Last Friday, Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) presented its semesterly concert event, Beats on the Banks, featuring the Los Angeles-based electronic music trio Cheat Codes at the College Avenue Gymnasium on Sept. 20.
Cheat Codes is made up of KEVI (Kevin Ford), Trevor Dahl and Matthew Russell. Including hits like “Sex” and “No Promises” featuring Demi Lovato, the group is known for its interesting sampling style.
The night started as most RUPA-organized events usually do, with purple-clad RUPA members manning stations and taking every measure to ensure the night was running smoothly. As people were ushered into the dimly lit gym, it was almost unrecognizable, making it hard to imagine that sweaty basketball players could have used this space just a day before.
The opening acts consisted of two DJs that played both oldies and new songs to get the crowd going. The first act, Byles, was on for a short time before DJ Nate, the DJ that provides the music at Rutgers football games, took over. Dancing to songs like, “Yeah!” by Usher and “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo, was clear evidence that the audience was ready to have a good time.
Despite the growing amount of people waiting for Cheat Codes to perform, it felt like the cluster on the gym floor grew smaller as people drew closer together and started to let loose. There were no thoughts of impending exams or assignments that were due, an unusual occurrence for a group of college students. There was only the music and everyone there, collectively, listening to the same sounds.
Cheat Codes came out promptly after DJ Nate, bursting with energy. Rushing out alongside smoke and lasers, Trevor threw money at the eager crowd. They even pulled out a Rutgers flag, shouting out their love for the school.
The DJs didn’t just play their greatest hits. Sampling songs like “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott and “High Hopes” by Panic! At the Disco, the trio provided a set with range.
The sounds vibrated from the speakers and could be felt in one’s chest, making it feel like the crowd shared one eternal heart. Looking around, there was no shortage of glow sticks that adorned the wrists of fists pumping in the air.
One of the most interesting aspects of the performance was that there was a screen behind the trio, depicting all sorts of incredible visuals that differed in color, textures and lights. These images combined with the beats, the smoke and the lasers, creating a confluence of senses that incorporated sight and sound.
Dahl was responsible for interacting with the crowd the most out of the three. In addition to singing along to sampled songs, he would often wink and point at audience members while grinning slowly, making it clear that he was the flirty personality of the group. Twice, he crowd-surfed at the edge of the stage.
As the trio wrapped up, Cheat Codes shouted “Rutgers, you the one!” and threw the Rutgers flag into the crowd along with more money. The audience clapped loudly and cheered, a promising sound after any concert. Soon the mob of people dispersed, talking excitedly of the electrifying experience they had just been apart of.
John Dimmick, a School of Arts and Sciences senior and RUPA’s director of marketing explained just how difficult it was to plan an event like Beats on the Banks. He went on to explain that RUPA organizers were fixed on featuring an EDM act because of how few events cater to that fanbase.
“Fans in general of EDM music might not really get the sort of experience they’re looking for,” Dimmick said. “But with this (event) we did that, which was kind of the goal of planning the event.”