What could be better than reminiscing about your favorite childhood songs? How about singing them with a crowd at the top of your lungs?
Last Saturday, my roommate and I headed downtown to the Showbox for Party 101. Hosted by Matt Bennett, best known for playing Robbie Shapiro on Nickelodeon’s Victorious, we experienced a night filled with our favorite music growing up. This included tracks from Disney Channel Original Movies—such as the High School Musical franchise, the Camp Rock franchise, and Lemonade Mouth—to childhood show theme songs, like Suite Life On Deck, Austin and Ally, Wizards of Waverly Place, Spongebob Squarepants, Fairly Odd Parents, Zoey 101, and iCarly.
Of course, the highlight of the night was getting to sing along to the Victorious soundtrack. Bennett played Victoria Justice’s most memorable songs: “Best Friend’s Brother,” “Freak the Freak Out,” “Beggin’ On Your Knees,” and, my personal favorite, “Take A Hint” with Elizabeth Gillies. Other songs included “Give It Up,” sung by Elizabeth Gillies and Ariana Grande, and the forever iconic “Chicago!” from Daniella Monet. Although the crowd’s energy was electric throughout, the experience of singing these songs with Matt Bennett himself raised that energy even more.
Although listening to throwbacks in this environment was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the most memorable moment was towards the end of the night, when Bennett talked to the crowd about his early experiences as an actor. He reflected on how his first noteworthy gig was doing an abstinence commercial, that his high school peers commented on consistently by calling him “muffin head” (a reference to said commercial). He also reflected on his role on Victorious and being known as “the puppet guy.” Bennett shared how he is, and always will be, “muffin head,” and “the puppet guy,” and also Matt Bennett, with the message that you can be whoever you want to be. I found this message to be quite inspiring: that we may have a multifaceted identity, yet we have agency over what that identity is.
This event is the perfect nostalgia trip for Gen Z, more than living up to the hype it gets on social media. There is something particularly special about songs from a simple, carefree time in your life. And to experience these songs with fellow 2000s kids, who hold these songs in their hearts the same way I do, created a type of camaraderie.
A special thanks to Showbox Presents for collaborating with Her Campus UW: giving our chapter the opportunity to attend and write about this event, and allowing us to conduct ticket giveaways for the UW community.