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Red Jumpsuit Apparatus jump starts ULV campus

Bands bring down the house in largest concert in school history

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – Duke Kitchens on guitar, Jon Wilkes on drums, Joey Westwood on bass, Ronnie Winter, lead singer and Matt Carter on guitar – headline LaVernapalooza in the Athletics Pavilion on May 14. The event was hosted by members of CAB, ASULV and Phi Delta Theta fraternity. / photo by Nicholas Mitzenmacher

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – Duke Kitchens on guitar, Jon Wilkes on drums, Joey Westwood on bass, Ronnie Winter, lead singer and Matt Carter on guitar – headline LaVernapalooza in the Athletics Pavilion on May 14. The event was hosted by members of CAB, ASULV and Phi Delta Theta fraternity. / photo by Nicholas Mitzenmacher

Kristen Campbell
News Editor

Screaming and excited fans anxiously awaited the biggest concert on the University of La Verne campus as Heartstop, Oh My Stars and the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus transformed the Athletic Pavilion into a rockin’ concert venue on May 14.

As a part of public affairs major Chris Weedon’s senior project, ASULV, CAB and fraternity Phi Delta Theta helped fund the concert which drew a crowd of nearly 500.

“I took this event on because it would fulfill the requirements of my senior project and it would benefit ULV and the students,” Weedon said.

With 650 tickets up for grabs, students immediately took advantage of their free ticket during the pre-sale party at 11 a.m. on May 7 in Davenport Dining Hall.

Throughout the week before the concert, LeoFM gave out bundles of V.I.P. tickets giving a select few access to sit in a special section directly in front of the stage.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus was chosen from hundreds of bands available for university performances and was exactly what the school needed in correlation to the allotted budget.

The five members – Ronnie Winter, Duke Kitchens, Matt Carter, Joey Westwood and Jon Wilkes – made their way to the stage and the crowd erupted in cheering and clapping.

In between songs Wilkes and Winter kept the crowd energized by cracking a few light jokes and giving hints to their approaching songs.

As students would correctly guess the oncoming music, excited reactions could be seen and heard throughout the venue.

Halfway through the band’s set, Winter asked the crowd for requests and among them included two of their hits, “Face Down” and “Your Guardian Angel.”

During the length of the two, the entire group sang along and danced to the beat.

“When Ronnie sang ‘Your Guardian Angel’ while playing his acoustic guitar, I almost cried because it was so beautiful,” Daisy Aldana, freshman anthropology major, said.

As expected, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus was fantastic showcasing their previous album and their recent album, “Lonely Road,” which was inspired by various experiences of the band.

“Sometimes the songs were written in one of our backyards and sometimes the songs were written from a random guitar riff literally two hours before a studio time was to begin,” Winter said.

“However, my all-time favorite song is ‘Believe’ because we used a real live orchestra, unlike most other albums you hear these days.”

Most contemporary albums use synthesized string instruments in order to save time and money, he said.

“If we were to ever perform it live, we would hire a string orchestra. In the track, we did not use fake strings, so we would want the same for the live performance.”

All three bands thought the Athletic Pavilion was a great building to perform in, in comparison to other school gymnasiums.

“This tent-like building is awesome and was so cool to perform in,” Carter said. “The acoustics were much better than most gyms.”

Although the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus was a big reason behind the event’s attraction, the other two bands, Oh My Stars and Heartstop were definite crowd-pleasers when their sets were up. Both bands performed free of charge and was grateful for the students’ reaction to their unique sounds.

“The ULV Leopards always have a great crowd response and we are grateful for them allowing us back,” Joe Khoury, Heartstop’s drummer, said.

All three members of Heartstop – Joe Khoury, Jake Hawkes and Tristan Ramos – enjoyed their second appearance on the ULV campus and would like to come back next year.

“God-willing, we’ll be back here as soon as possible,” Hawkes said.

Backstage in Oh My Stars’ greenroom, the five members were getting pumped to perform for the eager Leopards waiting in the Athletic Pavilion. Once they got onstage, everyone knew they were ready to rock and set the mood for their friends in the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

“The medley of Lady Gaga and Jay-Z was really cool and I wish they had done more,” Branden del Rio, freshman English major, said.

Overall, the event went very smoothly and ULV is hoping for it to become an annual event on campus, Weedon said.

“I want to thank the large group of amazing people who helped me put this event on, because without them, I would not have been able to do it on my own,” Weedon said.

Kristen Campbell can be reached at kristen.campbell@laverne.edu.

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