Straight: U needs quality concert bands

By By Chase Straight

By Chase Straight

The Grand Kerfuffle went off with a bang April 11 with performances from the Shiny Toy Guns and hellogoodbye, and I have never seen so many braces in my life.

The median age of the crowd had to be 13, which is a pretty liberal guestimate. The Kerfuffle concertgoers were treated to such refined lyrics as “touchdown turnaround/I never see you around.”

The Presenter’s Office, please stop bringing bubblegum power-pop bands to our beloved campus.

Unfortunately, this disturbing trend is most likely going to continue as Amanda Mecham was reinstated as the Presenter’s Office director for another year. Did she really do such a great job that we want one more year of this crap being put on our plates? Yes, she helped set an attendance record with the last Redfest, but how many people who went to the show were actually U students?

The Presenter’s Office is a division of ASUU that is fully funded by student fees. It has an obligation, first and foremost to the students of the U, to bring quality musicians that reflect the musical tastes of the student body. Instead, the Presenter’s Office has decided to cop out and throw this bullcrap ear-candy out there because it’s easily marketable to high school students.

College is a time of maturation and expanding the mind, which usually extends to one’s musical tastes. Of course, there is a large constituency of freshmen here who might not have completely gotten over their teen angst yet, but the rest of us are two or more years in and have developed better musical palates that bands such as Jack’s Mannequin and hellogoodbye can’t satisfy.

Shiny Toy Guns is a step in the right direction, but the Presenter’s Office can do better than bringing in a headliner whose popularity is based solely on one song.

It hasn’t always been this way. The U has had the honor of hosting bands such as Yo La Tengo, String Cheese Incident and Violent Femmes, just to name a few. These are in line with what U students want, but the Presenter’s Office has decided to skip that strategy in favor of ticket-selling junk groups.

I’m not saying that booking a band to play at a university event is an easy thing-it’s not. I commend Mecham and the rest of the Presenter’s Office for putting the time and effort into getting “quality” musicians to play here, but they are looking in all of the wrong places.

I have heard from former Presenter’s Office directors that names such as Regina Spektor and Reverend Horton Heat had been kicked around as possibilities to play our concerts in the past. God knows who Mecham had on backup-Good Charlotte?

I’m disappointed in the new ASUU administration’s decision to retain Mecham for another year in the director position. I was under the impression that it was out to make some serious changes that more accurately reflect the needs and desires of the student body. This is an act that clearly speaks to the contrary.

However, short of rescinding their offer to Mecham or having the senate not confirm her, something might be done to keep the integrity of our music festivals intact. Perhaps ASUU will use its new pollsters to gather information on bands that students are digging at the time. Maybe the Presenter’s Office will even decide to mix things up a bit and bring in a reggae band or even a bluegrass group.

These are just hopeful musings, I’m afraid, because if the last two U concerts (or even the last three or four) are any indication of what to expect in the future, then the future is looking pretty bleak.

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