YouTube sensations perform at Bigelow Bash


Cal Shapiro spat Pittsburgh-based freestyle rhymes with references to “Club Hillman,” Oakland pizzerias Antoon’s and Sorrento’s, Primanti Bros. and “Cathy,” Pitt students’ endearing name for the Cathedral of Learning.

As part of a cover of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop,” Shapiro, the vocalist for hip-hop and techno duo Timeflies, shouted to the audience, “Are you Antoon’s or Sorrento’s?” and “Going to the Cathedral, I call that Cathy.”

Timeflies, which consists of Shapiro and DJ and producer Rob Resnick, headlined Bigelow Bash, Pitt’s annual spring concert, on Sunday. Pitt police shut down a portion of Bigelow Boulevard between the William Pitt Union and the Cathedral of Learning for the event. According to Pitt police officer Rick Troy, about 600 people attended the event that was sponsored by Pitt Program Council.

The Alcohols, a student rock band, opened for the headliners after winning PPC’s Battle of the Bands competition last month. Taylor Steffey, PPC’s special events coordinator, said the judges picked The Alcohols because of the students’ charisma.

Bands Misterwives and The Mowgli’s followed The Alcohols’ performance, and the former excited the crowd with a cover of “You Make My Dreams Come True” by ’80s pop duo Hall & Oates.

Steffey said the process to pick the Bigelow Bash headliner took six months, adding that Timeflies had been an option since last year after its YouTube channel gained an audience, culminating with PPC’s announcement in February.

She added that the event “attracts people from other schools and provides them with more than just free food.”

One such visiting student was Olivia Botek, a Timeflies fan and freshman at Duquesne University studying nursing. Her friend from Pitt told her about the event.

“I put it on my calendar right when I found out,” Botek said. “I’ve gotten tickets to [Timeflies] shows before, but it never worked out, so I’m excited to finally see them.”

Julie Herr, a freshman also studying nursing at Duquesne, was excited for the performance, even though she doesn’t regularly listen to Timeflies.

“Our activities at Duquesne are limited,” Herr said. “We enjoy coming to Pitt to get an experience like this. It’s a different atmosphere.

While Tyga was a no-show for the Pitt Program Council event a few weeks ago, Steffey wasn’t concerned about a repeated mishap.

“We weren’t worried about this happening with Timeflies because we established a good relationship with the group and their representatives,” Steffey said.

When The Mowgli’s exited the stage, a tick-tock countdown started, causing the volume of the crowd to rise in anticipation for Timeflies.

After Shapiro and Resnick entered the stage, the crowd jammed to the duo’s first song, “Lose my Mind.”

“What a day to be partying with y’all,” Shapiro said in the 80-degree weather.

The group performed original songs and covers, including R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” and Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy.”

While performing “Under the Sea,” one of their most popular songs on YouTube, Resnick and Shapiro sprayed crowd members with water bottles, a refreshment from the sticky afternoon temperatures.

Megan McGrath, who graduated from Pitt last year, added that she enjoyed her first-time viewing of the duo.

“‘Swoon’ is my favorite song, so I was excited that they sang that,” McGrath said. “I also really liked the two Pitt freestyles.”

The performers engaged with the audience consistently, filling gaps between songs and encouraging crowd members to sing along with hands in the air.

Shapiro pulled out a camera to film the audience as footage for the duo’s next posting to its YouTube channel. He also tossed two of his towels off the stage for fans to catch.

The crowd demanded an encore before Timeflies could exit the stage, to which the duo responded with its original song “I Choose U.” Shapiro offered the crowd hope that the engagement would last longer.

“So tonight, we’re all gonna rage after the show, right?” he asked.