By Kelly Langin, Contributor
Dropping temperatures didn’t stop University of Nebraska at Omaha students from kicking off the Maverick hockey season with music from some of Omaha’s most talked-about local bands at Party at the Pitch. The free event hosted carnival games and celebrated Maverick sports, concluding the night with an explosive dance concert.
Icky Blossoms headlined the free concert Thursday at UNO’s Caniglia Athletic Field as part of Homecoming Week. The event created a new kind of pep rally that celebrated both Omaha sports and music.
Although the crowd thinned out before their set, Icky Blossoms delivered a must-see show to the remaining attendees. Fast-paced percussion and sexually-charged lyrics solicited convulsing dance moves and continual jumping from those in the mosh pit directly in front of the stage.
The Omaha dance band launched their high-energy set with “Deep in the Throes,” a bass-heavy track that threw a tired horde of students back into the party mood. By the time their single hit, “Babes,
the mosh pit doubled and the outer crowd members bobbed their heads with frontwoman Sarah Bohling’s deep and sultry vocals.
They experimented with a few new songs from their upcoming album for the mixed crowd of longtime fans and new listeners. Some of the set was glitchy, though, as the band sometimes had to stop before a song due to technical difficulties.
“Good thing you guys paid top dollar to be here,” guitarist Derek Presnall joked as the band fumbled with issues before launching into the mantra-like “Sex to the Devil.”
Icky Blossoms closed out the concert with the shoegaze single, “Perfect Vision.” Presnall and Nik Fackler shred on their guitars while Bohling sang of hazy afternoons. The song itself is normally a tame, dreamlike experience, though the band’s onstage antics eventually descended into a disarray of chaos.
Fackler jumped into the crowd, hugging fans and head-banging with the moshers. By the end of the song, the stage was a tangled mess. A microphone tipped over while a keyboard dangled from its stand by a single cord. Bohling lay on the stage, kicking her legs in the fog.
“I think I just got my face melted off,” Olivia Davis said following the show.
Davis, a junior public relations major, said she attended the Party at the Pitch because she heard about Icky Blossoms but had never seen them live before. Like many students following the show, she expressed surprise at the amount of energy the band exerted onstage.
M34N STR33T opened for Icky Blossoms. The hip-hop group supplied a variety of sounds backed by hefty beats. Intricate piano melodies and moments of ear-buzzing synth created a unique sound.
Fans threw their hands up almost immediately as soon as M34N STR33T commanded the stage. The crowd flailed their hands high above their heads during most of the show, some moving along to the music while others took videos of the show with their cell phones.
Rapper Conchance hyped up the crowd with his aggressive voice and community-conscious lyrics. He often paused between tracks to stress the importance of getting a college education, inciting cheers from the mass of mostly university students.
After closing out their set with “Scottie Pippen’s Right Kn33,” the crowd begged for an encore. Conchance smiled and introduced a song he said they had not played live very often. The encore left the crowd satisfied as many left the stadium following M34N STR33T’s set.
Kethro kicked off the event and utilized his two-hour DJ slot at the beginning of the pep rally to set the block party mood. He bumped tracks from a variety of genres, including remixes from emerging electronic dance artists and old favorites from 90’s rappers.
In the last half of Kethro’s set, the sun set and students ditched their mingling to form a large dance circle. Many showed off their best hip-hop moves to the beat of Kethro’s high-energy set.