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July 31, 2017 | by  | in Music |
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Sea-Sick on a Little Boat

On July 26, around one thousand students pack into the Hunter Lounge for one of the biggest US headlines to have graced the venue — Lil Yachty. The recent shift of the bar to one side of the room opens the venue’s floor to a crowd who swarm in, wide eyed and Patagonia-clad, a sea of fresh faces looking to have “the most lit night, man.”

The smell of vomit and Red Bull is overwhelming. A girl takes cup after cup of FREE WATER and hurls it into the crowd. A guy leans against the back wall of the bar, eyes closed and swaying uncontrollably, while his girlfriend tries to dance with him. And so, Lil Yachty begins.

Within a few minutes of being in the crowd, I’m slicked with the sweat of at least two dozen other people. Hands. Elbows. Boners. Everyone’s pushing, but in good spirits; the spilt beer and quality (or lack thereof) of the opening acts not deterring anyone. Strangely, after a loudly-sung rendition of “Lose Yourself” from behind the stage, Yachty sort of just appears, launching into his set without any discernable introduction. Sarah (or Sam?) screams that she loves him; meanwhile her friends flirt with the security guards to be let up to the much-coveted mezzanine — where only the likes of VUWSA, Captain Rory, and some weird guy with a camera have access to.

Everything is wet. The floor, the people, the air. While Yachty’s nautical theme pervades his lyrics, the extent to which the evening was dripping can’t be intentional, if those in the safe room with their arms in slings are any indication. I watch a guy slip from a stool and nearly crush the three girls who are dancing below him. They are, of course, unfazed.

Josh, who studies commerce and is originally from Auckland, “is having a fucking mean night,” but and “is completely fucked, like I don’t even know what I took and fuck it’s hot.” Josh, who is “definitely not a first year,” is not the only one — wide eyed, members of the crowd move inhibitionless, Snapchatting and shouting the lyrics of crowd favourites “iSpy” and “Broccoli”, while seeking out plastic cups of water. Most of the crowd appears content with being swept up in the (literal) heat of the event, although others make comments about the poor lighting and soundbite-length “bangers” where Yachty cuts his verses short.

Yachty himself is apprehensive at times, calling to the crowd to “turn it up,” but cautious after the horrific spill in Auckland the night before. He wants a mosh pit — everyone move to one side of the room! — but nervously preempts the potential for disaster — we need to be safe guys, do it safe. The final song, “1 Night”, has the crowd in their element. A guy who looks like Josh perches on his friend’s shoulders, topless and swinging a white t-shirt above his head. I watch the wave of water/sweat/beer lightly shower those below him.

Post-event, the lights turn on and the crowd clears, somewhat stunned by the shock of the bright neon. Despite the apprehension and short set, spirits remain high, with one person describing the show as “incredibly sweaty, best hype up DJ turned things up to 11/10 with the best bangers of 2017.”

Another told Salient that “[Yachty’s] braaaaaaaids made me wanna cum.”

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this