud didn’t stop a large crowd of students from getting pumped up at the ASUW Arts + Entertainment’s (A+E) annual event on the HUB Lawn. This year’s performers were Chong the Nomad, Omar Apollo, and COIN. They delivered an engaging performance over the four hour show, reflecting A+E’s effort to feature artists that students are excited about.
Chong the Nomad, a Seattle-based electronica artist, opened the show. The 22-year-old Kent native, whose real name is Alda Augustiano, studied music composition at Cornish College of the Arts. In an interview with Tom Tom Magazine, Augustiano said that her stage name is pulled from the Nickelodeon show “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”
Her sound is notably unique, characterized by a balance of choppy electronic beats and soft vocal harmonies. This was epitomized in the penultimate song in her set, “Ghosts in the Shower,” which also highlighted her usage of mild atonality that shifts listeners’ focus to the clever quirkiness of her compositions.
The closeness of Augustiano’s age to the audience and her relative freshness to the music scene showed in her performance. At first, she appeared slightly nervous, but she seemed to get more comfortable in her own skin as the performance went on. The more she let loose, the more positive feedback she got from the audience. Her eccentricities were encouraged and this led to some truly memorable moments, such as when she played the harmonica and ukulele over her heavy electronic beats.
It’s clear that Chong the Nomad has a lot of creative energy to offer the world through her music and that she will increasingly do so as she grows as an artist.
The second performer, Omar Velasco, better known by the stage name Omar Apollo, is also just 22-years-old. His soulful rhythm and blues music, incorporating psychedelic rock influences, gives off a relaxed, California beachy vibe that makes it hard to believe he’s originally from a suburb in Indiana.
Omar Apollo’s trance-like music was the perfect balancing act for the rest of the show’s high energy. It was hard to resist the urge to bob your head and sway to the slow, calming beat of his music.
Although Apollo’s sense of pitch was a bit sloppy at times, it was overshadowed by his noteworthy vocal technique. His dynamic melismas, falsettos, and Ariana Grande-esque high notes got the crowd roaring.
Perhaps the most anticipated act of the night was the indie-pop band COIN, the show’s headliner. Best known for their 2016 hit “Talk Too Much,” their music has a bright, upbeat pop sound reminiscent of late-2000s mainstream radio hits that might make you nostalgic for those summer road trips as you enter the school year.
The decision by the organizers of Fall Fling to make COIN the headliner was an obvious hit. With an energetic stage presence and a reverberating beat, their act was the liveliest of all, getting the crowd jumping up and down. Lead singer Chase Lawrence’s passion as a performer was tangible. In addition to his peppy dance moves and frequent audience interaction, it was clear he was fully emotionally invested throughout the set.
During the show, ASUW A+E encouraged students interested in organizing events like Fall Fling to learn more about joining the organization. And for those just interested in attending these events, there’s Spring Show to look forward to.
Reach writer Natalie Rand at email@example.com. Twitter: @n_rand_
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