Perhaps Nooners really need no explanation — it has been a fixture of the UC Riverside quad area nearly every week for as long as I have been a student (about four years now), featuring local or smaller musicians every week from all types of genres. This year, the Associated Student’s Programs Board (ASPB) held a unique nooner event at night where musicians R&B crooner Xavier Omar and electronic jazz musician Masego were invited to perform.
Held at the HUB, Nooner @ Nite showcased a night of incredible music and free tacos, providing a relieving balm for the invariable midterm brain drain, because let’s be serious: Does it really get any better than free tacos and good music? Hardly.
The Chicago-based vocalist Xavier Omar opened with a soaring falsetto, immediately captivating the students who had gathered around. The set included songs such as “No Problem” by Chance The Rapper, “Work (Remix)” by A$AP Ferg along with an assortment of his own songs which really hyped the crowd. He played slower jams and faster bangers and at one point his DJ even hopped up to the mic to spit a few bars which really had the crowd of students going.
Toward the end of his set Omar gave an uplifting speech to the students about always following their dreams, discussing some of his life experiences with university life before he started making music.
After his set I was able to catch a word with him, where he said, “It’s really cool to be out here and it’s exciting to do a college show for the second time. This is the second time I have done it so the energy is very different.”
After a brief interlude, self-described traphouse jazz musician Masego followed Omar’s magnificent set, bringing another blisteringly hot set that engaged the entire audience. Hopping onto the stage, saxophone in hand and keyboards set up center stage, he opened with one of his most popular tracks, “Shut Up and Groove.” Masego’s music differed from the nocturnal R&B of Omar with uptempo house beats punctuated with elements of jazz — at one point he let an instrumental play as he alternated rapping a few bars and soloing on his saxophone for a few bars.
This uptempo house-inflected music reflected a change in the crowd, which was bursting with energy at this point. He played tracks like, “I’m In” and “Girls That Dance,” which all effortlessly combine EDM-style trap beats with jazzy instrumental melodies, creating a holistically warm and groovy sound.
Perhaps the highlight of his set was when he debuted new music from an upcoming project, which had a similar aesthetic as the songs he was playing. Perhaps it was the swinging groove of this song, which merged melodic synth melodies with tonal saxophone soloing or just the fact that it was unreleased music but this performance saw practically everyone in the crowd dancing along to the rhythm.
The overall event was excellently executed, with students filtering in and out of the event. The performances by Masego and Xavier Omar delivered to the expectations of the music.