QuadWorks transformed Hawkins Arena into a concert hall studded with flashing multicolored lights, bass-boosted speakers and a beautifully embellished stage. The event showcased the local rock/blues band Charles Davis and the Velvet Sound and Macon-based rapper Bob Lennon; the featured artist of the night was viral rapper and singer Doechii.
DJ Kevin Nicholas kicked off Bearstock with a bang with music and desserts from local bakeries on Cruz Plaza. The excitement in the air was bubbling, with numerous students animated at the chance to see and listen to featured artist Doechii and a diverse lineup of music. "I'm so excited to see Doechii! I really hope she performs 'Persuasive' or 'Yucky Blucky Fruitcake' because those are definitely my favorites," Shruti Senthil '25 said. Ebube Ezepue '25 shared this sentiment, stating: "I loved her newest release 'What It Is' with Kodak Black. It was super catchy."
While Doechii's performance was long awaited by many students, artists like Bob Lennon offered a mix of rap and rock, announcing himself as a rap rockstar. "Earlier, I listened to some of Bob Lennon's music on Spotify and was surprised that he raps. To be honest, I thought he specialized more in country music," said Logan Baker '25.
Once the doors to the University Center opened, students ran to reach the best spots in front of the stage and take glowsticks sponsored by the Lofts.
Charles Davis and the Velvet Sound opened the event with various vibrant chords, pristine vocals and a magnetic baseline. The band covered a variety of artists and genres, including but not limited to, "Hard To Handle" by 1989 rock band The Black Crowes, "Don't Let Me Down" written by John Lennon of The Beatles, 1967 blues hit single "Soul Man" by Isaac Hayes and David Porter and "I Don't Trust Myself" by rock/pop singer and guitarist John Mayer.
The band ended the night with a tribute to guitarists James Worsham and Sean Williams and drummer Caleb Melvin. "Thank you guys so much for letting us perform; I wish we could take y'all everywhere with us!" lead vocalist Charles Davis said.
After a brief intermission, rapper Bob Lennon took the stage and performed songs from his newest album, "Bubble Gum Pop Sh*t," featuring a mixture of rap, rock and pop vocals. Lennon kept the show engaging: singing and dancing alongside a roller-skating woman. While much of Lennon's performance was fast-paced, he became more mellow and emotional towards the end, lamenting on toxicity and heartbreak in his life. "I just want y'all to know that I appreciate y'all and love y'all for being so engaged and hype," Lennon said.
The headliner of the night featured award-winning rapper Doechii, who immediately received claps and screams of excitement the moment she arrived on stage. Donning white flare pants and a multicolored swirl top, Doechii stunned the crowd with her killer vocals, hard-hitting dance moves and magnetic smile.
Students wanted to keep hearing more after being left mesmerized by her performance. Her first song "Girls" paid tribute to her life in New York trying to make ends meet. "This song is one I dedicate to all my girlfriends who helped me during those hard times," said Doechii.
While more high-energy songs like "B*tch I'm Nice," "Swamp B*tches" and "Crazy" featured stronger and louder vocals from the artist, songs like "Yucky Blucky Fruitcake," "Persuasive" and "What It Is" delivered more delicate and emotional verses.
To the surprise of many, Doechii invited a student to rap a few verses with her, immersing the crowd even further. Before her last performance, the artist mingled with the crowd, took pictures with students and high-fived them before returning. She finished the night with a final gesture to her fans, tossing autographed Bearstock shirts into the crowd.
Overall, the QuadWorks' 2023 Bearstock event proved to be a thrilling experience for many students. This year's lineup was well thought out, diverse and beautifully executed. Students have already begun to pitch ideas for next year's performing artists, and cannot wait to see what is in store.
Priyanka Yagneswaran ’25 is a Neuroscience and Piano Studies student at Mercer University. As the Arts and Culture editor, she covers and coordinates reporting on different cultural events happening in Macon and in the general art and music scene. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music and brewing espresso.