Shwayze at William and Mary: A delightful existentialist experience or total garbage?


“Alright, this next song’s about f—— in the bathroom.”

Not that he shouldn’t have, but Shwayze came and did exactly what he was paid to do: provide 40 minutes of shallow ambience, all the while indirectly advocating the kind of mental health that comes from smoking a lot of weed and just havin’ a good time, man. In that sense, there must be at least a few worse ways to spend $20,000 of our money.

Revelers gyrated along to the beats, sang along to the lyrics they didn’t know, and in their enjoyment can be forgiven for missing the cognitive dissonance of it all. Indeed, Shwayze’s appearance Saturday night was the headliner of “Celebrate You Week,” a collaboration between the Student Assembly, the InterFraternity Council, AMP and Health Outreach Peer Advisors. According to the event’s Facebook page, the initiative was meant to “encourage healthy lifestyles among the student body and reinforce William and Mary’s community of support.” Ultimately, the loose, ill-defined intentions of the initiative translated into, among other things, free frozen yogurt at the Sadler Center and a Shwayze concert, two remarkably similar phenomena.

The performance was pretty much what you’d expect from a musician whose “related artists” list on Spotify includes Asher Roth and Chiddy Bang. A few of the songs registered as somewhat familiar to students who went to high school parties in 2009, but aside from that the music was secondary to the party.

“Turn up, William and Mary!” Shwayze screamed repeatedly as he affected a sort of soothing sonic lobotomy on all present. “Anybody shwasted out there?” he inquired, knowing everyone in the audience was; after all, they were at a Shwayze concert.

He affected a sort of soothing sonic lobotomy on all present.

This vibe floated over all assembled, not truly interesting anyone but providing a nice backdrop for drunken delirium and Sunday-morning regrets. As a meaningless prelude to fraternity parties, Shwayze was a success. As an advocate of physical and mental health on campus, Shwayze was… well, this is already a ridiculous sentence, let’s move on.

There were two ways to enjoy the performance Saturday night: either by drinking an “Irish car bomb” beforehand or by seeing it all as a sublime display of surrealist existentialism. Although most opted for the former, the latter was even more worthwhile. Through this lens, the event had immense explanatory power. The SA should be applauded for a groundbreaking piece of performance art that was all the more evocative for the $20,000 allocation under the “Mental Health Concert Act” that created it. It was bold and beautiful; worth every penny.

Shwayzefest 2k14 was not simply a concert. It’s the world we inhabit, the lives we lead, and, perhaps, we’re all just circling around the lights of the Lake Mataoka Amphitheater over and over again until the eventual heat death of the Shwayziverse.

Life’s one big Shwayze concert, and they’re taking donations for suicide prevention at the gate.