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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, January 29, 2023
Me en you

Me eN You, led by Eric (E.J.) Newble, crafted an opening set of self-love and positive expression.

Allan Kingdom, Me eN You dazzle sold-out Sett

Rain can hamper any Friday evening. A torrential downpour, while fun to watch from indoors, can preclude people from venturing out into the great unknown for adventures and performances across the city. Luckily, for the sold-out crowd at The Sett Friday evening, the rain was an afterthought to a packed lineup of top-notch performers.

Allan Kingdom, who was recently featured on Kanye West’s “All Day,” headlined a Midwestern-heavy hip-hop and R&B line-up. The concert featured Twin Cities-native Bobby Raps and Me eN You, a band comprised of UW-Madison students of various backgrounds, with DJ Tip providing background music and support through Bobby Raps and Allan Kingdom’s performances. 

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Me eN You, who performed the headlining set at the Terrace Stage for the 2015 Revelry Arts and Music Festival, brought their A game to The Sett. Me eN You is an authentic collaborative effort, featuring a variety of instruments and vocal talents, including rappers Lord of the Fly and Smiley Gatmouth. Providing a much-needed jump start to the concert, the ensemble used their top-notch genre melding to soothe the rain-soaked crowd. Eric “E.J.” Newble’s powerful vocals, the wide breadth of instrumentation and spellbinding backing lyrics were only a few of the set’s highlights. Using messages of self-love and acceptance, Me eN You sailed through songs like “Drama King,” which had the band passing between various solos for different performers. Before the end of their set, CRASHprez hopped onstage and freestyled his way through a feature, bringing even more talent to an already packed performance. The camaraderie between bandmates radiated throughout The Sett, which brought even a few of the contracted security guards to dance along to the infectious beats. 

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After a quick intermission which featured a quick slew through some popular dance songs, Bobby Raps stormed onto the stage with a white towel draped over his head and silver sunglasses on the bridge of his nose. According to Daniel Kaplan, who performs as Lord of the Fly, Bobby produces the beats which he uses in his songs, something which surprised me after reflecting on his set. While performing, Bobby would rap for a few verses, then move around the stage, jumping and dancing to the beat. Letting his beats breathe and speak for themselves helped to illustrate that Bobby Raps doesn’t just rap, adding a duality to his performance. While Tip presided over the stage, Bobby was free to show off his talents, both vocal and instrumental.  With an emotive, expressive performance style, Bobby Raps sparked the audience’s hype meters in preparation for the main act of the night. 

After a much smaller break between sets, the crowd greeted Allan Kingdom with a roar of cheers and applause. Kingdom is one of the few artists I’ve seen in recent memory who can literally stand still on stage with a microphone and keep the crowd’s attention. While he didn’t stand in place for long, Kingdom’s ability to hold the audience in his hand elevated his performance to a higher plane. While a newcomer to Kingdom’s music, the relentlessly positive energy from the crowd, coupled with Kingdom’s sharp, dulcet voice, engrossed me into his performance. The infectious beats and rapid-fire flow would give way to more melodic tracks, showcasing Kingdom’s talented vocal range. Once the opening beats of Kanye West’s “All Day” broke through the speakers, the crowd erupted once again and sang along to every word. Singing in concert with Kingdom, the audience held reverence for his varied performance. Ending his set with a simple thanks to those who came, Kingdom walked off, leaving his mark on the campus music scene and with a crowd hungry for more.

Allan Kingdom, Bobby Raps and Me eN You came to impress, and blew away the crowd, sending us away with positive vibes. As I walked back out into the rain, with Soulja Boy’s “Turn My Swag On” playing, my soul felt refreshed after a night of exciting, uplifting music. 

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