University Programs Council hosted a free concert Friday night at The Jefferson Theater on the Downtown Mall for students, featuring the popular yet slightly niche artist Still Woozy.
In order to secure a ticket for the event, students filled out a Google Form with their computing ID and their name. UPC stated that admission to the event would be contingent upon the capacity of the venue, urging students to arrive early to ensure that they were allowed inside. As guests streamed into the venue, they were greeted by UPC volunteers who checked student IDs and adorned wrists with bands for entrance into the concert.
The venue was packed from front to back with eager fans and non-fans alike — one can assume that most attendees were there for the free concert experience, though there were definitely a few dedicated Still Woozy fans strewn throughout the audience.
Sven Gamsky, the namesake behind Still Woozy, is an exceptionally talented artist and producer with a unique ear for creation. Over the last few years, he has garnered recognition for his quirky and groovy tunes that straddle the line between pop and indie rock, even working his way up to performing at large-scale festivals such as Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza in the past year. His dancing is lanky, his style is hipster and his presence is young — he announced to the crowd Friday that he is only 27 years old.
Still Woozy’s music can be described as magical or even dreamy — each song is an arrangement of soft vocals coupled with a fun array of instruments. Although Still Woozy is primarily a solo artist, he was joined on stage by a few other instrumentalists to supplement his performance.
On paper, Still Woozy’s concert should have exuded the laid-back, relaxed and easy-going vibe that his music encapsulates. However, it seemed as though the artist viewed his audience of college-aged students to be much younger than they actually were. At times, it felt as if the juvenile commentary Still Woozy made between songs was fit for a kids’ TV show or a pre-teen heavy Hoodie Allen concert. He haphazardly attempted to connect with the audience by having them repeat series of expletives he aggressively exclaimed into the microphone. The exercise was seemingly to incite excitement or fire up the crowd, although it was unclear as to how this had any connection to the music he was playing.
His antics would not have felt so out of place if his music or presence was similarly vulgar, but it isn’t at all — in fact, it’s quite the opposite. His commentary and dance moves came off as a disingenuous attempt to appear edgy and resulted in an inconsistency with both his genre and the audience’s expectations for his performance. Although the quality of the music did not suffer from his hyper-charged stage presence, the general atmosphere of the concert did.
Despite shortcomings with his stage presence, Still Woozy delivered a quality musical performance that provided the audience with the chill vibes they expected. He performed for about an hour, singing both crowd favorites and a few lesser known songs. “Lava” and “Habit” from his 2019 “Lately EP” and 2017 singles “Cooks” and “Goodie Bag” stood out as crowd-pleasing gems. His voice was smooth and soothing with each song, and his instrumental prowess was evident in his skillful guitar playing.
Still Woozy’s ability to combine his synthetically produced beats with his live instrumental presence deserves commendation. In addition to his original music, Still Woozy surprised the crowd with two covers—Jeremih’s 2015 track “Oui” and Mac DeMarco’s “Still Beating” (2017). He adeptly added his own spin to each of them, successfully rallying the audience to sing along.
By creating a rigid ambience that was inconsistent with the dreamlike tone of his music, Still Woozy gave off the impression that he thought that college students only admired messages promoting curse words and partying, which is disappointingly far from the case. He seemed as though he was trying to compensate for something, even though the audience would have appreciated him and his endearingly innate awkwardness for what it was. If his commentary was as soft spoken and sweet as his lyrics, the concert would have been flawless. Despite the many cringey moments, however, Still Woozy’s musical talent was enough to make the experience entertaining overall.