Leaves of Green, photographed by Rachel Pincus ’13.
This happened last night at Earth House. The living room was as packed as it has ever been, and squished bodies erupted into moshing ones several times throughout the night, while people spilled out into the other two adjoining rooms, making for a full house throughout all three acts.
Blackbird & the Cherry Tree began the night with their bluesy soul-rolling tunes. Recently graduated songstress Mel Hsu ’13 cradled us with her cello, Jess Best ’14 with her keyboard and powerful voice, Sam Friedman ’13 on harmonica, and Mark Bennett ’13 on drums. The music contained elements of Hsu’s own collaborative work with Josh Smith ’11, with added soul elements.
They were followed by O Presidente, a San Francisco-by-way-of-Wesleyan based band, including Tobias Butler ’13, Andrew Zingg ’13, and Charlie Ellis ’13, who recently came out with their debut album, Club de Futebol. After WESU ranked them No. 2 in their top 30, CMJ “discovered” them, too. Audience members coined their sound “surf punk”, “a little bit of Clash”, or as someone else put it, just “fun-awesome.”
From Our Dear Leader Zach Schonfeld ’13:
Describing themselves as “a band with a penchant for falsetto,” Leaves of Green is a quartet of NYU students (two of whom hail from the bustling metropolis that is Chappaqua, NY). “Caving In” is a pretty solid indicator of their sonic depth, which ranges from ethereal post-rock to driving indie-rock to a thick, dramatic climax. And yes, there’s a falsetto. According to NYU Local (motto: “The Wesleying of NYU”) (not really), they’re great live, too.
O Presidente is a noo-wop / bro-fi / tropicália band based out of San Francisco and Wesleyan University. Last month, they released their debut full length album, Clube de Futebol, which tastemakers have called “an entertaining, rocking, and even sometimes crooning record” and “very, very good.” Check out their jock jamz at this link. According to esteemed musicologist Alexia Nazarian ’13, “O Presidente makes me want to get in a kiddie pool and splash around.” [Gabe recently wrote a review of O Presidente’s music, check it out at this link.]
Blackbird and the Cherry Tree is a collaboration between Jess Best ’14 and Mel Hsu ’13. With a cello holding down the bass and the keys building a bluesy core, the duo’s razor-sharp harmonies pull you into a place as sweet as it is wild. Sam Friedman ’13 and Mark Bennett ’13 often join them on stage to fill out the sound with dirty harmonica and hard-hitting drums. Although this band is all about groove, don’t expect to get too comfortable because the storm is never far off.
Two of these shows are happening tonight, so hurry up and run to both at the same time.
The first few days of the semester have already paid witness to one of the most notable musical double headers in recent institutional memory, and tonight showcases another: Brooklyn’s Widowspeak takes Eclectic while rap legends Dead Prez take the stage two doors down at Psi U. This time you probably can’t attend both (though I encourage you to try), but weep not: the coming weeks feature one of the more diverse, thrilling, and confusingly erratic musical options in a while, ranging from waffle-obsessed rap zombies to a critically embraced laptop cult genius to Ian “Actually Ian MacKaye” MacKaye. (Lecturing, not screaming.) And that’s only the tip of the Usdan iceberg lettuce station.
As always, scope out Aural Wes for a continually updated resource for all things aural and beyond at Wellesleyan College. AW’s own concert calendar can be found here. The below list is by no means exhaustive; think of it as a small smattering of the shows on campus over the next handful of weeks. I’ll continue to add to it as additional shows are confirmed and/or bitched about in the comments section.