With a large crowd and a bright stage, mtvU’s 2008 Woodie Awards, created to celebrate the best of the college music scene, kicked off with an energetic start. Neon lights bounced off the walls while eccentric, bright patterns danced across the screens behind the stage.
Even with the promising start, the energy in the audience waned once rapper Asher Roth took the stage, looking fresh-off-the-couch in basketball shorts and a hoodie. During his performance, Roth made several attempts to get the crowd moving, waving his arms back and forth, but failing to elicit any sort of response no matter how exuberantly he clapped his hands or how many souvenirs he threw out to the audience.
Next up came Lykke Li, who showed the crowd her wide range of vocal abilities, performing her eerie and enchanting “Dance, Dance, Dance” before rapping with Q-Tip.
Blink-182 and +44’s Mark Hoppus took the stage to introduce All Time Low, one of the evening’s most highly anticipated performances. Hoppus, one of the band’s biggest influences, made time to connect with the crowd.
“Well hello, students. My name is Mark Hoppus, and I will be your professor this evening,” he said amid loud cheers.
“I recently had the chance to co-write a song with these guys ... if our song isn’t the first single of the next record, I swear I will break every single one of your guitars ... starting with the dude with the hair that looks like this,” he said, covering his face with his hands. “Well here they are, your newest, bestest friends in the whole entire world!”
Cheers erupted as the boys from All Time Low took the stage to perform “Dear Maria, Count Me In” and to show off their dance moves.
In a conference call, the band’s lead singer Alex Gaskarth joked about where the group learned its moves: “Everybody in this band is not only extremely good-looking but also really talented. We were trained by Cirque de Soleil for eight years when we were toddlers to about 12 years old. We were pretty much already professional dancers when we came into this game.”
Following All Time Low was house DJ A-Trak, who loosened the atmosphere with his spins. Keeping energy levels high, DJ A-Trak had people moving more than any band had done that night.
Building off the excitement that DJ A-Trak started was this year’s favorite, Santogold. Performing “Shove It” with Naeem Juwan of Spank Rock, she let her eclectic style come out through both her voice and her sense of fashion, which consisted of a colorful mixture of purple and gold.
“College students are usually more in tune to the stuff that’s not so mainstream, so you get an accurate mix and a more accurate picture of where music really is. I think that’s exciting and a great opportunity for artists who are more underground when you put them up to like artists like Miley Cyrus — is that her name?,” Santogold said during the same call.
Last to perform was Vampire Weekend and Chromeo, who closed the show with an ’80s-like sound. Though their performances of “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance,” “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and “A-Punk” didn’t have the audience jumping the way other performers like All Time Low and Santogold did, there was still a collective interest and energy pulsing through the crowd, who bobbed their heads to the light tunes.
“We all grew up listening to so many styles of music — it made sense to put it all together,” lead singer Ezra Koenig said, also during the call, on his band’s unique sound. “We go ahead with the ideas that make natural sense, so a lot of our songs came together very quickly.”
By the end of the night, the winners and performers demonstrated just how wide of a variety of music today’s younger generation is interested in. There was no predominant genre in winners, who ranged from the punk-rock Paramore to emo-ites There For Tomorrow, and no overriding style in performances, which displayed everything from rock to rap.
The Woodie Awards began on a bad note with a rapper in gym shorts, but as the night carried on, each performer brought something different to the stage. It’s fair to say the 2008 Woodies, complete with boys in girls’ jeans, scantily clad females and great music, was a success.
— Contact Alice Chen.