Wildcat Welcome kicks off semester with chilling, soulful performances

Jake Hutchison

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Run River North shows off its six person harmony as it plays in front of an audience of mostly first-year students at the first annual Wildcat Welcome Concert. Photo credit: Annie Paige

The swelling of violins and an intensifying drumbeat accompanied Run River North’s Alex Hwang as he abandoned his acoustic guitar and sprung off of the stage to meet a crowd of enthusiastic spectators, his compelling voice leaving Chico State students in awe.

Both new and returning students gathered Saturday night in Laxson Auditorium for the first annual Wildcat Welcome Concert, where they were warmly welcomed to campus by Chico Performances with an evening of live music from two incredible talents.

The concert featured local artists The LoLos, as well as San Fernando Valley’s Run River North.

Students as well as many Chico residents enjoyed complementary watermelon and conversed as they lined up to purchase tickets for the night’s event.

As the doors opened, seats began to fill with eager individuals enjoying the company of friends and sharing stories of the ending summer.

The lights dimmed as The LoLos took the stage, captivating the audience with its distinctively funky and driven sound.

Listeners could be seen dancing and swaying in greater numbers as the songs progressed.

One of the most well-received songs of the set was “Raised by Wolves,” which lifted the mood of the night even higher.

Vocalist Matt Heyden kept the evening moving smoothly with well-timed comedic remarks between songs and an entertaining stage presence. His powerful vocals drove the songs home and engaged the crowd.

The band shifted gears when bringing violinist Caroline Fairchild onto the stage, adding a darker tone to the end of the performance.

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The Lolos welcome in the Wildcats with songs about parakeets, wolves, and love. Photo credit: Annie Paige

Applause erupted as fans praised The LoLos for kicking off the night so strongly.

A contrast to The LoLos’ upbeat and soulful performance, Run River North entranced the auditorium with swift volume changes and haunting vocal harmonies.

The band’s implementation of acoustic and electric sounds created an intense atmosphere for the concert-goers as swelling violins harmonized with distorted guitars.

Songs such as “Foxbeard” and “Monsters Calling Home” were chilling yet exciting, and welcomed with great cheers from audience members.

Among the most notable moments during Run River North’s performance was its cover of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” which received a standing ovation and shouts of approval.

Run River North finished the set softly with its song “Banner,” a quiet but enchanting close to the evening.

The joyful crowds at the concert’s end were more than enough to show that Chico State’s first Wildcat Welcome Concert was a success and great start to the fall semester.

Both bands have already released debut albums: Run River North’s self-titled release and The LoLos’ “XOXO.”

Jake Hutchison can be reached at [email protected] or @poserpunk on Twitter.

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