The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


Winterfest 2024: Ricky Montgomery’s Private Concert Before Heading to Terminal 5

Prior to Montgomery’s performance, Fordham students performed in front of their fellow Rams
Live at Pope Auditorium, FCLC’s 11th annual Winterfest captivated the crowd with performances by singer-songwriter Renee Majé, rock band Zephyr, and indie sensation Ricky Montgomery.

Amid spring semester cabin fever, Lincoln Center’s Campus Activities Board hosted its 11th annual Winterfest on Friday, Jan. 26 in Pope Auditorium. While the auditorium’s wood paneling and clinical interior could have dissuaded attendance, this year’s festival-goers queued as early as an hour before doors opened at 5 p.m. to see the headliner and American singer-songwriter Ricky Montgomery.

Prior to Montgomery’s performance, 2024’s Winterfest featured a lineup of talented artists, including the multi-genre superstar and singer-songwriter Renee Majé, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’25, the heavy rock band Zephyr. From soul-stirring melodies to arousing rhythms, Winterfest offered a mesmerizing blend of musical styles that captivated the audience and created an atmosphere of pure musical magic. 

While the audience sported baggy jeans, corset tops, retro sneakers and thrifted flannels, the fashion sense and atmosphere — thanks to the beach balls being passed around and the audience’s palpable anticipation — can leave someone to imagine themselves on a knitted picnic blanket at Woodstock ’69 rather than the blissless auditorium.

As the lights dimmed and the stage came to life, Majé took center stage, ready to captivate the audience with her soulful vocals and heartfelt lyrics. Born and raised in the Bronx, Majé is an up-and-coming singer with a voice that is both soothing and powerful. Though Majé’s confidence with the mic and natural guitar ability were apparent, she said the experience was “nerve-wracking.” Majé added that she had “butterflies, but everyone was so nice. And the crowd was very responsive.”

Majé’s setlist included three covers and two original songs, each with a flair showcasing her musical talent and versatility. Her unique styling of Lianne La Havas’ “Weird Fishes” was an enchanting affair of guitar and alto tones. With each note, Majé drew the audience into her world, creating a mesmerizing concert-going experience that set the stage for the rest of the evening. Standing on the shoulders of industry giants and her inspirations such as Willow, Tyler, The Creator and Erykah Badu, Majé was a powerhouse not to be reckoned with.

Following Majé’s performance, the stage was set ablaze by the energetic sounds of Zephyr, a rock band based in the Bronx known for their potent musical style reminiscent of iconic bands like Led Zeppelin and Sonic Youth. Sebastian Diaz, Fordham College at Rose Hill ’24, the drummer; Brenda Bouvier, FCLC ’25, the bassist; and Aidan Concannon, FCLC ’25, the guitarist and vocal lead make up the group. With their electrifying guitar riffs, repetitive, yet memorable, lyrics and pulsating rhythms, Zephyr kept the crowd on their feet and ready to rock. Many in the crowd were familiar with the new band from their appearances at house parties in the Bronx.

Montgomery wasted no time in captivating the audience with his infectious energy and dynamic performance style.

One highlight of Zephyr’s set was the performance of their original song “The Color Blue,” a captivating and euphonic journey that underscores the band’s musical prowess. As they rocked the stage, Zephyr was the perfect addition to the Winterfest lineup, delivering a jolting performance that left the audience craving more. The members exited stage right with the roar of the audience at their backs and armors of sweat to show for their performance.

Jackie Kobeski, FCRH ’24, said, “Renee was amazing. It was really cool to see multiple Fordham students opening the show, especially because I might not have gotten the chance to see them perform otherwise.” 

Rams erupted into cheers and applause as the headliner, Montgomery, took the stage ready to deliver a performance that would leave a lasting impression. He began their set with Kyle Moore on the guitar and David Cola on the drums. Known for their catchy melodies, introspective lyrics and charismatic stage presence, Montgomery wasted no time in captivating the audience with his infectious energy and dynamic performance style. 

Winterfest served as a unifying force, bringing together Rose Hill and Lincoln Center students to celebrate their shared love of music.

Though their name was not on the original Winterfest voting ballot, Montgomery drew in a new crowd to Winterfest who might’ve opted out in previous years. Hannah Devlin, FCRH ’24, said that she “knew a few Ricky Montgomery songs from TikTok.” Devlin added that, “I didn’t know what to expect going into it since I’ve never been to one before, but I thought that he was great on stage! He had a lot of energy, and it was really fun even though I didn’t know every song.” Devlin’s experience was similar to many of the audience members’. While several attendees could not sing the verses to Montgomery’s latest single and his first ever live performance of “It’s Ok to Cry,” they moved in a perspiring wave as the opening notes to “My Heart Is Buried In Venice” rang out, pushing to get a view of the animated singer.

Montgomery treated the crowd to a selection of his well-known hits, including “Line Without a Hook” and “Black Fins,” each delivered with a passion and intensity that had the audience excitedly singing and dancing along. One of the standout moments of Montgomery’s performance was their rendition of “I Don’t Love You Anymore,” during which he playfully changed the lyrics to pay homage to Fordham, much to the delight of the crowd, singing: “Maybe I’ll go back to Fordham / Maybe I’ll go back to school.” Though his set was roughly an hour, his stamina persevered. Montgomery paced the stage, jumping emphatically and encouraging the audience to do the same. 

As the night drew to a close, Montgomery and his band delivered a powerhouse finale with three crowd-pleasing songs that he claimed “were tested by MIT as the Holy Trinity of songs to end a show.” From the energetic “Out Like a Light” to the heartfelt “This December” and “Mr Loverman,” Montgomery’s performance was a testament to his musical talent and infectious spirit that energizes a crowd.

Beyond the captivating performances and thrilling energy that crescendoed in Pope Auditorium, Winterfest served as a unifying force, bringing together Rose Hill and Lincoln Center students to celebrate their shared love of music. The event provided a unique opportunity for the student body to bond and create lasting memories that will be cherished thanks to the bring-your-own-phone photobooth. 

Winterfest is more than just a concert; it’s a celebration of music, friendship and the vibrant spirit of the Fordham community. The show-stopping openers, Majé and Zephyr, helped to make this Winterfest one to rival for years to come. 

One day, we’ll look back on Winterfest 2024 not for its cold Friday night, five-dollar tickets or Aramark pink lemonade, but instead for the birth of Fordham musical genius: Majé’s melodic magic and Zephyr’s sublime acoustics. Montgomery and his band held their own, mesmerizing the audience with a priceless performance. 

While Montgomery is going on to play at Terminal 5 later this month, his performance at Winterfest was an unforgettable private concert — a serenading session — for students.

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About the Contributors
CHAISE JONES, Staff Writer
OWAMI MASIYANDIMA-MLOTSHWA, Former Assistant Photo Editor

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