Gavin Degraw & Andy Grammer Electrify MSU

With some class and good Grammer to back him up, pop-rock icon Gavin DeGraw left a defining mark on Montclair State’s homecoming extravaganza.

Gavin DeGraw and Andy Grammer brought their music and their gratitude to Montclair’s very own Yogi Berra Stadium.

gavin degraw
Photo courtesy of Steven Zang.

Why be anyone other than yourself? Well, after MSU’s memorable homecoming concert last weekend, college students wanted nothing more than to be Gavin DeGraw and Andy Grammer.

Two of pop-rock’s most prestigious superstars tag-teamed Yogi Berra Stadium for an impressive line-up of music, showmanship and flat-out excitement. Both DeGraw and Grammer made appearances for Montclair State University’s annual homecoming celebration, supported by the school’s very own Student Government Association (SGA). Together, the two acts brought down the house, playing everything from their popular hits to some “stripped-down” covers and even some exclusive new material!

First, there was DJ Trill. The young artist, playing in-between the other act’s setups, revved up the audience with electronic renditions to some classic dance-fare, with everything from rock ballads to hip-hop royalty. Following Trill was special guest Wrabel, an up-and-coming R&B artist from the Empire City. He mesmerized the crowd with his upbeat, alternative sound, further preparing the masses for the soul-pop festivities that lay ahead.

Once the opening acts made their statements, the stage was set, the lights went down and the muffled side-conversation became a gradual frenzy of applause. Why? Because Andy Grammer finally roared his way onto stage, with a backing band of utmost talent by his side. Grammer played a full 45-minute set, hitting unforgettable highs (putting a bubbly perspective on everything from the Jackson 5 to even Snow Patrol) and giving in to what many would call the necessities (like a massive sing-along to “Honey, I’m Good”). It was colorful, it was bouncy and it was everything that you’d expect from a radio-hit wonder.

Finally, with little room to catch a breath, came the one and only Gavin DeGraw. DeGraw’s headlining set surpassed the hour mark, ripping through a stylized setlist unlike his predecessor. Despite doing an acoustic set at the peak of his performance, DeGraw carried a simplistic flair, keeping it strictly about playing to his band’s strengths. And it was quite obvious early-on that his strengths drew influence from blues, soul and good ol’ fashioned rock-n-roll.

Surprisingly, the exposed DeGraw admitted to being as passionate with his appreciation as he is with his ballads, calling out everyone from his tight backbone of a band to his roadie technician (only two days into the job). It was refreshing, feeling that the man-of-the-hour sincerely wanted to be playing his noteworthy hits (“I Don’t Want to Be” and “Not Over You”). Furthermore, DeGraw manned his ground post-concert, having casual conversations with any fan willing to stay a few minutes.

“I was pleasantly surprised by how many of Gavin DeGraw and Andy Grammer’s songs that I actually knew,” said Kyle Murphy, sophomore Film major in the School of Communication and Media. “It was cool because I think [Montclair State University] is very supportive of the pop-rock industry. And I’m glad we had this show because they need… well, supporting!”

Luckily for Gavin DeGraw and Andy Grammer, support is MSU’s most-renowned quality. Better yet, it’s a quality that has brought forth one of the best homecoming concerts that the Montclair community has seen in a long time.

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