Tag Archives: molly rocket and the crooks

Making Wesleyan’s Music Scene More Inclusive: An Interview with Molly Balsam ’14

“I want to be a rock star, straight-up.”

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Discussion has escalated recently about the gender imbalance in Wesleyan’s music scene. Although some female-powered bands have established a presence on campus, male-led bands still dominate the concerts here.  Ally Bernstein ’13’s guest post in April about the lack of women in the Spring Fling lineup tackled the issue head on, sparking lots of conversation and argument in the comments section. One student who chimed in was Molly Balsam ’14, lead vocalist of Molly Rocket and the Crooks, who noted that she plans to start a women’s music co-op this fall in an effort to make the scene more inclusive.

You might have been to one of her band’s shows this semester (of which there have been many) or heard about her plans for this co-op—either way, Balsam has been making a name for herself on campus lately. Wesleying caught up with her for an interview about female empowerment in music, which is what the co-op (and her band) is all about.

How do you see this music co-op working?
I already have a bunch of female musicians I’m friendly with who are interested in helping me start this. What I want to do is get a rehearsal space, book it once or twice a week for three hours, have anyone come in that wants to. The first couple of sessions will be getting to know each other, getting to figure out who likes to play what, who does what, who’s interested in what, and jamming together.  And just starting a conversation, too, about how people feel about the music scene, why they might not be in it, why they might be in it, why they might be interested in being in it but not having the ability to be in it… you know, getting all that out there. Because I know how I feel, I don’t know how everyone else feels. I’m going to need to know that before I go too much further. But the ultimate goal would be to have female musicians be more of a presence on this campus. This is my somewhat solution. It’s not going to be a full solution—it’s just going to be a way to start attacking a solution.

So hopefully smaller projects will come out of this one collective?
Exactly. Ultimately, boys will, of course, be included. It’s not going to be, like, eight all-female bands emerging from here. My band is me and five boys and another girl. And that, obviously, is working for me, so I think it can work for other people, too. I just think that for starters it needs to come from this female unity.

Zonker Harris: A Belated Photo Celebration

The Babies

As savvy Wesleying readers and residents of the Foss Hill area will know, a bevy of bands played in the WestCo courtyard on a beautiful day last weekend, including The Babies, Happy Jawbone Family Band, O Presidente, Grand Cousin, Molly Rocket and the Crooks, Siren, Laundrette, Donfroot, and Jacob and the Masters. Happy Jawbone Family Band, who are from Brattleboro, Vermont, packed the perfect stage banter for the day, continually asking the crowd about Wesleyan’s reputation for “carnal experimentation” and whether everyone in the audience had done it. “Yes, sterilely,” responded someone in the crowd. The Babies introduced energetic pop-punk that kept the crowd energized through late-afternoon nodding.

In a parallel world on Foss Hill, baked goods were sold for Stethoscope Press and a sharp-minded and well-organized group of individuals engaged in political protests. However, this post is all about the music. Specifically, it’s about how I only caught The Babies, Happy Jawbone Family Band and Molly and the Rockets and spent the rest of the time wandering around, socializing, eating and jumping in a large bouncy tent outside of Usdan. There are, however, a bevy of photos resulting from these explorations. Lose yourself, find yourself, be proud of your participation in this politically important day. (If you’re not proud, feel free to contact me and I will remove any occurrences of your slack-jawed likeness. I won’t be offended.)

Girl#$wag Takes the Crown at Battle of the Bands, Will Open Spring Fling

Not pictured: Girl#$wag. Sorry.

Last night at Eclectic, seven Wesleyan bands kept the crowd raging and vibing for almost three straight hours. The bands performed in the following order: Girl#$wag, Molly Rocket and the Crooks, O Presidente, The Japanese, Robert’s Don, Grand Cousin, and Treasure Island.

Girl#$wag began the show at around 9:30 p.m. to a large crowd of fist-pumpers and ragers. A bit more mellow acts followed after, but still maintained a vibrant crowd throughout. I ran away from the mosh pits that formed during The Japanese’s performance.

After a slow but incredible performance from Robert’s Don, things took a turn as established campus acts Grand Cousin and Treasure Island got the crowd jumping for every second.

If you don’t know already, the winning band gets to perform as the opener for Spring Fling. The thirteen-some judges stayed for the entirety of the show and deliberated afterwards which band would take the prize. (Disclosure: This blogger was among them.) After considering many different criteria, such as which band would translate well outdoors, get people dancing, excite the crowd for the rest of the concert, and more, the judges, myself including, held a vote and Girl#$wag came out on top.

Rocket Power: Molly Rocket and the Crooks Boogie at 200 Church

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When I arrived home Saturday night after chowing down on some meatsicles and spring rolls at Lan Chi‘s soft opening, I realized that I was compelled to see a show. The night before, I had a religious experience at The Stepkids, Sidewalk Dave, and Featherwood Bee in the Chapel. Before that, late Thursday night, I was fortunate enough to see most of Delicate Steve’s set at Eclectic, where he blew minds and melted faces.

So, in order to keep my streak off seeing fabulous live music alive, I headed out to see Molly Rocket & The Crooks (Molly Balsam ’14, Lindsay Shapiro ’14, Ian Anderson ’14, Matt Gross ’15, Robby Caplan ’14, Henry Peterson ’14, Atticus Swartwood ’14) with openers Robert’s Don (Robert Don ’15, Matan Koplin-Green ’15, Dylan Awalt-Conley ’15). (Molly Rocket and The Crooks will be sharing a bill with The Taste and Grand Cousin at Psi U this Saturday at 10:30, Facebook event here.)

Robert’s Don, who also got the party started before Delicate Steve Thursday evening, warmed the crowd up with a surprising amount of groove juice emitted from just three members. Most notable was Koplin-Green’s head bobbing, which basically looked like this. I must say, I was a little distracted by a rather competitive game of billiards and missed most of Robert’s Don’s set, though I would advise against you doing that next time they perform. (For more of Robert Don’s music, click here.)

Molly Rocket & The Crooks and Robert’s Don @ 200 Church

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From Molly Balsam ’14:

Some of you have seen us once, and have been craving more ever since. Others have never seen us, and you don’t know what da fux you’re missing. But it’s officially official, MOLLY ROCKET & THE CROOKS ARE BACK! Come Rock Out. Come Dance. Come Bounce Your Faces Off. There might be free Taco Bell…

Molly Rocket & The Crooks is:

Molly Balsam ’14: Lead vocals and Piano
Lindsay Shapiro ’14: Back up vocals and harmonica
Ian Anderson ’14: Guitar
Matt Gross ’15: Guitar
Robby Caplan ’14: Bass
Henry Peterson ’14: Tenor Sax
Atticus Swartwood ’14: Drums