“So play your favorite cover song, especially if the words are wrong ‘Cause even if your grades are bad, it doesn’t mean you’re failing”
After a mysterious week or so of trying to guess exactly what this Humanity Festival was all about— between the unexplained promotions, the flyers, and the recruitment — the one constant was the promised presence of Amanda Palmer ’98. And, combined with the excellent organizing efforts of Raechel Rosen ’15, that was more than enough to draw a huge crowd onto Foss Hill this past Saturday afternoon for the “one-day musical celebration in solidarity against bigotry, racism, and social divisions within a community.”
After performances by Don Minott, a group comprised of Jess Best ’14, Mel Hsu ’13, and Sam Friedman ’13, Siren, and Oz Rhys Langston & Izzy, Palmer finally arrived, unaccompanied except for her ukulele. After releasing Theatre is Evilthis past year, Palmer booked herself for a large slew of international shows with her new backing band, The Grand Theft Orchestra. Here, though, was more like a large scale, heavily-planned ninja gig. Like her impromptu performance in 2011 at Eclectic, her appearance at the Humanity Festival was an intimate affair, despite the large crowd. Her stage was just a few carpets on the grass, a monitor, some speakers, and a stool. Her orchestra was that beaten-up ukulele.
Some commentary, some more photographs, and a high-quality recording of the entire performance (!) after the jump.
Unless you completely avoid all music, you have probably heard of MGMT, especially since the group began at Wesleyan, and both members are alumni. What you see above is one of my favorite YouTube videos ever: a cover of “Kids,” arguably MGMT’s most well-known song, by The Ooks of Hazzard, a 9-piece band consisting of seven ukuleles, an accordion, and a cajón.
Searching The Ooks of Hazzard on YouTube will only bring up this video and a few regrettably mediocre concert recordings, complete with bad lighting and background noise. A search on iTunes will only bring you to a page where you can purchase this song as a single. Their MySpace page has a streaming version of the song above, but little else. Nevertheless, they indicate on their Facebook page that, as of January 18, they are working on an album. If you enjoy this video, you’ll probably be as excited as I am to hear this. If there’s one thing the world needs, it’s more awesome ukulele bands.
Play the ukulele? Want to play the ukulele? Have a secret passion for Hawaiian-esque music on bright sunny Sundays?
Doctor Uke, a local ukulele player extraordinaire, will be leading a workshop for all skill levels (and yes that includes people who have never touched a uke, and yes that includes people who have been playing since the pre-Beirut era).
Come! If you don’t have a uke, just email LLUPTON@wes or send me a facebook message by Saturday and we can lend you one.