Sleigh Bells in Paris

I like music. A lot of people like music, true, but I do a lot with music at Bates through WRBC, Bates’ own student-run radio station. As you can imagine, I am one of those students that run it. I’m specifically the publicity director for WRBC, but we all help out on all sorts of aspects to help with upkeep and running of the station. So in addition to planning, publicizing and rocking out at cool concerts, I also get to spend two hours a week in the station broadcasting a live radio show. We are sent new music before it comes out, and have rooms upon rooms of CDs for all the DJs to check out. This is definitely something I’m missing while in Paris. Anyways, like I said, I like music. I tend to see as many concerts as possible– in high school, being so close to Boston made this very easy. I saw my fair share of awesome basement indie shows before I even turned 18. Since moving to Maine, though, there’s been a bunch of shows that my friends and I have deemed “worth it” enough to jump in a car and drive somewhere for a night. Those have been some of my favorite memories– Animal Collective in Boston (Freshman short term), Grizzly bear at Skidmore college (sophomore fall), Major Lazer and Rusko and DING DING Sleigh Bells in Cambridge (sophomore spring), to name a few.

Last spring I saw the male female duo Sleigh Bells perform twice– the first time, opening for Major Lazer in a tiny basement venue “the middle east” that I frequented in my high school days, and the second, when they opened for Yeasayer at the paradise. Therefore, it would be accurate to say that I am a fan of said musical act. They are LOUD they are UNAPOLOGETIC and just so COOL! It’s hard to put it into words, but if you ever get a chance to see them in concert, GO!!!

So, I got another chance to see them and concert. And what do you think I did? Obviously, I went. I convinced three of my friends from my program to come, but they weren’t as familiar with the band as I was, but very willing to check it out. Beforehand, we went out for burgers at Breakfast in America . And no, we don’t regret it. I got a milkshake!

And it was delicious.

The venue for the show was really cool– a little hard to find but cozy and intimate. My only complaint was that I hadn’t anticipated a lack of coat check. I ended up having to carry my big wool peacoat around the whole night. The openers were cool– knight riders, though we arrived in the middle of their set and weren’t paying much attention. Here’s a shot from their performance:

My photos from Sleigh Bells themselves came out fuzzier, not as clear. I attribute this to the fact that I was dancing my butt off, also perhaps because the entire room was in such an indescribable state of euphoria that it could not be captured accurately by the camera. In any case, what a great Tuesday night.

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The Hood Internet/the Knocks Concert

Last night, despite finals week LOOMING ahead of the Bates community, WRBC threw a sick concert– the last one of the semester. We brought the KNOCKS and the Hood Internet to ensure that dancing would be the main event of the evening– and oh boy it was.

We were all a little antsy, because all the performers were late arrivals, but in the end, there was time enough for everything. There was a limited capacity for the show, in the Benjamin Mays Center, and we could only sell 300 tickets. They only cost a buck, so ticket COST wasn’t a deterrent for people to come. However, about 10 minutes before doors opened at 9:30, there was a gigantic line snaking all down the paths outside, everyone trying to get their hands on a coveted wristband. I was not one of the board members designated to take money or apply wristbands, but I could easily observe how quickly the show sold out. You know what happened next? Kids went crazy trying to get into this show. They were sneaking in the windows in the bathroom, the loading door, all sorts of places… only once they got in and didn’t have a wristband they were immediately escorted out by our burly security guards. It made the show that much more special– everyone who was there REALLY wanted to be there.

I was SO EXCITED to dance, to let loose after a crazy semester full of work and as my last opportunity to get sweaty on the dance floor at Bates until next September.

As always, hanging out with the performers is a wonderful perk of putting on shows. The Knocks were super friendly and they really liked my hat, which was a freebie that my mom found in the depths of her office– an original “acme crimenet” baseball cap a la Where in the World is Carmen San Diego.

After the Hood Internet ended their amazing, long set, no one wanted to stop dancing. All that I’d promised in the numerous announce emails and facebook events — “a big, sweaty dance party”– had been accomplished. And that’s a great note to end on for WRBC this semester. We started off strong with Dr Dog, printed and sold awesome tees and tanks, rocked out on Trivia Night, and ended with this blow out of a show. Though I’m sad that this board will never be together again, with the juniors going abroad and then seniors graduating in the spring, I still love WRBC so so much and cannot wait for the wonderful things we will do next year.

TRIVIA NIGHT 2010.5

WRBC, the student radio station, puts on many events throughout the course of the year. Our most popular are often concerts, bringing smaller, unknown acts to Bates to rock out. We do, however, (and I say we because as the Publicity Director and a DJ for 5 consecutive semesters, I feel connected and responsible for the things WRBC does) have one annual event that doesn’t involve live music but is still one of the best nights at Bates– TRIVIA NIGHT.

These are the rules to trivia night, (I wrote these last year as one of my first tasks as a new board member) and last night when we were reading them on the air I had no problem taking credit for how clever and great they are, and I attributed this to the fact that I am an English major. Go english majors! We can write things!!

To participate in Trivia Night, you need a team. Said team can have as many people you want, but there are no limits. Tea…ms greater than seven are recommended. Also necessary: a knack for figuring out the obscure songs and trivia questions that WRBC throws at you. Each team is evaluated according to how many points they win. There are three ways to receive points:

1) Trivia: While tuning in to 91.5 FM all night, you will hear all sorts of songs, from pop hits to obscure chinese folk ballads, and each song has a corresponding trivia question. Using the special trivia night telephone number, call in (before the song ends!) and tell us the title of the song, the artist who is performing it, and the answer to the trivia question. Each of those answers are worth 1 point, so every song is an opportunity to get 3 points.

2) The real excitement begins with Physical Challenges. So maybe you didn’t know in which state it was illegal for mourners at a wake to eat more than three sandwiches? Well, luckily, you can earn more points through a random assortment of the physical challenge, which are announced on the hour, and then performed on the half hour at the WRBC studio. Winners of Physical Challenges are given 15 points, 2nd Place 10 points, and 3rd Place 5 points. These challenges are judged by a group of trivia night staff.

3) Make sure you’re paying attention, you don’t want to miss: Random points events. Because we’re nice people, sometimes points will be offered for certain requirements to be filled. These could really help you out, especially if you’re creative and listening carefully. So be on the look out!

At the end of all the many hours of radio, trivia, and challenges, each team must perform a skit assigned during the last hour of the broadcast. This final challenge holds a very high point value, so if you want to win, make sure you make it entertaining and ingenious.

Once all that’s happened, a winner is declared, prizes are awarded and it’s really early in the morning. WRBC officially recommends sleeping.

DOESN’T THAT SOUND LIKE FUN?? Well it is. However, when I woke up this past Tuesday with a terrible, debilitating cold, I was scared. I barely did anything except go to class Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; I stayed in bed and drank fluids and quietly focused on getting better. I had a ton of fun putting together my hour of music and trivia with my friend Katy; in our humble opinions, our hour, from 12-1 AM, was the best. Still, after all my best efforts of staying up all night, around 3:30 I was fading,  fast, and our general manager (aka head honcho) insisted it was a-okay that I bail. Our concert director walked me home in the eerie early morning snow, and while I felt terrible for not making it through the night, I knew that I needed to SLEEP if I am going to make it through until the end of the semester alive.

I did the whole night last year, so I know what I missed but I also definitely stand by my decision to choose sleep over three more hours of red bull and trivia. So I couldn’t stay up all night, but in general I try to avoid all-nighters, so it’s not the end of the world.

Hey Last Week of Classes? Bring it on. I’ve already taken a big bite out of the 44 pages of writing I have due by Friday. And after Friday? Exams Exams Exams. THEN WINTER BREAK!

THANKSGIVING BREAK AH

Okay, here it is. 2 AM Friday, the day Bates lets out for Thanksgiving break. Why am I awake you may ask? Well, my answer lies in a very clever man who died roughly 400 years ago: Shakespeare. I have a 10 page, evil, daunting Shakespeare paper due at 5pm– the Friday before break! It’s the last task I have to complete after what seems like a whirlwind couple of weeks. But of course, this paper isn’t the only thing I’ve had going on this week. So, I just now finished it. (don’t worry, mom, I will be editing it more tomorrow when my eyes are fresh!)

But can you blame me? There’s been so many great things going on this week! Like Harvest Dinner, where Commons is transformed into an autumnal banquet hall and students line up at 4 pm for gourmet thanksgiving-style meals. There’s a band, raffles, gelato, CHEESE PLATES!!! Everything you could want in life. And then just when your stomach literally is paralyzing you by how full it is, it’s time to walk next door to the grey cage, for dessert and the annual Trashion show, where students design and model fashions made from recycled material for awesome prizes. So there’s one excuse.

After Harvest Dinner, I caught the last Language Arts Live of the semester: Ander Monson. He writes all sorts of things: poetry, fiction, non-fiction. He read two poems and then an essay for us, and I really loved the way he read his work– at first I thought he had a slight southern drawl, until he told us he was from Michigan. He moved to the essay with the intention of “lightening things up.” The essay, called “Well That’s the One Thing We Got,” was written about a youtube video of a college a cappella group singing “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something. If you’ve read a few of my posts before, you might remember that I love a cappella. Almost to an unhealthy degree. So as he projected the video in question on a screen, and played the clip intermittently as he read, I got the shivers like I often do when I listen to good cheesy music. (Let’s make this more embarrassing with full disclosure: I call them my “glee chills” as a tribute to how often they occur while watching GLEE) He said the video was a 2007 performance of a group from UMass. Being from the fair state of Massachusetts, probably one tenth of the kids I went to high school go there. Including some of my friends. Including some of my friends who sing a cappella. Including one of my friends who sings a cappella in the group that was, at this moment, being projected on a small screen in Chase Hall to a room of 30 or so people laughing at the spectacle. So the moral of this story was that later I asked my friend if he knew that this story had been written, published, about this video of his group– if anyone in the group knew. They didn’t. There’s something almost voyeuristic that this story existed without them realizing. Inspired by merely a video on youtube, not even an extraordinary video,  watched over 200 times by this wonderfully quirky professor at University of Arizona… Weird.

While I tried to buckle down, again Thursday I was bombarded with all sorts of fun and interesting things to do!

During lunch, we sold our new WRBC t-shirts and tank tops for the first time. While we were worried how they would be received, we SOLD OUT by the end of dinner tonight. I was selling at lunch with my friend Ali and we were in awe of how much money was rolling in (which made us very happy– we had to front the money for the tshirts ourselves). I called our treasurer after lunch ended and said “Hey, i have $340 what should I do with it?” “$340?? From what? Why?? Huh??” “From tabling. It went really well.” “GREAT SUCCESS!!!” Or something along those lines…

The final little highlight of thursday evening was the 9:45 Harry Potter themed a cappella concert that packed Chase Lounge with people– some dressed in HP attire, as they were headed straight to the midnight movie afterwards. The Merimanders and the Deansmen performed, and looked the part, the Deansman wearing “dress robes” (their traditional tuxedos with CAPES!) and the Meris dressed like hogwarts students, complete with wands. They sang the theme of HP together, than each sang a few tunes. The Meris went above and beyond by changing the words of their songs to be Harry-appropriate.

Sadly, after that, it was paper time. It still is sort of paper time…

Dr Dog Concert

So… Dr Dog left me super euphoric but entirely worn out, both from the awesomeness of dancing my butt off as well as working the event from 10 AM-12 AM. So, I will present a photo!

Soudcheck, around 3 pm

A few hours later, after the sun went down, the grass filled with fans and a great time was had by all!

A choppy video:

Ronjstock, how I love thee

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of short term, one spent in the sun with free food, live music, and fun activities: Ronjstock. This annual outdoor event is put on my the Ronj, a student-run coffee house on campus. While the weather seemed a little sketchy for a while, it held for the entire day and students were able to mingle on the ronj’s lawn all afternoon enjoying the day.

Last year, this event was combined with another event as the Block party. Read my post about it here. Again, I have to admit, my favorite performer was Computer at Sea. He came back again this year! How sick is that! And, since I knew what to expect this year, I was not skeptical at all when he began creating music out of the craziest set up. When I say crazy, I mean really wild. Proof:


Photo by Brad Gee, May 15 2010.

I even got to chat with him afterwards! It was kind of a bummer because only about 8 or so people were brave enough to get dancing during his set. (Which, of course, means the other like hundred there at the time were staring at us like we were crazy…guess what? it was worth it).

Anyways, it was a lovely way to spend a short term Saturday. And my Sunday? Well, I have a sunburn and sand stuck in everything, so i obviously took advantage of Range Pond today! Finally. I’m so glad the weather is beginning to warm up, I’ve been waiting for it to do so for weeks!

Short term, concerts, hooray!

Short term is well underway, and I’m already finding my favorite things filling each of my days. I’m really enjoying my class, learning about the theories of Brecht on theater and reading plays etc. But, this past Monday I did something very quintessentially short term to me, and I wanted to share.

On Monday, i went down to Boston and joined a great Bates crew at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston to see Yeasayer. SO AMAZINGLY GOOD! My friend Meredith and I had bought tickets during first semester, so this concert had been something to look forward to for a long time. The opening band, Sleigh Bells, actually opened for Major Lazer when I saw them three weeks ago, so it was an extra special musical opportunity.

I had an amazing time! Yeasayer was so great, and they played a mix of their old stuff and their newest album, Odd Blood. The band has done a lot in the past year, and they’ve become pretty famous. Interestingly enough, WRBC brought Yeasayer to play a small show on a Thursday night in the fall of my freshman year. Their opener, Chairlift, was a nobody until the week before their performance when an ipod commercial aired featuring their song Bruises. Basically, it was another instance in which my dear and beloved Bates College radio station has been really on top of things when it comes to concerts. But it was really nice to see Yeasayer again, in a professional context at a real-life club, with half of the board of directors of WRBC there to nod along in agreement at the great booking from the year before.