B.o.B., X Ambassadors rock Bigelow Bash


John Hamilton | Staff Photographer

By Leo Dornan / Staff Writer

Surfing a crowd of Pitt students Saturday at Bigelow Bash, hip-hop artist B.o.B. grabbed a cell phone from a student and snapped a selfie from atop the crowd.

This year’s Bigelow Bash, Pitt Program Council’s annual free spring concert, featured two headliners — B.o.B. and alternative rock band X Ambassadors. Filling Bigelow Boulevard and laying out all over the nearby lawns, about 4,500 Pitt students and community members danced and munched on free food during one of Pittsburgh’s first great spring days.

The crowd chanted “f*** Penn State” alongside the rapper, jumped for T-shirts that B.o.B. threw to the crowd and shouted along with lyrics. For Evan Helenbrook, a first-year mechanical engineering major, that atmosphere was exactly what attracted him to the event.

“I was just here for B.o.B. and it was so lit,” Helenbrook said.

After performing “Roll Up” from his upcoming mixtape E.A.R.T.H. and a remix of Young Dro’s “FDB,” B.o.B. ended his set with a line of advice.

“Remember, don’t drink and drive,” he said. “Just smoke and fly.”

Kate Koenig | Visual Editor

This year’s winner and runner-up of Pitt Program Council’s Battle of the Bands, Controlled Chaos and The Running Men, respectively, opened for the headliners. The Running Men, an indie rock group that formed three weeks before Battle of the Bands, performed covers of songs, such as The Lumineers’ “Flowers in Your Hair,” as well as a few original songs.

Controlled Chaos, a hip-hop group, added dance moves to the event, dancing to hits such as “Hood Go Crazy” by Tech N9ne.

When it comes to choosing the headliners, Shawn Cassidy, special events director for PPC, said PPC wants to get the most bang for its buck.

“When choosing our acts we take a lot of factors into account,” Cassidy said. “It’s part availability, but primarily it’s finding a diverse act to appeal to the most people.”

According to Cassidy, PPC hoped the two headliners would appeal to most people. B.o.B. performed first and X Ambassadors closed the show with the crowd providing the chorus for their song “Renegades.”

Kate Koenig | Visual Editor

The crowd constantly swayed to the music, responding to the enthusiasm of X Ambassadors’ lead vocalist, Sam Harris, and his brother Casey Harris on the keyboard.

“The keyboardist was feeling it,” Samantha Richard, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major, said. “He was awesome.”

The group got the crowd to sing along to many of their songs following Harris’ lead and singing the refrain of songs such as “Renegades,” which is featured in recent Jeep commercials.

Giving introductions to a few of the songs, Harris drew laughs when he introduced their song “Naked.”

“This song is about being vulnerable and opening up,” Harris said. “It’s also about taking all of your clothes off.”

Harris jumped around the stage and finished the set on the drums with both him and drummer Adam Levin throwing their drumsticks into the crowd.

John Hamilton | Staff Photographer

“I came in not really knowing them,” Richard said. “I was really impressed and I’m a fan now.” 

Throughout the performances, students feasted on food truck delicacies, including grilled cheese and shaved ice.

Following the success of last year, PPC brought in 10 food trucks, giving students 10 tickets redeemable for one item from each truck. Each truck typically only had one menu item in order to streamline the process.

The 10 tickets could get students plenty of food, ranging from pierogies to barbeque to crepes. A ticket was redeemable for a cupcake from Bella Christie and Lil Z’s Sweet Boutique truck, a BBQ rib from Big Poppa’s Homecookin’ truck or a taco from Las Chicas’ truck, among other treats.

“I knew Pitt didn’t just get some cheap food when I saw the food trucks,” Nicole Levy, a first-year neuroscience major, said.

One of the longest lines was for the Southside BBQ Company truck, nicknamed the CarnivoreMobile, which served up its Bar-Ba-Cone, a waffle cone stuffed with mac and cheese, pulled pork and coleslaw.

“The food is good, quality food,” Levy said. “I was so happy when I realized that.”

Last year, all 11 vendors sold out in three hours. On Saturday, the food was gone in just over two and a half hours.

“We had a line from in front of the Union all the way into the quad of people waiting for their food tickets,” Cassidy said.

Shivangee Makharia, a first-year actuarial math and German major, did not mind waiting in the lines for food, especially if she got to listen to music too.

“I’m mostly here for the food,” she said. “But the music is actually pretty good too.”

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