May 23, 2019 | 78° F

Bad Suns performs at annual RUPA kick-off concert

Photo by Kevin Zhang |

The up and coming indie rock band Bad Suns performed in the College Avenue Gymnasium for the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA).

This weekend, Rutgers predicted cloudy skies with a chance of Bad Suns, and that's exactly what happened.

On Saturday, the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) sponsored a show featuring Bad Suns to jumpstart the fall semester. The indie-rock band performed in the College Avenue Gymnasium in front of hundreds of students. 

Six months of preparation pooled a committee of student board member for deliberations over who the University should host for each semester’s show. Last year’s committee decided on Bad Suns as a niche up-and-coming act with a strong following, said Danielle Paxton, director of concerts for RUPA.

“They have performed at large festivals this summer and we feel that the band is only going to get bigger over time,” she said.

The opening act for the show included Wishwell from Old Bridge, New Jersey, Paxton said. Of the many inquiries they receive, RUPA’s Concerts and Coffeehouse Committee — responsible for choosing an opening act — looks to select a group whose sound pairs well with that of the night’s performance.

“We felt as though Wishwell was a great opener that vibed well with Bad Suns. I'm looking forward to hearing them perform, as they are very excited,” she said.

With such a large student body, the committee gathers a diverse group of students with distinct musical tastes to agree on an act, Paxton said. Constantly gauging student interest to see what artists are current is always the consideration and typically yields alternative groups that bring out a small crowd of students for an intimate concert experience.

“At times we have done polls asking about a genre of music that people are interested in and try to work with that. We also look at what is being played on the radio and we ask all of our friends. Each of us on the committee has a different friend group and other students on RUPA give their input when we are looking at different bands,” she said.

Three possible acts are chosen prior to the final decision, and committee members then search for references and contact venues that have previously hosted the artist, Paxton said. From there a list of questions is prepared in order to determine audience reaction and whether Rutgers is a right fit.

The artists are then bid on and selected based on the available budget, Paxton said. If everything checks out, the committee works to solidify event details such as renting venue space, contract reviews and working with a production team to house the best possible event.

The promotion for the show is handled through the organization’s social media pages along with in-person marketing events held throughout campus where committee members distribute popcorn and engage with students about the event, Paxton said.

School of Arts and Sciences sophomore Ananaya Naythi said she first heard about the event through RUPA’s Facebook page but was no stranger to the scene going into her third show.

“I never heard this band before, but I gave them a quick listen and their music was pretty nice, and as it is I love concerts, so I decided to go and hope to gain a fun experience. I think all concerts are fun if they’re done well, so I’m pretty excited about this,” she said.

RUPA works throughout the year to organize student events and employs artists from different walks of life to perform and speak to students. In previous years, they have hosted performances from artists such as Alesso, Childish Gambino, Vic Mensa, Chance the Rapper and J. Cole, according to their site.

Last year’s musical performances included Logic and 3Lau, both of which were great, Naythi said. Securing tickets was the hard part, as so many students jumped at the opportunity to see Logic that tickets sold out within the hour.

Unfortunately, the side effects of attending a University this big include, but are not limited to, missing out on tickets to school funded programming because the College Avenue Gymnasium can only house so many people, Naythi said. Tickets can be found through student resale but with high demand will surely sell for a higher price.

“I would tell students who are unsure about the concert to just give it a try, as they might find something new that they might end up really enjoying,” she said. 

Christian Zapata is a School of Arts and Sciences junior. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

Christian Zapata

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