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Jeremy Zucker headlines second-ever Moody X-Fest

Solomon Ni / Thresher

By James Cancelarich     4/21/24 11:41pm

Jeremy Zucker headlined Rice’s second annual Moody X-Fest in Founder’s Court on April 19. In advance of Zucker’s set, student groups like Basmati Beats, Rice Philharmonic and BASYK performed. The festival also offered complimentary merchandise and food from Dripped Birra, Cane’s and Oh my Gogi.

Students said they appreciated this year’s outdoor venue — last year’s X-Fest was held in Tudor Fieldhouse due to inclement weather — and expanded food options. 

The event celebrates the Moody Foundation’s $100 million dollar gift to Rice, which will fund construction of the new student center and support undergraduate extracurricular activities. Moody X-Fest is a part of inquiry week, which highlights research, design and creative works at Rice.

Lana Nguyen, who performed with Rice Lions, the lion-dancing team and one of X-Fest’s featured student groups, said that they were excited to interact with the audience. The Rice Philharmonic performed a cappella renditions of popular songs, including Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” and Hozier’s “Too Sweet.” It was the second year they had performed at X-Fest, and singer Taylor Stowers said she appreciated the crowd’s energy.

“It was so fun,” Stowers, a Duncan College junior, said. “The energy of the crowd was fantastic. Even at soundcheck earlier, the fact that we worked with professional equipment in there, we feel that this is a real, actual performance. We had to step up our game a little bit, but it was a really positive way.”

Zucker took the X-Fest stage at 8:30 p.m.“Who wants to cry?” he asked at the beginning of his hour-long performance, before launching into a setlist that included popular songs like “comethru,” “all the kids are depressed” and “talk is overrated.”

X-Fest was open to both undergraduate and graduate students, and Ph.D student Sandro Serpone said that he was glad that he came.

“It’s been a great event so far, the music is good, the food has been good, the environment and the atmosphere,” Serpone said.

Nithya Ramcharan, a Lovett College junior, said she wasn’t familiar with Zucker’s music prior to the concert, but understands his appeal.

“I thought it was really incredible, it was a really nice atmosphere overall and I loved how the community was brought together,” Ramcharan said. “I think he was a really good choice, because I do know he is popular among a lot of Rice students, so I think he was popular enough for there to be a good ambiance. I think he appeals a lot to college students, being a relatively young person too.”

Towards the end of his set, Zucker paused from singing to talk about his own time in college. 

“Many years ago, I majored in molecular biology,” he said. “Where the science people at?” The crowd answered with a collective scream.

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