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Jay Som gives special Legends performance

| Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Cristina Interiano | The Observer

After months in the making, an epic collaborative effort between several student groups on campus came to life last weekend at Legends of Notre Dame. Songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Melina Duterte, better known as Jay Som, performed a touchingly-intimate set at Legends on Saturday.

Legends, WVFI student radio, the Asian American Association (AAA) and Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS) all worked together to bring the indie-rocker to campus. While all of these student groups have been working to expand the schedule of artists brought to Notre Dame, with AAA sponsoring Asian-American artists like Sam Tsui and WVFI joining forces with Legends to host artists such as Raury, BØRNS and Catfish and the Bottlemen, the Jay Som concert was the first time they were able to team up in selecting and backing an artist.

“It’s cool to have input from other groups [and] get other student groups on camups excited about shows at Legends,” junior and Legends student programmer Maria Lally said.

Senior WVFI assistant station manager Maggie Walsh said the station members were “so happy that a collaboration with AAA, MSPS and Legends made the Jay Som concert possible.”

“We have been working for years to get more female artists to perform at Notre Dame, so to be able to diversify the Legends lineup with a female, Asian American, LGBT artist like Jay Som really felt like the culmination of many years of hard work and, overall, a real success,” Walsh said.

Each of the groups that organized the concert “really kicked things into high gear the week leading up to it,” Legends marketing manager Rachel Anne Ramos said.

“With a highly-admired artist and promotional efforts ranging from posters to radio shout-outs to a lifesize cardboard cutout, the concert was bound to be a success,” she said.

Doors at Legends opened at 9:30 p.m., with a number of students already waiting to get inside. Notre Dame’s own The Shifties, composed of sophomore WVFI board member Mike Donovan on vocals and guitar, sophomore Felix Rabito on guitar and backup vocals, freshman Luke Molinelli on bass and junior Alvaro Del Campo on vocals and drums, started the night off at 10 p.m. (Editor’s note: Mike Donovan is the Associate Scene Editor for The Observer.) After opening for artists like The Wombats and MadeinTYO this semester alone, The Shifties have managed to build up a sizable fanbase on campus. Playing mainly original favorites such as “Coffee, Black as Midnight,” the quartet started the night out strong, with Jay Som herself even leaving the Legends green room to listen to them play before taking the stage around 11 p.m.

With just a stool, microphone, amp and her guitar, Jay Som’s performance was charming and personal. She started out with fan favorite “Turn Into,” which highlights her soothing, mesmerizing vocals and followed it up with “Everybody Works,” the titular and penultimate track from her recent album, which was named No. 21 on NPR’s 50 Best Albums of 2017 and No. 1 on Paste Magazine’s list.

A wonderfully gracious artist, Jay Som took every opportunity to bond with her audience, thanking The Shifties for opening the show up and giving a quick “shoutout to WVFI and the Asian American Association.” She continued with her set, which included popular tracks like “Ghost,” “(BedHead)” and “Baybee,” interjecting short anecdotes or conversing with the audience, at one point bonding with them over their love for Paramore before mentioning that she would be opening for the band during their upcoming summer tour.

The concert began to wrap up with “The Bus Song,” one of Jay Som’s most listened-to tracks, which she humorously dedicated to South Bend transportation as per her audience’s request.

“Thank you to the lovely people that work there and bring you guys places,” she laughed.

Before playing her last song of the set, Jay Som thanked her audience once again for coming out to the show.

“I like you guys,” she said. “Thank you for the love.” Jay Som concluded the show with “I Think You’re Alright,” once again featuring her gentle vocals and vulnerable, honest lyrics. After a relatively quick and uncomplicated clean-up on stage, the artist came out to the dance floor to meet students, take photos and sign autographs.

“She was so sweet, and I think the people who went had a lot of fun,” Walsh said after the concert. “Hopefully this is the start of a new era in terms of musicians coming to Notre Dame.”

Jay Som immediately set herself apart from other Legends performers. Her intimate set was effortlessly captivating and allowed for an instant connection with her listeners. After a long day of traveling that included a number of delayed flights, she didn’t arrive at Legends in the best mood, but said being onstage and playing for such a great audience turned everything around and made it all worth it. Packed with great music and the right people there to enjoy it, as Jay Som said, the night really was “just a big positive show of love and support.”

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About Molly Chen

Molly is a senior anthropology major from Davenport, IA.

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