For students who walk through Kogan Plaza daily, there might be more of a chance you’ll see President Obama on your way to class than a young rock star casually strumming on his guitar.
That changed Tuesday, however, when Justin Pierre of the group Motion City Soundtrack took to the center of campus for an impromptu performance.
“I’m just a plain guy in a goofy hat who’s under a pillar,” Pierre said to the 100-plus students who had gathered near the gazebo in the afternoon to hear him perform.
The set was part of a tour around the country to promote the band’s upcoming studio album, “My Dinosaur Life.” At each stop of the tour, aptly named “The Dino Trail,” Pierre has made an attempt to expand Motion City Soundtrack’s exposure by playing impromptu performances like the one on Tuesday.
After performing on and being interviewed by WRGW, Pierre headed out to the center of campus to entertain day trippers with hits such as “Everything Is Alright” and “This Is for Real.” He also introduced tracks from the upcoming album, slated for release Jan. 19, including the song “Disappear.”
“This is a pretty cool, innovative idea,” said Sam Fox-Hartin, a junior who said he has been listening to the band since he was 13 years old. “It’s a series of small, intimate shows geared to the audience who listens to them.”
While the concert was in a laid-back and casual setting, at one point the vocal strength of fans surpassed that of the songwriter, and he joyfully danced around the area. Pierre also took time to interact with the students who came to hear his music, even speaking Japanese with one of the fans.
“That’s a sharp tie,” he told another young student standing in the audience.
Prior to the performance, Pierre talked about what makes the new album different than anything the band has done before.
“It’s fresh, raw, emotional chaos,” he said in an interview. “Our drummer broke his arm and it gave us more time to write in a different fashion.”
As he shuffled to his next stop on the trip – the White House – the singer said the unique performance was just as entertaining for him as it was for the students skipping class to hear the acoustic set.
“It was great, a lot of fun,” Pierre said.
Many of those students who attended said the seemingly spontaneous concert was a welcome surprise for a regular school day.
“I’ve never seen a major artist play here,” said freshman Mohao Xi. “It was like an open mike.”