Juice Jam 2017

Juice Jam 2017 exceeds some students’ expectations

Alexandra Moreo | Photo Editor

Juice Jam 2017 headliner Diplo rocked the festival's main stage with hits including "Febreze," "Where Are Ü Now" and "Take Ü There."

UPDATED: Sept. 10, 2017 at 11:51 p.m.

After the Fetty Wap upset of last year, Syracuse University students had lower expectations for this year’s Juice Jam. But despite initial reservations, the concert went as planned, and student energy remained steady.

“Expectations might be a little low from last year,” said Katie Rivers, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, before the show started. “But I think a lot of people are going to show up, and it’ll be a lot of fun.”

This year’s lineup featured headliner Diplo, electronic artist MØ and newcomers and underground artists Jeremy Zucker, Ugly God and Smallpools. Some students said the relatively unknown musicians had lowered their excitement for the show.

“I know that previous years had better artists, so my expectations weren’t that high because of the lineup,” said Ashley Laird, a freshman communications and rhetorical studies major.

The lineup was still diverse in both genre and style. Both MØ and Diplo served the interests of EDM and electropop fans, performing upbeat crowd favorites including “Where Are Ü Now” and “Lean On.”

Rapper Ugly God brought his bass-heavy trap songs to the festival, while indie band Smallpools’ set included alternative dance-pop anthems. Newcomer Jeremy Zucker’s R&B sound added a more mellow sound to the music mix.

The diversity in the lineup was one of the best elements of the show, said Nicholas Mohan, a freshman engineering and computer science major.

“I like how it started off kind of pop with Zucker and Smallpools, and now it’s gone into more DJ, house music,” Mohan said.

Students also liked that there was a combination of underground artists with higher-profile acts.

“They have an underground artist like Ugly God, but Diplo is really well-known, so I’m happy about the differences in the acts,” Rivers said.

Main artists Diplo and MØ brought in the biggest crowds, since more people know their chart-topping hits and because they performed later in the show. But it was many of the smaller artists that had the most energy on stage and interacted with the audience.

There was a lot of singing and enthusiasm at the beginning of both MØ and Diplo’s sets, but the crowd’s excitement faltered further into the show — many left. Zucker had one of the smallest crowds since he performed so early in the show. But almost everyone in attendance was dancing, including a group of superfans in the front who knew every word and begged for an encore once the set ended.

“Zucker really impressed me. I’d never heard of him before,” said Julia Urban, a sophomore advertising major. “He was really good.”

The same was said for both Smallpools and Ugly God.

“The Smallpools crowd was overall really vibing with the music and supporting the band, even if they didn’t know the words,” said Shannon Bozman, a junior sociology major. “It was a really positive and carefree atmosphere.”

Ugly God, who has come to prominence on on his social media, had the largest crowd for a performance at the indie stage. His audience was energetic, which made his performance more enjoyable for everyone there, said Tanya Khorti, sophomore communications and rhetorical studies major.

“The audience was very energetic and had a good time,” she said. “They made it more enjoyable for me.”

Although some students were unsure about this year’s Juice Jam because of last year’s disappointment, many were satisfied with the five performances.

“University Union really did a good job with recruiting lots of good talent,” Urban said. “But I also feel that it depends on the students too, and they made it more exciting as well.”

This story has been updated for appropriate style.

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