‘Up and coming’ rapper rekindles concert tradition

By Tristan E. M. Leach

The night was filled with anticipation as a line formed on the sidewalk outside the Student Recreation Center (SRC). Students excitedly conversed as the sun began to set. The doors to the SRC swung open and the hoard of people began to enter the SRC courts. It was time for the much anticipated Nardo Wick concert on March 24. 

Friday saw the return of Rider’s long-standing tradition of yearly musical performance. Now called the Student Entertainment Council (SEC) concert, the show was put together by a dedicated group of students and Nick Barbati, associate dean of campus life. Barbati has overseen the creation and execution of several SEC concerts and said he was thrilled to see the tradition return to Rider’s campus. 

Barbati could be seen working throughout the day of the show, preparing for the yearly concert tradition that was struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. Wick was chosen by the SEC to perform after an agent told the group what the college market is looking for, explained Barbati.

“He is young, he is up and coming and that’s the coolest thing in the history of Rider concerts. We’ve had some incredible acts as they’re on the rise,” said Barbati. “I think the idea of him being a real up and coming star that is having some massive success, an album that is really high on the charts and he’s had some big singles. I think he’s got a superstar quality to him.” 

Nardo Wick takes the stage and performs for Rider students.
Nardo Wick takes the stage and performs for Rider students. Andrew Xon/The Rider News

Whether or not they’ve heard of Wick, the SRC courts became packed with students who were ready for a night of dancing, music and fun. Groups of friends danced as different rap songs played over the speakers and multi-colored lights flashed. Soon, a member of the SEC came onto the stage to hype up the audience and the opening act, Gloss Up. 

A few minutes later, Gloss Up made her appearance on the stage. Sporting an orange top and ripped jeans, the rapper had the audience jumping, dancing and twerking with each other. The artist was a hit with the audience and many expressed their joy at the pick of the opener. 

Kayla McIntyre, a junior global studies major, came to the concert for the ambiance but also because she knew the artists performing. When asked about her favorite part of the show, McIntyre expressed her appreciation for the interactivity. 

“Definitely the opening act, Gloss Up but also how the DJ was super interactive with us,” said McIntyre. 

Gloss Up hand picked several students from the crowd twice. The first time the chosen few did a variation of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” The dancing students showed off their best moves and had the audience cheering. At the end of her set, Gloss Up selected a few lucky students to rap in a song with her. The interaction was unlike any other, and Gloss Up hyped up the crowd before Wick made his way to the stage. 

As the audience waited for the main event to begin, rapper Ty50 and wg ian rapped while Wick built anticipation of his appearance. As the clock struck 9:30 p.m., the rapper made his way to the stage. 

Wick sported a gray sweatshirt that covered half of his body, low-rise jeans and his infamous chains. Fans of Wick cheered as the artist started his set. Even people who only knew Wick from TikTok were roaring with excitement. 

Emma Matera, a freshman business administration major, knew very little about Wick but that didn’t stop her from joining in on the fun with her friends. 

“I wanted to come with my friends and I’ve heard Nardo’s name around TikTok. [I was] definitely social media influenced. I’m excited to be here with my friends and my peers and just really have a good time” said Matera.

The night was full of fun as fans of Wick sang along. Though his set was short, the audience was riding the high of the concert all night. As students left the SRC excited, chatter could be heard, expressing the joy and excitement that had been brought to the campus. 

Students and staff alike hope to see the SEC concert return again next year, rekindling the tradition that has long awaited a triumphant return. 

To see The Rider News’ video recap of the SEC concert headlined by Nardo Wick click here.

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