Bands of different colors invade campus

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By Ryan Thompson, Features Editor

The sun fell behind the UNF Amphitheater Oct. 27 during pop rock band We the Kings’ set.
Osprey Productions hosted the mtvU Campus Invasion stop at UNF with a lineup composed of Walton with Stank Sauce, Chiddy Bang, We the Kings, Jay Sean and Jason Derulo. Let’s get started.

Jacksonville’s Walton with Stank Sauce opened the evening to the night’s weakest crowd, but luckily the OP-hosted Battle of the Bands winner tickled its audience’s olfactory nerves in the best way possible.

The pop soul group meshed the qualities of high school brass, college rock and timeless R&B vocals into a truly special set, complete with a cover of 2003’s “Hey Ya!” The photogenic group emitted a yeah-we-got-this presence, and that confidence made everyone OK with the night starting off with a Jacksonville act.

The band fell down to the stage at one point and still kept playing and singing. It’s not a surprise Walton with Stank Sauce won the Battle of the Bands. Singer Graciela Cain’s rad hair doesn’t hurt, at all.

Philadelphia’s Chiddy Bang changed up the pace with hip-hop. While Chiddy Anamege rapped on the catwalk — and made eye contact with several audience members throughout his set — Noah Beresin hit the drums.

The duo played songs from its upcoming album, “Breakfast.” It drops sometime in February, Beresin, who goes by Xaphoon Jones, told the Spinnaker. He said he has to wait for an official press release to reveal the actual date.

Bradenton’s We the Kings filled the venue for its second time with favorites that pleased all of the high school-aged and younger attendees — and even those too embarrassed to admit to liking We the Kings. The bass tracks from temporary bassist Charles Trippy’s axe boomed as the night took over the daytime.

The band’s overly catchy lyrics allowed for each chorus to sound as though more and more people kept showing up to the amphitheater. OK, maybe there was a little of that, too.

England’s Jay Sean followed with R&B, an accompanying band and crowd interaction. The band was more impressive than the singer’s vocal performance, which sounds better on the radio than on stage. But that’s just a staple with Top 40 music.

By then, the audience looked nothing like it did at the show’s 4:30 p.m. start. It was the perfect time to wander around the amphitheater and check out the Nickelodeon couch — surrounded with cardboard cut-outs of “Hey Arnold!”’s namesake, Kenan Thompson, Amanda Bynes and Tommy and Angelica Pickles.

A noticeable gap came after Sean’s satisfactory “Down” performance, and the stage crew removed all of the equipment from the stage. Speculation arose over whether the bare stage mirrored Derulo’s touts of solo riding.

Sure enough, the Miami native entered by himself, and back-up dancers soon followed. Derulo played the night’s loudest set, which featured an on-stage dancing competition. A man in a banana suit beat out the three other participants for best dance moves.

Derulo pleased with “Ridin’ Solo,” which, like “Down,” sounds better on the radio. Throughout the show, the acts hyped up the audience to look extra excited when the cameras rolled, to the tune of every MTV Spring Break concert ever.

But all of that hyperactivity matched the UNF Amphitheater’s biggest night in just over two years of existence.

Email Ryan Thompson at [email protected]