Oregon State University, known as a research school, must have been working on a time machine when it put together DAMJAM 2019 because it’s filled with 2000s nostalgia — a simpler time. The annual music festival, organized by the OSU student body, features Akon, who was popular in the 2000s, and former member of boyband Dream Street and solo artist Jesse McCartney.
Akon’s records include Trouble (2004) and Konvicted (2006). Of course, he’s had other albums, but these two had the most success. Akon has collaborated with Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Flo Rida, Snoop Dogg and Young Jeezy, but he’s also used his fame and money to start Akon Lighting Africa — a nonprofit that aims to provide Africans with access to electricity.
Then there’s the boyband survivor McCartney. As a solo artist, McCartney hit the charts with “Beautiful Soul” from the album of the same name, released in 2004. It’s the kind of song that you’d hear on the Disney Channel back in the days of afterschool TV shows like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and That’s So Raven.
His latest release, “Wasted,” sure is catchy and follows the current trend of pop artists right now: layers of whistling, warm synth keyboard, reverb-rich guitar and danceable bass and drum beats. It’s what you’d expect to hear on a shopping high at H&M.
In the past, DAMJAM has featured artists like Mike Posner, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, OK Go, B.o.B. and T-Pain. These were artists popular at the time of their booking. With this year’s DAMJAM, it begs the question: How many OSU students were listening to Akon and McCartney in their prime?
DAMJAM 2019 is Friday, May 31. Doors open 6 pm, concert runs 8 to 11 pm at Reser Stadium in Corvallis. Tickets for the general public are $35.