It was all about good vibes.
Once the sun had set, good vibes were surging through hundreds of antsy Cal Poly students as they collectively chanted for Watsky to take the stage.
However, Watsky, international spoken word poet and rapper, is not completely foreign to the campus. He has come twice before for poetry events, but this show was his first time performing music for Cal Poly.
“It’s not the number of people,” Watsky said, “it’s about the vibe that’s there.”
Despite previous attendance records, approximately 300 students showed up to the concert, feeding off the energy Watsky had on stage. His savage speech was fast like a bullet, blowing the minds of the captivated audience. Standing on a briefcase, he stared up at the stars while delivering impactful lines such as, “There’s 7 billion 46 million people on the planet and most of us have the audacity to think we matter.”
This man was a lyrical miracle whose poems and raps could transcend the concert experience and reach people in a way that made them realize feelings never before verbalized.
During mic check, the sun was descending and Watsky sat next to me. I had to remember that “Marry me?” should not be one of the interview questions. “Should” being the operative word.
The sunset reflected off his sunglasses as he coolly talked about pre-show expectations.
“I want to cast a wide net so everybody that comes from different walks of life can feel comfortable and supported there,” Watsky said in a pre-show interview.
The night was filled with romance, laughter and a collective excited energy. In the middle of the set, Watsky invited computer science junior Michael Rutledge to drop some raps of his own.
Rutledge reflects on his time on stage with Watsky. “My thoughts went from, ‘Wow, I’m going to be on stage,’ quickly to, ‘Oh, no. I’m going to fuck this up!’”
Tables turned when students entertained the entertainers. Drummer Chukwudi Hodge was amused when students took advantage of pauses in his drum solo to cheer as loudly as possible.
“That rarely happens and is super fun for me,” Hodge said, smiling from ear to ear.
During the final encore song Watsky stretched his arm wide, high-fiving fans who were singing with him like a choir. Watsky was a nerdy kid, cool guy and creative poet at the same time — his work was relatable to all because parts of himself identified with everyone.
He was jamming just like the audience and everyone sang the last line that brought out our angsty selves, “I. Don’t. Give. A. Fuck!” Like a group therapy session, a certain pressure was relieved in that moment.
Well done, Watsky. Well done.