Abhi the Nomad headlines KOXY concert

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Abhi the Nomad performs at the KOXY concert at Occidental College. Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. Sarah Hofmann/The Occidental

Colored lights and projections illuminated the Tiger Cooler, where KOXY — Occidental’s student-run radio station — hosted its first concert of the Spring 2020 semester Feb. 7. More than 100 students turned out to watch rapper Abhi the Nomad, according to Grace Haggerty (senior), one of two KOXY station managers. Alternative rock duo It’s Butter and five-person rhythm and blues band Carter Ace performed as opening acts. Abhi the Nomad played a lively set including songs from his newest album, “Modern Trash.”

Before Abhi the Nomad took the stage, It’s Butter opened the night with rock music accented by hints of pop and rhythm and blues. According to the band’s website, It’s Butter chose its name because its music easily slides into listeners’ ears. The crowd cheered throughout the performance, especially as It’s Butter played its most recent single, “Expectations,” which was released June 2019.

Carter Ace performs at the KOXY concert at Occidental College. Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. Sarah Hofmann/The Occidental

The audience created a mosh pit when Carter Ace performed songs from its latest extended play, “Music’s Better Than People.” The singer jumped off the stage into the audience, and the crowd danced with him, jumping and waving their arms.

According to his website, Abhi the Nomad gets his name because he moved back and forth between India, China and the Fiji Islands eight times before he turned 18. He eventually settled in Thousand Oaks, CA where he attended California Lutheran University. When his student visa expired, he had to return to India. According to a guest editorial he wrote for DJBooth, he now has a notoriously hard-to-obtain talent visa, which allows him to live and tour in America.

Nicholas Abraham (first year), a member of KOXY’s event staff, was responsible for booking the performers. Abraham said he was excited when he booked Abhi the Nomad.

“I hear people talking about him all the time,” Abraham said. “They’re always like, ‘Oh, this guy’s so good,’ and he was in our budget.”

In high school, Abraham connected with artists when he worked booking DIY music venues in Northern California, including Berkeley, San Francisco and his hometown, Redwood City. He said he is happy to be working for KOXY because when he was in high school, he did not feel like people were as interested in hearing new music.

“The work that I enjoy doing, putting on shows and just putting on my music, is appreciated by the students here,” Abraham said. “I feel like I have an opportunity to expose students here to new music that’s local.”

The Associated Students of Occidental College (ASOC) Senate funded the event, which was free to all students. Haggerty said KOXY is used to working on a tight budget and managers prefer to have more concerts rather than higher-budget concerts. KOXY plans to host at least one more concert this semester, and Haggerty said she hopes the next concert will be higher-budget.

Instead of the tables and couches that usually are in the Cooler, KOXY staff set up a stage with speakers and musical instruments. A projector displayed promotional videos of the performers, which looped behind them as they played.

Before the show, Haggerty said she was looking forward to the concert because KOXY has not hosted a concert in the Cooler for two years.

“It’s gonna be really nice because it gets really loud in there,” Haggerty said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of people that come on accident and are pleasantly surprised because the artists are all really solid.”

Longtime fan Megan Reed (first year) was not disappointed.

“Abhi the Nomad is someone my friends and I have listened to for a while now,” Reed said. “I love how Oxy is making a move to bring artists to students.”