Arts and Entertainment

IMF fall concert brings Sky Ferreira, Smith Westerns and DownBeat Keys to the Hill for a night of pop rock

By Max Newman '16

December 5, 2013

The Independent Music Fund (IMF), along with WHCL 88.7 brought rising pop star Sky Ferreira to Tolles Pavilion as the headliner for their fall concert. Just days before the show, Ferreira announced new winter performance dates, as she will be supporting Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz Tour.

Before Ferreira took the stage, the Hamilton-formed band DownBeat Keys and Chicago-based Smith Westerns performed. The DownBeat Keys opened the night with a passionate homecoming performance. The five-person group fuses hip-hop, soul and pop in their music.

If you missed the Keys, be sure to catch them the next time they are on campus. The Brooklyn-based band remains a part of the Hamilton community, and opened for Jon Bon Jovi at the Benefit Concert for Scholarships and the Arts at Hamilton College last December.

Although attendance was still thin when Smith Westerns got on stage, the crowd’s energy made up for its size as heads were bobbing and hips swaying to the group’s dreamy glam rock.

The performance took you back to the early high school days when you took awkward limo rides to homecoming dances where you were dressed up with nothing to say, and had to go through stutters and hesitations to finally ask your crush out to a movie.

IMF did a great job selecting a young, energetic band that created a relaxing mood before the final performance.

As midnight struck, Ferreira stepped on stage. By this time, rowdy “Citrus Bowlers” and music-lovers with prior engagements piled into the Annex.   Ferreira, just 21 years old, performed many songs from her first full-length album Night Time, My Time, released Oct. 29. While her music may seem similar to the Smith Westerns’s in mood, the lyrics offer a much deeper take on Ferreira’s life as a model and musician.

This past fall, Ferreira and her boyfriend Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV were arrested in upstate New York on heroin charges.

Just when her career could have been ruined, she released Night Time, My Time, which explores her role as a controlled product of the industry rather than her own person and musician. Ferreira reconciles with her past, which is tough for anyone, especially in front of strangers every night.

In “Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay),” Ferreira arguably addresses her struggles as a pop star and model. No one thought to ask her if she was comfortable with her career path, being pushed in directions without ever having a chance to think through her decisions.

Such pressure might have led to her heroin usage. Thus the controversial, partially nude album cover of Night Time, My Time is Ferreria undressing her troubled past, but at the same time showing she is comfortbale sharing her most intimate experiences through music.

Ferreira’s signature posture is standing directly in the middle of the stage with both hands tightly gripped around the microphone. Her head is angled downward, often with her eyes closed. Such a stance makes Ferreira’s performance meloncholic and cathartic.

The dark undertones present in her songs point to her troubled past, yet confirm her acceptance and desire to change. Ferreira takes responsibility for her mistakes in “I Blame Myself.” However she challenges people quick to judge her past, asking her critics: “How could you know what it feels like to fight the hounds of hell? You think you know me so well.”

Ferreira has taken control of her career, and Hamilton was lucky to have her as she prepares for her national tour with the famous (or infamous) Miley Cyrus.

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