Fans packed The Liacouras Center on Friday night, excited to see 2023 Owlchella headliners G Herbo and Lil Yachty, but after an hours-long DJ set, attendees began to worry if the headliners would even perform.
“It was a really long time before anyone came out, I think everyone was getting overheated, people were just like, ‘What’s going on?’” said Naya Ng, a junior media studies and production major.
Later in the night, it was revealed that the “PTSD” artist would not be performing “due to unforeseen circumstances.” Students were frustrated at G Herbo’s absence, yet they enjoyed the performances from Lil Yachty and the live DJs, despite thinking that last year’s artists were stronger.
Doors for the concert opened at 6 p.m. and DJ Sam, winner of the Owlchella Student DJ Competition, opened the event with songs, like “AHHH HA” by Lil Durk, alongside DJ Si, who also performed at last year’s concert. The duo remixed songs and interacted with the crowd, inviting students onstage for dance competitions.
Kayle Stewart and her friends attended the show with minimal expectations from the opening DJ sets, but ended up enjoying them more than they anticipated.
“We kind of set the bar low, but it was fun,” said Stewart, a freshman accounting major.
The DJs continued to play for more than two hours until Lil Yachty opened his set with “the BLACK seminal,” a track from his latest album,“Let’s Start Here.” He also played hit songs like “iSpy” and “Minnesota.”
Joelle Delprete, a junior media studies and production major, felt that Lil Yachty’s performance lacked energy.
“I don’t want to like rate his performance as bad but I wouldn’t say it was great, I feel like he could have put more effort into it,” Delprete said.
During his set, Lil Yachty revealed that his fellow headliner, G Herbo, would not be performing at Owlchella, which disappointed many attendees.
“I was a little disappointed I gotta say I was expecting you know, to dance, I was ready, I was into it,” said Lydia Young, a freshman undeclared major.
Sydnee Emory, a junior art therapy major, was frustrated by the lack of communication during the show, as the Main Campus Program Board, which hosts Owlchella each year, did not inform attendees of the change in the lineup until the concert ended
After the show, MCPB posted a statement to their Instagram account explaining G Herbo’s absence.
“Thank you to everyone who came out to Owlchella tonight,” MCPB wrote. “Due to unforeseen circumstances, G Herbo was unable to perform. We were all excited to see him on stage and we extend our sincerest apologies for any disappointment this may have caused.”
Ng and her friends felt that both the lineup and performance did not compare to last year’s, which featured headliners Jack Harlow and Swae Lee.
“I feel like they had a really good stage presence, they were like really good with hyping up the crowd,” Ng said.
They also felt that Jack Harlow was more popular around the time of last year’s Owlchella, which contributed to the excitement around the event, Ng added.
During the week of Owlchella 2022, Jack Harlow’s “First Class” was ranked number one on the Billboard Hot 100 list. He had gained popularity for the song, which sampled “Glamorous” by Fergie, on social media platforms such as TikTok. Swae Lee is popular for songs like “Sunflower” and “ROXANNE.”
Despite G Herbo’s absence and not being familiar with the other artists prior to the show, Young still enjoyed the concert.
“I didn’t really know a lot of the songs but I enjoyed myself and it was like a nice vibe, it was good, it was energetic, it was fun,” Young said.