Juice Jam 2011 lineup pairs something new with more of the same

Rapper B.o.B. and Swedish DJ Avicii will co-headline the semester-opening concert Sept. 11 at Skytop Field.

As a newcomer to Syracuse University, this year’s Juice Jam will be a first for me. After looking at previous years’ headliners, I was excited to see what combination of artists would share the bill at this year’s event. Today’s announcement, however, was somewhat disappointing.

Juice Jam 2011 will feature B.o.B and Swedish house DJ Avicii as co-headliners, with an opening act that has yet to be named. The Sept. 11 show will take place once again at Skytop Field on South Campus. Doors open at 3:30 and the show starts at 4.

B.O.B. at Juice Jam 2011For anyone who has been living under a rock for the last year, B.o.B is one of the biggest names in pop music. He has produced three No. 1 singles and earned five Grammy nominations since he first hit the scene in 2008. In 2010 he was named among the 10 hottest MC in the game by MTV, alongside rappers such as Eminem, Kanye West and Lil Wayne.

Avicii, on the other hand, is less of a household name in the States. In Sweden, he is considered one of the biggest DJs around. His singles have topped the charts in countries across Europe and he has begun to garner recognition in America with this summer’s hits “Levels” and “Fade Into Darkness."

While the co-headliners this year strike a significant contrast, I was struck right away by the notable lack of an alternative rock group in the lineup. Recent Juice Jams have seen Passion Pit, Jack’s Mannequin and Third Eye Blind paired with a rap star or DJ. While this formula is atypical for most bills, it has worked in the past for a community as large and musically diverse as SU.

This year, however, that formula changed. While the musical diversity is still apparent, both acts cater more to the club music scene, and the alternative rock genre is neglected.

Syracuse as a city is notably devoid of hip-hop concerts. SU fills that void this fall with B.o.B., giving hip-hop and top 40 fans a reason to come out and see live music. The electronic music scene, however, is supersaturated.

There is no lack of DJ music coming to Syracuse this fall. Tiesto plays the War Memorial in September, Skrillex will be at the NYS fairgrounds in October and DayGlow, an event featuring some of the world’s hottest DJs, comes to the War Memorial just a week before Juice Jam. Avicii is steadily making a name for himself as a talented DJ, but he can’t hold a candle to household names such as these. The show would have been better suited with an act like the Cold War Kids or Florence and the Machine, both of which were listed as potential candidates on a University Union survey.

While SU brings in multiple hip-hop acts every year, they are the one of the only organizations in Syracuse that does so. The NYS Fair is notorious for booking primarily country and classic rock artists with an occasional pop star. On the rare occasion the War Memorial hosts a concert, it's typically a DJ or country act as well. The Inner Harbor rarely strays from classic rock groups nor do the city's downtown festivals. Westcott Theater is constantly bringing in electronic acts and jam bands. Without the university concerts, this city has little to offer hip-hop and rap fans. B.o.B brings something different to Syracuse, but Avicii is just more of the same.

So the final call on Juice Jam will come when the festival’s opening act is revealed.

Among the candidates alluded to on the University Union survey for an opener is Odd Future, the hip-hop sensations out of Los Angeles. While the red-hot group would be a great addition to the bill, it seems unlikely that they are even in the running. Not only has the group had beef with B.o.B. in the past (check out the song “Yonkers” by the group’s frontman Tyler the Creator) but they will be touring in Europe and Australia throughout most of September.

Other survemy contenders such as Natalia Kills, The Vaccines, James Blake and A-Trak will likely not be available due to tours in other parts of the country or Europe. In all likelihood, the opener will end up being a rapper such as Machine Gun Kelly, Lil B or the Weeknd, all of who were also listed on the survey. Jessie J and Waves are also available. Based on the headlining acts, however, it’s more likely that an up-and-coming rapper will open the show.

Avicii at Juice Jam 2011Musical diversification aside, the show will undoubtedly be a good one. Avicii may not carry the clout that someone like Tiesto or Skrillex does, but his music is an energy-infused mix of classic European techno and modern dubstep without the darker undertones that characterize many American DJs' tracks. And, like any good house DJ in Europe, he knows how to get a crowd moving. B.o.B is no slouch either and will certainly give the audience their money's worth.

While the critic in me is disappointed with the selection for this year’s Juice Jam, the music fan in me can’t wait to get out and see the show. Avicii is rapidly gaining prominence in Europe, and his popularity will inevitably make it’s way across the pond. B.o.B. is an act that a city like Syracuse rarely sees and will surely draw a large crowd.

Alternative rock fans like me, however, will have to continue to wait to see a big name rock band on a major stage in Syracuse.

Everyone I've spoken too

Everyone I've spoken too could care less about B.O.B. They are all excited to see Avicii. Yes Tiesto and Chuckie (Dayglow) are coming to Syracuse and while they are bigger names in the EDM world, most US college kids know more about Avicii. You don't have to look any further than his sold-out Governors Island show in July to see that college kids eat his music up.

While there are a lot of great EDM choices this fall, I do commend UU for changing with the times. Rap always sells tickets for Juice Jam and Block Party but they saw that college kids were also flocking to EDM shows and decided to pair them. I'm excited to see what they have in store for the rest of the semester.

I'll agree that more people

I'll agree that more people will probably come out for Avicii, but to say he's the biggest DJ in the world is grasping at straws. There are bigger DJs coming to Syracuse alone. I'll be at Juice Jam to see Avicii and I'm lukewarm about B.o.B, but it's nice to see someone in Syracuse trying to bring rap or hip-hop to the community. Fans who want to see a great DJ have a number of options this fall. Anyone who wants to catch a rapper is pretty limited.

Thanks for reading.

Have YOU been living under a

Have YOU been living under a rock? I can guarantee you that most people going to Juice Jam do not care for B.o.B. and will be coming for Avicii. Avicii is the biggest DJ in the world right now.

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.