Today: Jul 16, 2024

Welcome back Southern: ready, set and cheer

Photo Courtesy Malcolm Smiley
The Ready Set was one of the acts during Southern’s Welcome Back concert.

OLIVIA RICHMANGeneral Assignment Reporter

“Who here in the audience has baby blue eyes?” A Rocket to the Moon’s lead singer, Nick Santino, scanned the audience, stopping at three girls all dressed in the same pink shirt and headband. “One of you have baby blue eyes?” The girls swooned. Santino and the rest of A Rocket to the Moon began to sing one of their songs, “Baby Blue Eyes,” as the crowd cheers and sways with the beat.

It’s the opening act for the Welcome Back Concert at Southern Connecticut State University, Sept. 16. That Friday, the Lyman Center was packed with SCSU students and fans of the two bands, A Rocket to the Moon and The Ready Set, a one man band created by Jordan Witzigreuter in 1989 when he was born.

“I decided I wanted to write songs in 2008,” he said. “I sat down in the basement with a computer and a keyboard. I made some goofy little songs and it kind of went from there.”

According to Witzigreuter, things got serious after that.

“I threw away everything else and started doing this,” he said. “Eight hours a day working on music and getting people to listen to me up until I graduated. I play drums, bass, keyboards, all the programs, synthesizer stuff, and I sing, too.”

Brittany Magruder, who has been the concert and performing arts senior programmer in Programs Council for four years, said she chose both bands to play at the Welcome Back Concert at SCSU because they had popular songs on the radio, including the Ready Set’s “Love Like Whoa.”

“I was very happy when they agreed to play,” said Magruder. “(ProCon) almost got them for spring week so I had been anticipating their performance for a very long time.”

To get ideas for what bands or artists will perform at SCSU, Magruder said she takes polls and comments very seriously from students from Southern.

“(Both bands) had a very strong fan base. I also did surveys for the student body and they seemed to get the most votes,” she said. “We do ask the student body on their opinions but most of the time the student body says things like ‘I want Beyonce and Justin Bieber to play at Southern,’ which is honestly impossible. Students don’t know about how much the cost is to put on a concert, so we usually give them options that are in our price range and let them pick from there.

Amy Berish, a sophomore at SCSU, said she heard of the concert through ProCon’s Facebook page.

“I enjoyed some of the jokes the bands made,” she said, “as well as the acoustic performances by A Rocket to the Moon.”

A Rocket to the Moon played fan favorites such as “Baby Blue Eyes” and “Like We Used To,” which has 5,597,963 views on YouTube. The Ready Set sang “Love Like Whoa” and “Young Forever,” whose video has 1,794,371 views.

Witzigreuter has one song in particular he loves to perform: “Operator.”

“It’s fun ‘cause it’s new,” he said. “Pretty much everything new is fun because it’s like a change of pace and it’s fun to play stuff and switch things up because we get used to playing the same seven or eight songs every night. So it’s fun to throw a new one in there.” 

Witzigreuter, who says his favorite hobby besides The Ready Set is to run, and he said he doesn’t like to think about the performance until five seconds before the show. Backstage at SCSU, Witzigreuter carried around a bottle of water.

“I like to jump, drink water and do vocal warm-ups,” he said. “I try not to think about playing until five seconds before the show because I start to get freaked out a little bit sometimes if I think about it. I usually do other things until then. Then it’s all good.”

Magruder, who wants to manage concerts and bands for a living after college, said she loved working with Witzigreuter and the rest of the guests.

“I love working with the tour managers and agents,” she said, “and working with the actual bands the day of the concert.”

Magruder had high hopes for the Welcome Back Concert.

“I’m expecting around the same turnout as what we had last year,” she said before the concert, “between 1,000 and 1,300. Last year we sold out and I’m hoping to do the same thing this year.”

While not that many people showed up to the show, there was a good amount in the audience, and Berish said she felt the show was a success.

“Overall, the concert seemed to be a success,” she said. “Although there was not a ‘full house,’ it seemed as though the crowd got what they came for and it seemed like everybody was thrilled with the performances.”

Berish added that it was an enjoyable way to spend her afternoon.

Witzigreuter said one way to tell if a show is a success once you’re more popular is if you can get the crowd to get excited, sing along and participate.

“I likes to sign stuff after the show and can judge if the show is a success by people’s reactions after the performance,” he said. “I drive myself crazy wondering if the crowd is enjoying my performance.”

The Ready Set, who performed at the Warped Tour all summer, has an EP coming out called Feel Good Now, available Oct. 11 for any new fans out there.

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