The past few days have been laden with sadness for many in the greater Wesleyan community. Over the weekend, news of the passing of Claire Randall ’12 came to us and the rest of the Wesleyan community. Claire lost her life in an act of gun violence last Thursday. Rather than repost details of her death, we wanted to include a few things to remember her by.
Claire grew up in Rhode Island where she attended Mt. Hope High School. She was valedictorian of her high school class and graduated from Wesleyan with a major in Music, focusing in ethnomusicology and jazz studies. At Wes, she was a member of New Group and she starred in a mockumentary web series called WANNABES. During her time at Wes, she was also part of a 14-piece band called Mad Wow. After graduation, she joined alumni artists Jess Best [’14] and Trot Fox as a vocalist. She also worked in New York City for Resonant Motion, a nonprofit that focused on facilitating the creation of music that “has a profound capacity to inspire people towards personal growth, strength and transformation and to and educate people about issues important to their world.”
Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of knowing Claire, but I truly wish I had. Here are a few things Claire gave to the world in her short time here:
That’s a boring headline, but this year’s first showcase of student talent is The MASH, which brings 19 student bands, one faculty band, and one alumni band together to grace Wesleyan’s campus with their sweet tunes all afternoon this Friday.
UPDATE 9/11/15: The MASH is now INDOORS for the first time ever because this rain is the worst. The Olin stage is now in the first floor of Usdan. The CFA stage is now in Crowell Concert Hall. The North College stage is now in the ’92 Theater. The main stage on Foss is now also in Crowell. Can you mosh in Crowell?? Only time will tell. The post below is updated with how the schedule was at 3 a.m. this morning.
A couple weeks ago, I told you about what the music scene here is like. Tomorrow, you get to ~experience it,~ this time courtesy of the Center for the Arts. The fourth annual MASH is tomorrow, Sept. 11, from 2-7:30 p.m. 19 student bands, one faculty/admin band, and one very special alumni band are holding down the all-day festival this year. So now, instead of just roasting outside tomorrow afternoon, you can roast outside while listening to some cool music.
For the first three hours, there are three stages — one in front of Olin Memorial Library, one on the North College Lawn, and one in the CFA. For these three hours, you will have to choose where you want to go. After that’s done, everyone migrates to the main stage at the foot of Foss Hill, where Smokin’ Lillies, 5 Guys, Chef, and The Rooks close out the night.
The Rooks are performing back at Wesleyan tonight! Come check them out at Alpha Delta Phi. Doors open at 9:15, and Wes bands Sky Bars and Don Froot will be opening. It’s rumored that the Spirits will make an appearance as well.
Entry is free but space is limited so show up early to make sure you get in!
Where: Alpha Delta Phi, living room Date: Tonight, Friday Nov. 8 When: Doors open 9:15 9:30 – 10PM Don Froot
10:15 – 11PM Sky Bars
11:15 – 12:15 The Rooks Cost: Free
Dear Wesleyan, I have a confession. I haven’t been as involved with the music scene as I would have liked. It’s not that I didn’t know about when concerts were happening – I lived across the street from Eclectic for two years – I just never got in the habit of incorporating “go to [insert band name here] concert” into my Friday and Saturday night schedules. But if there was ever an exception, and there is always an exception, it was for the soul-grabbing, dance-inducing, heart-pumping rhythms of The Rooks.
Seeing as my concert track record is so poor, it’s a miracle I went to a Rooks concert in the first place, but after I did, I never missed a performance. So imagine my sadness when, eventually, all the band members graduated, and The Rooks migrated elsewhere, performing their music in a place with far too long a commute for me to attend.
But then, a miracle! I was up at Middlebury, visiting my sister with my dad for her parent’s weekend. We were looking over the schedule of events for families, and I saw a concert listing for “The Rooks”. At first, I was incredulous. Could this be the Wesleyan Rooks? Was I just so desperate for their music that I was hallucinating phantom shows? Either way, I had to see for myself. My sister gave me directions to the Middlebury version of Usdan as she prepared for a party, and I made my way across campus, guided the final few meters by a musical sound that couldn’t be anything except what I wanted it to be.
“I don’t think we would have the same chance in this city if we went to any other school or formed in any other way. It had to be Wesleyan.”
Forget MGMT. Amanda Who? Das What? Wesleyan’s biggest hype band is The Rooks, a six-piece R&B/indie-soul band made up of a group of friends and members of the Classes of 2011 and 2012. The majority of them have settled in New York City after graduating, and since then, the band has released a handful of singles and now – finally – their debut studio EP, Something You Can Take. The album, now on Bandcamp for your free download enjoyment, is a must-hear for anyone who has a taste for classic rhythm and blues, hip-hop, indie rock, or really has ears at all. And, if you’re in the NYC area this Friday, June 21, The Rooks will be playing Fat Baby at 10 PM, so you can experience them live.
I had the opportunity to sit down for a Google Hangout with The Rooks frontman/lead singer Garth Taylor ’12 and drummer Nate Mondschein ’12 to talk about their new album, the forming of the band, the support of the Wesleyan community, and the difficulties of labeling a music style.
Ahoy! It’s been a good while since we’ve last heard of the long lost band The Rooks since they left Wes to the real world AKA “beyond the outer-rim,” but dry your eyes, don’t you cry, I come bearing good news and sugar treats! Above is a brand new video the Rooks released on New Years to reflect on 2012. It’s a Stevie Wonder medley the band performed at their live show in the ’92 in April, and it features the Mad Wow horn section and guests vocalists Claire Randall and Bridget Read.
The Rooks’ own Garth Taylor ’12, who says the Rooks will be releasing more material from that show in the coming months, comes bearing word:
We’ve performed pretty steadily in New York since we left M-town in May. We opened up for Talib Kweli at the Highline Ballroom in September, which was a total blast, and performed at the Bitter End and other NY hot spots. Gabe Gordon ’11 (keys) and I actually took a day trip today to perform an acoustic-y set at Midnight on Main, and took a little stroll around College Row. Our last live full band show was in October—we took three months off to prepare new material for an EP we’re going to be recording in January.
People, get ready! Not only is there a Mel & Josh living room show planned for this weekend, but it’s gonna get electric! If your life hasn’t yet been touched with this duo’s incredible tunes, make sure to check out their bandcamp and don’t miss this show! Mel Hsu ’13has a little something to say:
Word on the street is that Josh Smith ’11 and some of The Rooks are coming back to Wes on Saturday to play a Mel & Josh living room show with a special guest set from Bay Area band DRMS! We are incredibly excited to play songs off of our recently-released album: “Analogue.” This will be our first intimately electric show at Wes with a full band. We’ll be rocking songs from Analogue, some older favorites, and some new songs as well.
We will be joined by our good friends Jessica Best ’14, Tory Mathieson ’14, Yatta Zoker’14, Gabe Gordon ’11, Louis Russo ’11 and Nate Mondschein ’12.
It seems like only a few months since playwright and In The Heights creator Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 was last on campus, tweeting his every move up and down College Row. Last night, Miranda made his way to the Rooks’ Eclectic show and had this to say:
He also brilliantly references “Party on Fountain” in #hashtag form (and as if referencing “Party on Fountain” isn’t Wesleyan enough, he also quotes MGMT):
This morning, Miranda continues live-tweeting his escapades on Foss (“Listening to a cocktail of MGMT, Das Racist & Professor Neon on Foss Hill”), at Athenian Diner (“won these in the claw machine at Athenian”), and in the Chapel, where he will speak at noon at the Wesleyan Assembly and Alumni Association Annual Meeting (and where he claims to be writing his speech right now). He urges you to attend:
Taylor: “We’ll definitely come back some time in the future, but when we do none of us will be students.”
The Rooks: rookies no more, eh? Vocal-savvy frontman and campus friend-at-large Garth Taylor ’12 sends word of one last time to support your local funk band:
As for the Eclectic show, it’s listed in the Reunion & Commencement Events as “Eclectic Party Featuring The Rooks.” The whole party goes from 10 PM to 2 AM. There will be a “cash bar” where ID is required. We will go on when things start to jump off around 11:30PM, we hear there will be an awesome DJ before and after our hour-long set. We’ll be performing a lot of the material we performed at our shows in the ’92 so if anyone missed that, they can get acquainted with our new songs.
This may well be the Rooks’ last show as students, so act fast. For more on the band, click here, here, or here.
Date: Friday, May 25 Time: 10:00 pm – 2:00 am Place: Eclectic Cost: Cash Bar
It’s that time again, friends. Music, Marshmallows, Chocolate, Graham Crackers, S’mores, Redundancy—we’ll have it all this Thursday.
The bands Men With Bad Manners and The Rooks each will be playing a set while you get your s’mores on and hang out with your friends. The event is free, including the raffle to win some delectable prizes. So what are you doing this Thursday? Charring some marshmallow fluff and rocking out—that’s what.