“If you’re gonna talk during the songs instead of enjoying yourself, go outside.”
How To Dress Well’s performance at Eclectic on Saturday was not the best concert I’ve been to at Wesleyan, but it was one of the most memorable—and one of the most uncomfortable. It was one of the few times I’ve been embarrassed by an audience of Wesleyan students. It was also the first time I’ve seen a performer politely ask more than half of his audience to leave. Tom Krell’s request was ignored, and his performance was consequently hampered by loud, drunken chatter amongst much of his audience.
Let’s back up. The indie R&B maestro had three openers, and they ranged from a remix artist to a synthpop heartthrob to brooding, gorgeous post-rock. This was a packed bill. First up was pop-songs-on-Valium DJ Slolivia (Olivia Hauser ’14), whose aesthetic is pretty well captured by this YouTube clip of “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” Imagine the same treatment for “Call Me Maybe,” “Larger Than Life,” and a slew of other smash hits. You get the idea.
Eclectic’s ballroom was empty when Slolivia got started. By the time she exited, a moderate crowd had gathered for Bamenda, the ’80s-obsessed synthpop project of Lioness/Treasure Island hero Dema Paxton Fofang ’13, who made his live solo debut at the Prince Rama show last month.