Western University’s class of 2021 ended O-Week in its traditional fashion, sitting atop University College Hill Saturday night. But unlike opening ceremonies, floormates sat a little closer together. They now shared inside jokes and could make out familiar faces in the crowd. After a week of orientation, this year’s frosh seem ready to call Western their home.
O-Week also wrapped up with a bang. Student anticipation for O-Week headliner Marianas Trench was high, and before the Canadian pop punk band took the stage, students shared stories of their own memories listening to the band years ago.
First-year business student Kurtis Hackett said Marianas Trench was his favourite band in grade eight. “I haven’t listened to them since, but I spent the entire weekend looking up what they’ve been doing since, and I’m super excited,” he said before the show.
For others, seeing Marianas Trench was a long-held dream.
Fourth-year criminology student and social science soph, Peri Brosemer, waved a sign that read: “Can I come on stage, I’m your #1 fan.”
“It’s only my second time sophing, but I literally have been waiting for four years to see Marianas Trench,” Brosemer said. “When I found out they were coming, I was so excited.”
Brosemer said she even got a tattoo for the band and she had been trying to see if orientation staff would let her go onstage to meet them.
Just before 10 p.m. lights erupted from the stage and Marianas Trench arrived, opening with "Astoria".
Among the mass of bodies that piled around the stage, Brosemer’s sign caught lead vocalist Josh Ramsay's eye. To Brosemer's delight, he invited her to come up on stage with three friends. She performed the social science soph dance to "Celebrity Status" while taking snaps with the band.
“It was probably one of the best fourth-year experiences I could have,” Brosemer said afterwards.
But O-Week's closing night wasn't all Canadian pop punk music. Before Marianas Trench took the stage, closing ceremonies finished with a Western Charity video, using students' own statements to hit home the importance of community service and gratitude.
While Western Charity’s message was lost on some — many students took it as a chance to leave UC Hill before the upcoming concerts — Marianas Trench opener Wild Rivers brought back the audience. The indie-folk quartet from Toronto turned out to be a highlight.
“I’ve never heard them in my life but they’re really good, and I’m actually happy I came early,” said first-year student Kurtis Hackett.
Mathew Felato, a King's University College student, also heard the band for the first time and was impressed. "I really enjoy their music: it’s a chill vibe,” he said.
Wild Rivers was vocal about wanting to “slow things down” with a love song, and invited anyone in the audience who had fallen in love during O-Week to share in a slow-dance. As testament to the close bonds that grow out of O-Week, some sophs obliged.
The second opener, Kasador, brought the crowd's energy back up. The five-person indie rock band brought powerful vocals to the stage. Of the band's mix of original tracks, "Talk About It" was particularly impressive with vocalist Cam Wyatt dominating spikes in pitch.
In tune with the theme of the night, Kasador finished off with "Never Alone", a song meant to inspire camaraderie.
“The people around you now are gonna be there for you for the next four years,” they reminded the crowd.
There was a sense of closeness on UC Hill brought on by something more than chilly bodies seeking warmth and a good view of the stage. O-Week brought frosh together as strangers and was now sending them off to excel in their first year as family.