Acts surprise many with impressive show

LIZZY PLAPINGER PERFORMS as one half of the duo MSMR at the ECAV Arena on April 30. The band, brought to RPI by UPAC Concerts, was the headlining act of the night, and had one of the best sets of the night, albeit a short one.

On Thursday, April 30, UPAC Concerts and the Rensselaer Union 125th Anniversary hosted their MSMR concert at East Campus Athletic Village, in the East Campus Athletic Village Arena, featuring MSMR and special guests Bell’s Roar and Titanics. The doors opened at 7 pm and the concert started at 8 pm. Tickets were sold at the door and also had been sold in the Rensselaer Union the previous three weeks by UPAC Concerts.

In high school, I regularly went to concerts, seeing bands like AFI, Dragonforce, and music festivals, such as Bamboozle, Mayhem Festival, and Warped Tour. So I’m used to packed venues and areas so crowded it takes 10 minutes to just get to the nearest porta-potty, let alone wait in line. When I walked into the ECAV Arena, you can imagine my surprise when I saw only a quarter of the floor filled with people, with people sitting on the pulled out bleachers. It was then that I found out that the concert was exclusive to RPI and Russell Sage College students and not the greater Troy area. RPI has about 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students combined; we are not as big as a state university or institution that has 20,000–70,000 students. Had it been bigger, I believe that the atmosphere would have been more vibrant and at least as big as the Matt and Kim and Passion Pit UPAC concert.

Bell’s Roar was the first act, taking the stage at around 8 pm. As I stated in my past review of Bell’s Roar and Mirk, Bell’s Roar is an experimental sound. Though the acoustics in the arena were much less than desired, it was a straight upgrade from Mother’s Wine Emporium, in the Rensselaer Union. Sean Desiree, the solo artist of Bell’s Roar, sang passionately and interacted with the crowd. Her remix of “Slow” moved the crowd and sounded much better with more people and a bigger venue; I enjoyed her act much more this time around.

The next act was Titanics, composed of duo keyboardist and vocalist Mark Lombardo and guitarist Derek Rogers. Titanics was a much more mellow act. If I were at the library, working on homework or relaxing in my room, they would probably be the band I’d listen to. However, when I go to concerts, I’m looking for high energy performances and music with an upbeat rhythm and full sound. As a result, Titanics’s chillwave and dream rock influences did not appeal to me. However, the band did put on an interesting light show, displaying contrasting cool and warm colors during their performance.

MSMR. Wow. A stark contrast to the previous opening band, MSMR jumped on stage full of vigor. Immediately, all the attendees in the venue moved towards the band in response to the energy they discharged. Their latest single, “Painted,” contains fast moving percussion and a catchy hook; as one of the first songs performed, it set the tone for the night. Vocalist Lizzy Plapinger demonstrated her brilliant voice and crazy dance moves. “Fantasy,” one of the first two singles the duo released, riled the crowd, while one of other similarly paced popular songs, “Think of You,” was passionate and moving. Later on in the set, Plapinger danced with Max Hershenow, the other part of the MSMR duo, adding to the spirit of the show. The set ended with their most popular song, “Hurricane.”

Though the opening acts had a different style than MSMR, the concert as a whole was entertaining. Additionally, the Arena as a musical venue was also odd, but it’s due to a lack of attendance, which I am disappointed about. However, that’s mostly due to its restriction to RPI and Russell Sage students. MSMR put on a lively and energetic show that I hadn’t seen from a band in some time, and I feel sorry for those that missed. I had a surprisingly entertaining time by the end; I’ll definitely be on the lookout for future shows. For more information regarding future shows, visit