What really brings me to love Wes more than I would’ve any other school? What is the one thing that I brag most about to my friends at other horrible poop schools? Easy. The music scene. As a music major, I wanted nothing more than an environment where I knew I would be able to learn and grow in and Wesleyan has all of that. Whether the casual concert goer or the hardcore fan/stalker of Zack Kantor ’15, the Wesleyan Music scene will have something for all of you.
Now what makes our music scene so special? It’s because, once things really get into swing, every weekend usually has at least 2 concerts, at least one of those being an insane student band. To try and cover all of the student bands in this post would be extremely difficult, nigh impossible for my measly hands to write up all by myself. Luckily, we have our folks at Aural Wes to make sure that all of the student bands are numbered and accounted for. There you will be able to find Wesleyan’s official music blog detailing the musical happenings around campus as well as a dope listing of all the musical acts that cared enough to register themselves, which is a lot. Even so, my groggy 2:30 AM brain knows that the list is missing a few bands that played last year like New School, Robert Don, Sky Bars, Let’s Party Hats! Hats! Hats! (LPHHH), and Siren to name just a few, but like I said, that was because they were too lazy to add themselves.
Some info that I can give you (of course all of it being pretty subjective) is a quick run down on the music venues that are popular around Wes and what kind of stuff to expect when going there.
Generally what to expect is a DJ and a lot of dancing. Beta doesn’t deal with bands as much as other venues but when they do, it’s usually hip hop related. I only know this because The Freestyle Collective, an amorphous rap group for which I play (in the background) played there once. Other than that, I don’t frequent Beta enough to pass judgement on it’s musical qualities.
Much like Beta, there are sometimes dance parties at DKE (of which I cannot speak of due to inexperience). In terms of live bands, in the past, DKE has been known to host the explosive performances of the Top 40 Cover Band, which always get crazy…Always. DKE doesn’t always host concerts, but when they do, it’s guaranteed to be a sloppy fun fest!
More in my experience, Eclectic probably holds the most concerts of off campus musicians. In my time here, this has been the locale of some of my favorite concerts, including Delicate Steve, Big Freedia (what I can remember of the show…), and Purity Ring. The latter of which I was in the front row in a crowd of no more than 40 people. It was dope. Also, home to the great Awesome Fest.
Psi Upsilon (Psi U)
The good guys down at the good guy frat are always good at having good music and the ever entertaining weekly Thursday night soiree. A large part of their music shows, especially when we’re talking about bands brought from outside Wes, consist of underground and some above ground hip hop stars. Shows have spanned the likes of The Flatbush Zombies to Dead Prez. Of course, Psi U isn’t all rap and hip hop but in terms of the heavy hitting shows that stuck out to me, they definitely have a vocal bunch of hip hop heads in their roster.
Buddhist House (BuHo)
Buho has an interesting hippie sort of vibe. In my experience, the shows here have been soul and r&b, shoegaze-y rock, or experimental (see man smashing egg in his hand and letting it drip while reciting poetry(?)). My first personal experience with BuHo was a very strange show where I had no idea what was going on, and I met a man named Ofer who liked to experiment with “the concept of other people’s personal space.” Oh, to be a freshman again…
This seems to be the all around, anything goes type of venue. I’ve seen funk rock, rave DJs, soul, punk, and whatever else seems to need a space roll through here. If you don’t know the band, come expecting anything.
Music House (MuHo)
To me, MuHo always seems to be a venue that brings fun and challenging music. I’ve seen several hardcore bands play here (Bakshi, LPHHH, and Limbs Bin) as well as off beat rock bands like Featherwood Bee. MuHo’s tight space offers up a very cozy and intimate experience which allows for some interesting experimentation and dynamics.
As the guy who used to live in the room right above the cafe, I had no choice (as if I wouldn’t have gone anyways) but to go to every concert there. The Westco Cafe is home to the world famous raves as well as a host of many other bands. Frequently here, you’ll find bands like Jacco Gardner from out of town with student band openers. That seemed to me to be the trend anyways…These shows, more so than at other venues, will change more drastically due to who lives in Westco, so what the space will be used for now is anyone’s guess.
Earth House is awesome because it seems to carry with it a relaxed down to Earth (Waka waka) feel. Almost any band can come through here as long as they’re down for a comfy tight space, warm lights, and dope atmosphere. Not sure if it’s the place, but I feel like every concert that rolls through, no matter the band, instantly takes on a softer character and always interacts with the audience.
Senior Houses/Junior Village
Every now and then there will be concerts put on in different senior houses. Obviously these change depending on whose house (Run’s house) it is. The same can be said for Hi Rise and Lo Rise (AKA Junior Village). No real point in saying much except that there are parties and concerts there, so why not go?
Also, I would like to say that, yes, I realize how I am describing these places is totally subjective and carries no substantial weight. The words I’m using sometimes even confuse me and I can’t even fully grasp what I’m trying to get across, but tough titty. I’m not a paid writer. If I did not get to your favorite venue, put it in the comments. Maybe I forgot something?
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PNK @ DKE MUST RETURN THIS YEAR
The Memorial Chapel always serves as a great venue for concerts (as well as talks, musicals, plays, etc.) because its acoustics are pretty great for music that’s not punk (Christopher Owens played there last semester). You can also find music in the jazz/classical area at Crowell Concert Hall, and occasionally a really wonderful crossover artist (like the famous Hugh Masekela, who gave what I think was last year’s best performance) will stop by and fill up the place.
Various outdoor concerts can also be found at: The bottom of Foss Hill, the Usdan courtyard, the WestCo courtyard (Zonker Harris Day), the Butterfields courtyard (ButtStock), and pretty much anywhere you can fit a stage (look out for The Mash, which was just started last year. Hopefully it’ll happen again).
Freeman Athletic Center: Best venue on campus. Only venue with steam rooms, squash courts, and Olympic size pool.
DKE also hosted punk rock in the form of PNK @ DKE which was just as awesome as it was unexpected