Bonfire crowd comes to life for Hollywood Undead

FAU’s eighth annual bonfire separated the concert from the flames. Here’s what went down.

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Owsley watches over the bonfire prior to the Hollywood Undead concert. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

The eighth annual Bonfire festival and concert took place last night, debuting a new schedule and the most expensive headlining act to play the event yet.

Hollywood Undead came out in masks in the beginning of their set. Mohammed F Emran | Staff Photographer

Hollywood Undead came out in masks in the beginning of their set. Mohammed F Emran | Staff Photographer

Hosted by Program Board, the festival, which was once a single event, came in two parts this year — the first being the actual bonfire at 7 p.m. by the track and field, the second being the concert featuring ARTIKaL Sound System and Hollywood Undead, who played for $47,500.

The bonfire – which was composed of 1,500 wood pallets and donned a “Beat Miami” sign – was lit at 8 p.m. for a crowd of upwards of 1,000 students. The heat from the pallets set ablaze was instant. Standing yards away, sweating and looking all around were students with smartphones, snapchatting pictures and videos.

The atmosphere was charged with pride and excitement for the Owls’ first home game of the season against the Miami Hurricanes.

Biology major Reubens Tavora came down from the school’s Jupiter campus for the event. “With the game tomorrow, I feel like the FAU spirit is really coming together. I expected [the bonfire and concert] to have a lot of people,” he said. “I’m not specifically here because of the band itself, mostly because of the environment.”

The bonfire’s host, Aaron Shapiro, hyped up the group for the evening’s special guests from Athletics. “Tomorrow, you’re gonna be a part of history as we beat UM,” he yelled into his mic. “We are loud. We are proud. We are FAU.”

There were performances from the dance team and band. Students showed no shame when it came to joining in. Many of them took to the center of field, dancing along to the music and enjoying themselves.

To rally student support, head football coach Charlie Partridge and his players – namely team captain Jenson Stoshak – took the stage to say a few words.

Coach Partridge came out with a positive attitude, practically giving the students permission to storm the field if FAU wins. “They’re gonna try and keep off the field if we pull this off. I’m not saying don’t go on the field or go on the field. I’m just saying enjoy every minute of this.”

Coach Charlie Partridge speaks at the bonfire rally with the football team. Mohammed F Emran | Staff Photographer

Coach Charlie Partridge speaks at the bonfire rally with the football team. Mohammed F Emran | Staff Photographer

Right afterwards, at approximately 8:30 p.m., students and guests made their way to the Student Union Outdoor Stage for the concert.

ARTIKaL Sound System, a local reggae group made up of FAU alumnus, opened up the live music for the night. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

ARTIKaL Sound System, a local reggae group made up of FAU alumni, opened up the live music for the night. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

By 9 p.m. they were vibing to local group, ARTIKaL Sound System’s upbeat, reggae setlist.

This wasn’t ARTIKaL Sound System’s first FAU show though – they opened for Less Than Jake back in 2013. Then, Program Board had an entertainment bill of just $12,000. In 2014, they paid $45,000 for All Time Low. This year, they brought in Hollywood Undead for a total of $47,500.

This money came from Program Board’s $50,000 allocation for the acts. Program Board is funded through students’ A&S fees.

While the concert had a slow start — not many knew ARTIKaL Sound System— it continued to sway along to their covers of new and old popular songs, including Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” and Foster the People’s “Pumped up Kicks” — more people piled in as Hollywood Undead’s stage time approached.

Damon Aiken, DJ of the event, got the crowd of approximately 1,500 students and guests to make some noise to bring out the night’s headliner.  

Right at 10 p.m., Hollywood Undead came out and brought the crowd to life. With their signature masks on, they began playing songs from their latest release, “Day of the Dead.”

There was a strong response from the crowd, shouting back lyrics and opening up a mosh pit. “War-child,” “Day of the Dead” and “Dark Places” were all songs played during their set. “The show was really good. Before tonight, I’d never heard of [Hollywood Undead],” Jordan Eptein, a senior BIology major said. “The show was better than I expected.”

Students watches as the wood pellets burn during Bonfire 2015. Mohammed F Emran | Staff Photographer

The band rotated the instruments they were playing and their roles on lead vocals, switching between members J-Dog and Danny. The band also played a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” with Charlie Scene, the band’s lead guitarist, singing and playing acoustic guitar.

Hollywood Undead played a lengthy set, to most of the crowd’s pleasure. It was more than I expected,” Nicholas Bargione, a junior criminal justice major said. “I thought they’d play four to five songs.”

Their set finished, and they headed off stage, the crowd shouting “One more song!”

“Crowd interaction was the best part of the show,” Jantil Zaidan, a junior psychology major said.

Shortly after, the band reappeared, giving the crowd what they wanted with “Everywhere I Go” — a fan favorite from their 2008 album “Swan Songs.”

This was the first of the past eight bonfires separated from the concert, and it proved to be a successful move for Program Board. Luckily, there was no rain like at last year’s show, no interruptions and a large, pleased crowd.