September 20, 1969 – The Velvet Underground
“I was just a couple of weeks into freshman year, straight out of Loyola High School, and still struggling to get the hang of the looser, hippier culture that was UMBC at the time, when the Velvet Underground played a concert there.
“I confess my memories of it are vague. Partly that’s because we were all then experimenting with consciousness-altering substances of one sort or another. But mostly it’s because I was with a girl I must have met just a week or so before. I think I remember the concert was in the gym. I definitely remember we all sat or lay on the floor, where I was much more interested in the girl than the band.
“I knew enough about the Velvets to be disappointed that it wasn’t the classic line-up on stage. Nico the sepulchral vocalist and John Cale, the brainy Welsh cellist whose avant-gardisms had blended with Lou Reed’s NYC drug-rock to form the VU sound, had left the band. This VU line-up was more conventionally rock, even folk-rock.
“I probably should have liked it better, but I remember it sounding kind of deflated and dispirited to me. They sounded like a Velvets tribute band. I got the impression they were just going through the motions. Maybe a concert in a gym in suburban Baltimore felt like a step down from the trippy nights at Andy’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable.”
-John Strausbaugh ‘74
April 21, 2010 – Wale
“Quadmania is the biggest event of the spring semester, and tickets for rising hip-hop star Wale’s show at the festival were in demand. A line for tickets formed at 6 a.m. on the day they went on sale, eventually snaking through Flat Tuesdays to the stairs outside of The Commons, and past the Physics building. After two hours, the concert was sold out. Even the artist was impressed: Wale tweeted a shout out to his UMBC fans when he heard about the line.
“The University Center Ballroom was lit up with glow sticks, anticipating the rapper’s arrival. After Wale was announced to the crowd, the artist and his crew walked past the mass of excited fans and jumped on stage, where he immediately started in. Fans rapped every word, sang every chorus, swayed with every beat, and threw their fists in the air when they felt passionately about a particular line. Wale upped the ante by jumping from the stage and onto a barricade in front of the stage a few times, interacting with his most dedicated fans.
“After his long set came to a close, Wale did not make a quick exit from the stage the way that most artists do. Instead, he stayed to sign everything that the crowd offered up to him: sneakers, ticket stubs, posters and even cell phones. The sea of smiles and excited outbursts from audience members who realized that Wale did indeed just actually sign their shoe said it all. Many times, the selection of artists at Quadmania produces as many grumbles as cheers. But Wale’s appearance was more than a success; it was a true moment of happiness and pride for all those involved on every level.”
Stephanie Mavronis ‘12