The Chronicle’s View: School of rock

The Associated Students of the University of Utah Presenter’s Office has finally hit its stride.

Following last week’s performance by indie-rock legends Yo La Tengo in the Union Ballroom, it has become clear that the Presenter’s Office is indeed in-tune with the aural tastes of U students and has the power (and desire) to bring quality bands (as opposed to simply big names) to our school.

Which is the way it ought to be.

The Presenter’s Office receives a significant portion of student fees under the stipulation that the office contact, sign and bring worthwhile musical acts to the U. The office has a sizeable budget, therefore, to say the least, and in the past it has been squandered on under-attended concerts showcasing bands that, frankly, not too many U students cared about.

However, this year’s office has been doing markedly better than its predecessors, having already brought Death Cab for Cutie (the O.C.-propelled Sub Pop Records’ emo-indie-phenom band that maintains uber-popularity points amongst college-aged individuals) and now Yo La Tengo.

The trend that the Presenter’s Office is following is not one that is new, however-the music that the office is bringing falls primarily within the indie genre, which is pretty much synonymous with the college-radio genre.

This makes sense: College-radio music is, understandably, the most generally appealing type of music to college-age kids.

The genre has been around for years, too, so there is a solid foundation on which to build, including now-well-known bands like R.E.M (who helped pioneer the genre back in the early 1990s) and last year’s remarkably successful Modest Mouse.

If the Yo La Tengo and Death Cab for Cuties shows are any indicator (of course the Kingsbury Hall Wilco show was successful, but that just goes without saying) then the U student population is ready for the type of acts that the office is trying to bring: The Death cab show was full-out packed (even though it took place outside in the free-speech area of the Union) and the Yo La Tengo show was more than well-attended.

This level of attendance benefits students just as much as it does the Presenter’s Office, which is something to keep in mind: The office is also partially revenue-based, so the better its shows do, the better dhows it can bring to the U in the future.

Clearly, big-name bands cost big-name dollars, and although the office has a sizeable budget, it doesn’t have the cash to bring ultra-popular acts without the support of students.

So, in other words, if you support the Presenter’s Office, the bands will come-the Presenter’s Office is just as reliant on your support of its events as you are on their selection of bands.

And you know what else? If students extrovertedly support the Presenter’s Office’s acts, we will have a greater say in the types of shows to come our way later. We as students can voice our opinions, and in so doing, help dictate the cultural tastes of our university-something that seems to make a great deal of sense.

On another level, if the U keeps attracting and maintaining quality musical performances, we’ll develop a reputation as a good venue for concerts-something which has the potential to alter the apathetic nature of our commuter school into something more proactive and passionate, like a real school of rock.