Jack Harlow - 2022 Movin’ On Performance Review

posted May 1, 2022 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Sophia D’Ovidio

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State’s music festival Movin’ On was able to get one of the biggest new names in music for their return after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jack Harlow is one of the biggest newcomers in the music scene right now. From his feature on the Lil Nas X smash hit “INDUSTRY BABY” to his recent chart-topper “First Class,” Harlow is finding remarkable success.

Movin’ On was able to snag Harlow as their headliner, and it was clear that Penn Staters were excited to see the rapper. Friday night, his name was chanted throughout the crowd while waiting for him to take the stage.

The crowd had impressive energy before Harlow came out. His opener DJ Drummer helped boost the energy, so everyone was extra excited about the performance.

Harlow opened his set with his single “Nail Tech,” coming out to a lively crowd.

For a younger artist, Harlow has an impressive natural stage presence. He is comfortable performing in front of crowds, even one as big as the one at Movin’ On.

The charisma Harlow is known for from interviews, and fans encounters translated excellently on stage. It was clear he was having fun with the crowd. He told the audience how this had been the best energy at a performance yet.

However, Harlow is still a noticeably green artist. Performers don’t have as much input on set design when performing at a festival, but backup dancers or better visuals could’ve enhanced Harlow’s performance.

Along with this, Harlow doesn’t have many hits, given that he is a recent breakthrough star. Many of his songs gained popularity on the internet, notably on TikTok.

This was painfully obvious at points during the set-list where the crowd knew every word to one part of the song but quieted down at the next. This sudden back and forth between a lively audience and a relatively lame one was somewhat off-putting.

Harlow’s set was also rather short, coming up just shy of 30 minutes. It was weird that this set was short, considering Harlow didn’t perform his big hits in total.

Highlights of the performance included Harlow rapping his verse from “INDUSTRY BABY,” one of the biggest songs of 2021. Even though this track has suffered a bit from being oversaturated in the media, it was cool to sing along to this song in a crowd so big.

It was clear Harlow had a lot of fun performing, especially when the crowd was reciprocating his passion. After Harlow did “INDUSTRY BABY,” he had the crowd sing it back to him without the instrumental backing, which was a genuinely extraordinary experience to have post-pandemic (kind of).

Other memorable songs included renditions of “What’s Poppin,’” “Tyler Herro,” “Already Best Friends” and of course, Harlow’s recent number one hit “First Class.”

Unsurprisingly, Harlow ended the night with “First-Class,” which has commercial success and is a trendy sound on Tik Tok right now.

Overall, it will be exciting to see Harlow continue to grow as a performer. As he becomes more acclimated to big crowds with more hits and creative control, he could transform into a notable performer.

It was compelling to watch a performer seemingly on the brink of a massive career. This was a brilliant artist for Movin’ On to get to headline.

However, with his small and not significantly popular discography, there were points in the set that dragged on. This is especially annoying in an under 30-minute set.

The first Movin’ On post-lockdown was one for the books, and Harlow did help hype the Penn State crowd up and had a memorable return.

Rating: 3/5

Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year majoring in communications. To contact her, email sgd5184@psu.edu.