Ghostface comes to MCLA
Published: Thursday, April 30, 2009
Updated: Thursday, April 30, 2009 00:04
Ghostface Killah aka Ironman aka Tony Starks aka Pretty Toney arrived an hour late after traveling five hours from New York for this year's Student Activities Council spring concert.
The crowds pouring into the Amsler Campus Center Gym were antsy for the performance of Wu-Tang Clan's most boisterous member to appear. One-ninth of the popular, innovative rap group, Ghostface Killah has built an impressive resume on his own since the Wu-Tang Clan has been in and out of production. His latest album is 2007's "The Big Doe Rehab." The excitement was built up in tiny stacks sky high.
Ghostface entered the gym, dressed in a dark green hoodie and sideways hat, from the side of the stage with his sidemen. A thrusting of eager arms shot up from the mass gathered in front. Chants of "Wu-Tang! Wu-Tang!" Before the music began Ghostface told the crowd to send a chorus of boos toward the DJ for being an hour late and everyone was happy to oblige.
He was friendly with the audience. A conversation about the ongoing NBA playoffs ensued. He asked where everyone was from. He wondered who the best MC was in the audience. Shouts of recognition and poise came until he pulled a female student up to rap it out. Relief overtook the 250-plus crowd once the music began.
A song from "The Pretty Toney Album" kicked the evening off. The performance was a pretty consistent rap show with songs ranging from solo Ghostface stuff to the more recognized Wu-Tang Clan songs. The DJ shuffled seamlessly from piece to piece. The crowd flapped with the beat. A quick clip of the Wu-Tang classic "C.R.E.A.M." came for a brief verse. Ghostface shared his loving memory of the absurd Ol' Dirty Bastard.
Ghostface sputtered out all his pent-up energy from the drive in his verses. The songs were lively and urgent but the sound was fuzzy. Too much bass overtook the creativity of the DJ's compositions. Relentless pleas from the emcees to turn the music up were never acknowledged by whoever was running the sound. It was very muddy and for some reason no one bothered to turn the main lights off, which really disrupted the mood of the concert. It felt like some low-class form of entertainment for kids on a lunch break during school hours. The focus could have been anchored toward the stage a little more.
Near the end of the set Ghostface either didn't feel like rapping anymore or just wanted to swing hips with all the pretty ladies in front. About 20 girls were pulled up onto the stage by request from the group. It was like MTV Spring Break for a moment with the girls shaking it down in their summertime clothes. Student Amanda Marsh, who danced with the entourage, said, "It smelled like gangsta heaven" on stage.
One lone male student, Mike Testa, snuck onstage and bopped around with the girls during the transition. Testa said he spoke with one of the rappers on stage, mouth to ear, before being warned of trouble. Soon enough Testa was taken off stage by Public Safety Director Joseph W. Charon, which Testa described as a "very forceful" removal.
According to Testa, two officers took him outside, yelling and screaming.
"I didn't think it was a big deal," said Testa. "I wasn't being violent, I was dancing."
After only about forty minutes the set ended, bringing confusion and discontent for some.
Ghostface showed his gratitude for the swamping fan base and signed multiple autographs on pieces of paper and on breasts. And from there the party continued on.
Ghostface and his entourage took the Pitcher's Mound by surprise rolling up in Cadillacs, according to the bouncer for the night, Pete Konopka. Joined by a few students, they sat back for a casual night of drinking until just after closing time. Afterwards they cruised Blackinton Street looking for a place to chill and ended up landing at Mike Callahan and Mike Perreault's apartment, after senior Cavin Ramrup invited them in with kind offerings of gratitude.
Ben Warren, Christopher Kelley, and Richard Kelsey, Pi Upsilon Pi brothers, made Ghostface an Honorary Brother before he took his five-hour trip back to New York.
"It was a wild night, but a lot of fun," recalled Ramrup.
The spring concert had its ups and downs this year. The buzz on campus was loud in the weeks prior. Students voted for Ghostface Killah, beating out Reel Big Fish in a landslide victory, according to current SAC secretary and next year's president, Jenny Lamb.
Next year, Lamb said, SAC would like to look at the possibility of taking trips to concerts at other colleges in the area. Despite the approximate price tag of $18,000, Ghostface was still cheaper than last year's act, Bowling for Soup.
Though the early departure and late arrival were upsetting, Lamb concluded saying, "Ghostface is the funniest thing to happen to MCLA."