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Monday, March 4, 2024
The Observer

The season of the sticks: Sound of SUB leaves student body teary-eyed

Image credit: Ryan Vigilante

After months of preparation, the Sound of SUB music festival hit student eardrums Friday night. 

“The goal of SUB is to create events that are going to get as much of the student body excited as possible,” said Nicole Campbell, SUB’s concert committee chair. “And we really wanted to create a concert that would bring as many people in.” 

At promptly 4 p.m., students began to line up outside Stepan Center. Despite the chilly weather and lack of seating, the line continued to grow in anticipation. 

“We looked for artists who would spark an immediate reaction,” said Campbell, “and then we built up the festival aspect because we wanted to make sure there were things for people to do even if they weren’t here for the music. 

With food trucks, a photo booth, a raffle event and a hair tinsel station, Stepan Center was completely transformed into a music festival. Fans were greeted with the first performer of the night, first-year Lucy Bullock.

Bullock wowed the stage with a series of her own tunes. With a country twist and a few ballads, Bullock was clearly taking in her well-deserved spotlight. Fellow first-year Libby Garnett followed with a more indie take. Completely flipping from the previous performer, Garnett used her time to share her excitement, as well as her nerves, to the audience; at one point, Garnett turned around to make sure the audience was real and not a figment of her imagination. To finish out the student performers, junior Luke Holem took the stage. Holem was welcomed with a group of friends in the audience wearing a T-shirt with Holem’s face on it. 

Briscoe, a bluegrass duo of Truett Heintzelman and Philip Lupton, took the stadium by storm. Probably the most unexpected performance of the evening, it only took one song before half the audience was looking up the duo’s Instagram accounts — even just to see if they had girlfriends (which they both do). Filled with banjo breaks, harmonica and sax solos and a pair of twangy voices, Briscoe had the entire arena dancing to songs that very little knew. Mixed in with their set with an all-too-familiar cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine.” 

Texas band Briscoe performed for students during the Sound of SUB music festival Friday night.

Chelsea Cutler came out branding a Kelly green Notre Dame long sleeve, which prompted a series of “Go Irish!” shouts from the crowd. Despite being ill, Cutler performed just as lively as ever. Her cheeky conversations with the crowd only elevated her performance. Cutler was banging her head and dancing across the stage, even jumping on her drum set (which she then stated she regretted). After a series of performances, Cutler brought out her good friend Noah Kahan to sing “Crazier Things,” a song Kahan was featured on in 2020. The two embraced before Cutler took center stage to perform. Kahan was tucked to the side for the majority of the song, allowing Cutler to shine. After singing a few more songs of her own, as well as “Stay Next to Me,” a song she was featured on with Quinn XCII, Cutler promised to watch Kahan’s performance from the crowd. However, I don’t think she ever made it.

Chelsea Cutler sang despite illness during the Sound of SUB music festival Friday night.

With pigtail braids and overalls, Noah Kahan started his set off with an electric performance of “False Confidence.” Kahan’s stage was filled with smoke, as well as neon lights that changed to fit each song’s mood. As someone who has been a fan of Kahan for quite some time, his performance was energetic and emotional all at once. Going through his repertoire of “Stick Season,” as well as some songs from previous albums, the audience matched his energy. Although his performance was undeniably excellent, it also had a sense of whiplash to it. Kahan would frequently go from an upbeat song like “She Calls Me Back” to a somber one like “Orange Juice,” forcing his audience to come along for the ride. Kahan then had a quick break before returning with “The View Between Villages.” One audience member shouted for the extended version, which Kahan has teased online. This ultimately prompted a chuckle from the singer before the lights turned into a bright white. This was followed by his most known song “Stick Season,” the song that he said “changed his life” as well as the first single from his album. 

Noah Kahan headlined the Sound of SUB music festival Friday night and gave a performance to remember.

After hours of standing, dancing and screaming at the top of our lungs, voices were sore and scratchy and there was not a dry eye in sight. 

When the last note of “Mess” played and the lights turned on, people begrudgingly found the exit, and the arena slowly turned back into the Stepan Center that we have all learned to love — or hate — here at Notre Dame. The night ended as quickly as it started, and the students were left with nothing but dried tears and maybe a T-shirt to remember it by.