By Tiffany Crawford
On Sept. 6, Ryerson students laughed, sang and danced their way to the Mattamy Athletic Centre for the 53rd annual Parade and Picnic concert held by the Ryerson Students’ Union.
After a lively parade down Yonge Street, dense fog filled the MAC as students sprawled across the arena floor, restlessly waiting for Kardinal Offishall, R&B artist JRDN and pop duo Karmin to appear on stage.
Though the concert failed to attract as many students as recent years — the crowd occupied less than half of the MAC’s floor space — there was no lack of energy as the centre’s lights turned off, prompting an incredible roar from the fidgety crowd.
A lesson in swag from the man of the hour
Toronto-born rapper Kardinal Offishall ran on stage amidst a flurry of air horns, sporting an aqua-coloured shirt that perfectly complimented the stage’s turquoise lights.
The entrance was almost ruined when Offishall’s hype man mistakenly shouted, “What school is this? U of T?” But the crowd vengefully bounced and cheered, causing the floor to shake when Offishall performed “Beautiful,” a song that usually features singer Akon.
A show of hands showed that a majority of the audience had never been to a Kardinal Offishall concert before. “Wow, we have to break that college cherry,” the rapper vowed — a promise fulfilled when he taught the audience how to do a “Jamaican gun salute.”
An artist too cool for vowels
Though his set was quieter and less energetic than his predecessor’s, JRDN was a hit with the ladies of Ryerson. It was clear from the screams of hormonal teen girls — “You’re hot!” among them — as he strutted on stage.
While his songs elicited noticeably short-lived bouts of fist pumping, his hit single, “Magic,” managed to coax an excited response from the crowd, as did “U Can Have It All” with its sing-along chorus.
But let’s be honest, the crowd would have appreciated his performance a whole lot more if he had just taken his shirt off.
An on-stage foursome with Karmin
With their first two numbers, “Acapella” and “Hello,” Karmin — the duo of Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan — filled every nook and cranny of the MAC with their powerful voices and made the crowd cheer so loudly that you could have sworn the venue was full.
“I didn’t know how big of a party this was going to be,” Amy laughed, wearing an all-orange ensemble that nobody else — apart from her sidekick, of course — would have been able to pull off. “I didn’t bring my party clothes.”
They invited four lucky fans onstage to help them perform Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now,” their most popular YouTube cover. “We’ve never had a foursome on stage before!” said Nick jokingly.
After a lengthy and speedy rap verse that could put Busta Rhymes to shame, Amy crouched down at the front of the stage, shaking the hands of any students she could reach. “Thank you for listening to our YouTube covers. Without you, we wouldn’t have a music career.”