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2024 Grand Kerfuffle Recap: David Kushner is Mr. (Un)Forgettable

Budding singer/songwriter David Kushner graced the ASUU stage with sneak peaks from his first album debuting later this year. 
David+Kushner+performs+at+the+University+of+Utah+in+Salt+Lake+City+on+April+19%2C+2024.+%28Photo+by+Madeline+Van+Wagenen+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Madeline Van Wagenen
David Kushner performs at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on April 19, 2024. (Photo by Madeline Van Wagenen | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

The night began as a slow burn. The gates were opened and University of Utah students flooded into the free concert, gathering glow sticks and wristbands on their way. The students piled onto the Union Lawn, gathered around the stage. Electricity filled the air as they eagerly waited for the 2024 Grand Kerfuffle, presented by the ASUU, to begin. 

Opening Acts: Aijia and Jim & Sam

Just as the sun began to set, Aijia, the opening act, came barreling onto the stage in all of her checkerboard glory. She introduced herself with a catchy tune called “Arm Candy” which displayed her spunky and eccentric style. After she introduced and sang her second, more upbeat song about what it is like to “feel the possibilities of stuff” titled “Magic,” she brought the mood down into the realm of solemnity.

Her next four singles disclosed were of a more personal nature. “Forever Man” and “What Real Love Is” told tales of finding love and friendship, while “Recluse” and “Earn Your Love” had a hint of heartbreak sprinkled within their lyrics. She interrupted her regularly scheduled programming to pay tribute to a good friend of hers, Natasha Bedingfield, by singing a cover of her viral song “Unwritten” and then closed out her set with a ballad for the “burnt out college students trying to get through” entitled “Me Time.”

Aijia performs at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on April 19, 2023. (Photo by Madeline Van Wagenen | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Madeline Van Wagenen)

After a brief intermission, Jim and Sam, the husband and wife duo, entered the stage with a mesmerizing harmony. They began their set with the song “Let’s Jam” which was written for the people who were forced to stop doing what they love when the world shut down because of the pandemic. 

They then proceeded into a set of songs that each depicted a hardship that they had faced in their tenure of bandship and marriage. “Pull Over Now” was a song that they wrote to cope with internal arguments, while “Doctor Please” deals with a more visceral version of pain seen in loved ones’ suffering. The remainder of their set was far more upbeat and they concluded the opening acts with their song “Holy Water.

Jim and Sam perform at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on April 19, 2023. (Photo by Madeline Van Wagenen | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Madeline Van Wagenen)

 

The Main Event: David Kushner

Then the sky went dark. 

The glowsticks scattered amongst the crowd shined brighter and the air was filled with the sound of chanting: “David, David, David.” After what felt like a small eternity, David Kushner entered the arena with his hit song “Dead Man.” His voice is hypnotic, and the audience seemed instantly entranced.

His next two songs were set to remind the crowd where he started as he pulled from his first project “Footprints I Found.” He began with the song “Cigarettes” and then gracefully moved into “Mr. Forgettable.” Both of these sent shots of emotion flowing through his viewers. 

The moments that followed took the audience somewhere they never expected to go. As he announced that his next song of the night was to be “Sweet Oblivion” a look of confusion erupted amongst the students. He proceeded to disclose that it was one of five unreleased songs that he would sing that night, all of which were to appear on his first ever album that is to debut later this year. 

His next move was to engage the crowd by choosing a song that everyone could sing along to. This included “Skin and Bones,” a title that was released earlier this year and has become a viral sound on TikTok. This was followed by another blast from the past: “Burn” from “Footprints I Found.” 

The next section of his set was a gift: three more tracks from the upcoming debut: “Human Kind,” “You and Me” and “Darker Side.” This bundle of newbies was broken up by his new single “Hero,” premiering in May. It tells the tale of rejection through the eyes of the scorned in the most beautiful way.

In My Bones,” a collaboration with the electronic dance music producer Lost Frequencies, shook the stage next. It brought a brief respite to an otherwise somber set. 

“I like that one,” Kushner said. “It’s cool to have a track like that to break up all of the sad.”

To conclude the night, Kushner opted into a duology of his most popular hits. He sprung into “Miserable Man” after briefing the audience on his inspiration behind it, saying that he wrote it for the version of himself that felt stuck. 

​The last song of the night, “Daylight,”  followed suit. It has cracked open Kushner’s stardom and has quickly become his number one song, as it just recently hit one billion streams on Spotify. It catapulted his career into an entirely new dimension, granting him opportunities that he never would have happened upon without it. 

The air was suddenly quiet as the audience took in his remaining minutes on the stage, and just before the first note played Kushner said, “This song means the world to me.”

 

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@thornrosejayy

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About the Contributors
Jordan Thornblad
Jordan Thornblad, Arts Writer
(she/her) Jordan Nicole Thornblad is a junior at the University of Utah and is majoring in communications with an emphasis in journalism. She enjoys reading anything and everything that she can get her hands on from classic literature to the most recently viral young adult novels. She spends her free time watching Criminal Minds, wandering the aisles of thrift stores and vintage markets and reminiscing on her years as a competitive figure skater by spending nights at local ice rinks. She finds joy in building outfits and expressing herself through personal style which is why she hopes to take her love of writing and the experience she gains while working on the Chrony and turn them into a career in fashion journalism.
Madeline Van Wagenen
Madeline Van Wagenen, Photo Director
(she/her) Madeline Van Wagenen is an opinion writer and photographer at the Daily Utah Chronicle. She is a junior studying communications and Spanish. Madeline absolutely loves writing, photography and Billy Joel's entire discography. When she’s not working on projects for the Chrony, she can be found playing card games with friends or curating oddly specific Spotify playlists.

Comments (3)

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  • J

    Jordan ThornbladApr 24, 2024 at 10:18 pm

    Madeline! These pictures are SO good! Thank you for adding such a stellar element to this piece!

    Reply
  • M

    Matayah MorganApr 23, 2024 at 10:47 pm

    As a burnt out college student myself, I should listen to “Me Time.” This description really makes me wish I got to see David in his element! His voice is amazing!

    Reply
  • M

    MK WilliamsApr 23, 2024 at 8:41 pm

    Know so little about the artists but the review is intriguing and piques the interest. Would definitely want to catch a future performance!

    Reply