The Chiles Center boomed with lively tunes and good vibes at Rock the Bluff on Saturday as students wore out their converse and lost their voices singing along with Whethan and Quinn XCII. For each set, the crowd glowed with vibrant colors of blue, green and red thanks to Campus Program Board’s light-up wristbands.
When Whethan went on at 9 p.m., a small cluster of students gathered in front of the stage, and by the end of his set, The Chiles Center was nearly at full capacity, filled with excited students and a few dads from Villa’s Dads’ Weekend.
Rocking his “Alien Boy” hat over his dirty-blonde locks, Whethan brought the house down with electronic bass tunes and remixes. The 19-year-old artist ended his set with his latest release, “Win You Over” featuring Soak, and threw Wheat Thins into crowd, shouting, “You get a Wheat Thin! You get a Wheat Thin!”
Quinn XCII started his set around 10 p.m., sporting an orange beanie and blue flannel. The Detroit-native pumped up the crowd with popular hits like, “Straightjacket” and “Always Been You,” as the screen behind him flashed bright images and song lyrics. The show closed with confetti cannons blasting as red and orange lights flooded the audience for one final song.
After their sets, The Beacon caught up with Whethan and Quinn XCII for a Q&A about their music, life on tour and their favorite throwback jams:
The Beacon: What’s your favorite throwback jam (any decade)?
Whethan: September by Earth, Wind and Fire is always a classic. What else? It’s my job to know these things. I don’t know. So many classics. That’s definitely one that I will always play, though.
The Beacon: When are we gonna get a Whethan remix of September?
Whethan: We gotta make it happen, I don’t know. That’s a good question.
The Beacon: What’s your favorite city to perform in (besides Portland)?
Whethan: Anywhere on the West Coast or Chicago. Chicago is always nice ‘cuz it’s the hometown and always a lot of friends and family coming around, checking it out.
The Beacon: What show have you binge watched recently?
Whethan: I’m like a movie guy. Movies more than shows...I don’t have time for shows. But, what show? Breaking Bad’s honestly the last thing I watched all the way through...Black Mirror, I watched all of those.
The Beacon: How did you come up with your stage name?
Whethan: So, it was actually a nickname that started in high school. Just some kid in my class...I would walk into class everyday and he would just be like, ‘Hey, Whethan’s here.’ Well, I guess my name is Ethan so it like plays off.
The Beacon: How would you describe your high school self?
Whethan: I was quiet. I kept to myself. I was like really good at school. I got really good grades, just like sliding by. But I seemed to be like pretty chill with everybody but was like never the loud one in class, always just kind of sat in the corner like just was always ready to go home and just make music everyday. I wanted to get out.
The Beacon: If you could travel to any city in the world accompanied by one famous person, who would it be and where would you go?
Whethan: Definitely Skrillex. He’s always the most fun person to be around. And I would go to Thailand. I would go to Phuket. It’s a beautiful little tip of Thailand that’s just such a vibe.
The Beacon: So, you said you went to Michigan State. What’s your favorite college memory?
Quinn XCII: I have one in particular. There’s this thing called ‘Burgerama’ at Michigan State. I don’t know if you guys might do something similar to this, but every Thursday they do like a half off beer pitcher thing. It starts at like one o’clock and everyone like skips class and everyone goes and it’s like a day drinking shitshow. So, definitely not the most educational memory I have but like one of my favorite things that I did my senior year of college.
The Beacon: I noticed you do a lot of stage dives at your shows. What’s going through your head in the middle of a stage dive?
Quinn XCII: It’s such an adrenaline rush and like honestly probably more rational thinking should go through my head because sometimes it doesn’t end up well and I get dropped and stuff...It’s like a very euphoric experience and it’s like honestly you just feel like you’re on top of the world and it’s just like the coolest thing ever.
The Beacon: What’s your favorite city to tour in?
Quinn XCII: Bias aside, because I could say Detroit, that’s my hometown. I really like Boston actually. I have family that’s from there. I’m really like a sucker for history and stuff and Boston has a lot of that and I don’t know, I’m just really into cobblestone roads and all that. I think it’s so cool. But also the West Coast is just great. Like, this part of the tour is really cool ‘cuz it’s like very scenic and the driving’s not boring and you can actually look out the window and see cool stuff.
The Beacon: What’s your favorite throwback jam?
Quinn XCII: Third Eye Blind, “Never Let You Go.” That’s actually like my all time favorite song.
The Beacon: What’s your go-to for late night fast food?
Quinn XCII: It’s so bad, we hit so many places on tour. I would say Taco Bell, but yeah I don’t even like saying that out loud. I like Burger King, too.
The Beacon: Favorite memory from tour so far?
Quinn XCII: I think getting a chance to play the hometown venue I always went to when I was a kid in Detroit. It’s called the Fillmore. I got to see Mac Miller and Avicii there before they passed away, so it’s really like nostalgic for me and something I’ve always wanted to do like a bucket list venue. So getting to do that was really special and I had all my friends and family there.
Brigid Lowney is the living editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at email@example.com.