Main Street in downtown Hattiesburg Saturday night boomed with flashing lights, an energetic crowd and performers that brought their A-game to the Hub City.
More than 6,000 people attended the 11th annual Eaglepalooza that included headliner Icona Pop and openers pop singer/songwriter Lowell and electronic group Five Knives. The University of Southern Mississippi’s Student Government Association (SGA), Southern Miss Activities Council (SMAC) and Gulf South productions spearheaded the music event.
“Icona Pop was amazing as expected, but I was really amazed how well Five Knives and Lowell did,” said Matt Balcer, SGA executive director of events. “Being smaller-named artists, I was worried how the crowd would react, but they loved them.”
Senior graphic design major Erin Curley agrees the show was a great experience.
“Icona Pop was awesome,” Curley said. “The light show was great and they were just really good at keeping the crowd engaged.”
The Swedish DJ duo Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo controlled the stage with popular hits like “All Night,” “We Got the World” and their newest single, “Get Lost.” The crowd moved together in sync as Icona Pop blasted beats and bounced around in their matching futuristic-inspired tops.
They finished their show with the famous song that has received over 119 million plays on Spotify, “I Love It.” Except the ending was a surprise for the crowd and not one body stood still. The song switched the original beat and coincided with dubstep influences.
Eaglepalooza Director Gavin Snyder’s favorite Icona Pop song is “All Night.”
“(It’s) not only because of the catchy beat, but because of the energetic message. In reality of things, I just wish we could have kept Eaglepalooza 2014 going all night.”
Lisa Berrie, a sophomore English major and international student from Keele University in England, also connected to the fist-pumping beat.
“I genuinely liked all of their songs that I saw them perform; it was upbeat and there (was) a really good atmosphere,” Berrie said. “It reminded me of being at my student union. It (was) awesome to see an international band in this state. Plus it was free so in a way, it felt like the university was giving something back
Lowell and Five Knives forecasted Icona Pop’s performance through electronic-inspired songs. Front girl Elizabeth Lowell Boland wooed the crowd as she sang her popular songs “The Bells,” “Palm Trees” and “Cloud 69.” Five Knives pumped up the crowd with non-stop techno beats to “Messin’ With My Mind” and its newest single, “Sugar.”
In one song, lead singer Anna Wortsell dispersed hundreds of fake bills into the crowd, signifying the band’s lyrics “I only want you for your money.”
Among all the ear-piercing music and screams from the crowd, SGA members worked backstage to keep the event going.
Snyder said the success of a concert is measured by attendance, crowd, appeal and production.
“As Eaglepalooza director this year, I feel as if my committee and I not only exceeded these expectations, but also made a lasting impression on the student body to keep them coming back to Eaglepalooza for years to (come).”
Things for SGA will proceed as they brainstorm for the 2015 Eaglepalooza.
“SGA is always looking for new ideas,” Balcer said. “This year we chose a genre that usually isn’t present on the Southern Miss campus and students really enjoyed it.”