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An evening with KennyHoopla

| Monday, February 7, 2022

Maggie Klaers | The Observer

Performing to an intimate crowd at Legends, SUB recently hosted KennyHoopla, American singer, songwriter and musician. While some artists would’ve shied away from the half-full venue, Hoopla took it into stride. Kenny’s sound is a blend of rock, alternative and indie. His music feels like the kind of rock concerts your parents grew up going to, it’s loud and all-consuming. The angry lyrics make you want to jump with your arms in the air. There’s something unique about his music in that once you know the lyrics you are almost required to sing them aloud, ideally with your arms in the air. Hoopla wore a reworked version of something I envision early 2000s alt rock bands would wear. His bright red flannel had been altered to have a looser fit that he layered under. He also sported the iconic wallet chain with his ripped black jeans. This ensemble perfectly matched the genre he’s revised for today’s audiences. 

I don’t think my friends and I stopped dancing for the whole hour. The energy in the crowd was infectious and everyone who attended the concert truly wanted to be there. Throughout the set, there was never an awkward lull. The set list was consistently high energy, with a few slower songs mixed in. Everyone knew the words to “hollywood sucks//” and “how will I rest in peace if i’m buried by a highway?//.” The best song to dance to was, “estella//,” with its heavy drums and energetic guitar riff. My personal favorite was, “lost cause//,” because of its more subdued vibe and display of Hoopla’s range of musical emotion. 

It felt like a conversation with a friend as Kenny would check in with us after each song and we’d shout back our resounding approval. At one point during the show, KennyHoopla came off the stage and the crowd parted into a mosh pit. Phone flashlights instantly turned on as we swayed in anticipation for the beat drop. Once we hit the chorus, the whole crowd was dancing and jumping. 

At the end of the hour-long set, Legends was filled with chants demanding an encore. Kenny came back out to perform his song “hollywood sucks//” once more before the night came to a close. After Kenny asked the lighting designer to turn on all cool lasers and strobe lights, we sang along at the top of our lungs as he danced across the stage. Overall, I think this is one of the most unique concert experiences I’ve had. Usually in venues, you don’t feel like you’re directly interacting with the performer. Rather, there is separation between you and them and occasionally that barrier is broken when they touch hands with the committed fans lining the front row. Like any good concert, the necessary ingredients were present: there were the committed-front-row-fans, the one guy who kept the energy up by shouting “we love you Kenny” at regular intervals, and the moshpit organizers. However, the small crowd in Legends allowed us to connect in a way that only music can inspire.

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