Rappers B.o.B. and XV energized the audience at Jesse Auditorium on Wednesday night with a pair of dynamic performances. Despite the motion-limiting auditorium seating in Jesse, the two rappers had a packed house with dancing, jumping and singing audience members.
B.o.B.'s show was visual as well as musical. With a rock-esque theme, B.o.B. wore a leather jacket, a leather vest and a V-neck T-shirt. His stage set consisted of a full rock band, two back up singers and two leather-clad dancers.
B.o.B. said his favorite part about what he does is performing.
"I record songs so I can perform them," B.o.B. said after the show. "And when I perform them, hearing the crowd sing the lyrics is the best shit in the world."
B.o.B. demonstrated his musical savvy and switched things up during his set. At various points in the show, he was either jumping around stage with just his microphone, playing the electric guitar, playing the acoustic guitar then played the piano, only pausing in between to sip out of his white coffee mug.
Between yelling out the "M-I-Z" chant, asking the audience to pull out their shades, grabbing, wearing then returning accessories (a necklace, a lei and sunglasses) from audience members and taking his shoes off and crowd surfing, B.o.B certainly knew how to work his crowd.
"He was reaching out to the stage, and he grabbed my friend's hand and was staring right at her, singing 'Nothin' On You' for literally forty-five seconds," freshman Chelsea Gerberich said. "No doubt about it, it was just her -- full on, firm hand grip."
B.o.B. said he enjoyed interacting with the crowd as well.
"Shows like these are dear to me because everybody in the crowd is in my age group, so it feels like a party," B.o.B. said. "It feels like I'm in high school again."
Radio hits, like "Nothin' On You," "Airplanes" and "Magic" got the crowd particularly excited.
Gerberich said her favorite song was "Magic."
"The whole crowd was just really into it and he was jumping up on the stage," Gerberich said. "It was really exciting."
B.o.B. said "Don't Let Me Fall," a slower, more emotional song, is his favorite to play.
"'Don't Let Me Fall,' that's a really good song to play," said B.o.B. "The crowd really gets into it, and we get the whole place singing it. It's just like having a choir, it's like having your pulse, it's like everybody becomes your backup singers."
B.o.B. closed the night with an unplanned extra song to his encore, a cover of "Kids" by MGMT.
Opening for B.o.B was Kansas native XV. XV's act fit well with B.o.B.'s set. With a similar audience-performer synergy, he was able to get the crowd on its feet, dancing and playing off the audience's excitement.
"First of all, you have the hugest stage in the world," XV said. "And for a guy like me who likes to run all around stage, it was pretty tiring to do it, but the crowd was loud the whole way through so it kept building me up, building me up, building me up."
XV, who, unlike most rappers, is inspired by movies and video games for his music, said his favorite part of the music industry is performing.
"Everything else, you know, I'll take it for what it is, but doing this is when you know it all pays off," XV said. "When you say, 'Put your hands up!' and every hand you see in the building goes up -- worth it."
XV said the key to stage swagger is knowing he deserves his spot on stage.
"[The key is] knowing that you earned to be up there," XV said. "That's how I feel because I'm not insecure, but I'm a nerd. For me to get up on stage and be cool, it's a character. When I get up on stage I know that I deserve to be up here and I worked hard to be up here, so I'm going to take every minute and I'm going to look at the crowd and I'm going to say, 'Make some noise.' I'm going to ask for your hands up and I feel like I deserve that."