Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Last week’s performance by Earl Greyhound marked the beginning of another semester of concerts at Olde Club. Now that we’re all in the mood for more indie rock goodness, the Gazette is pleased to bring you a preview of what’s to come in the weeks ahead.
Marilyn Baldanzi ’08, Olde Club’s booking director, explained how she puts together each semester’s lineup. A lot of the process is budgeting, because the money that Olde Club has is not enough to bring major acts that all Swatties will have heard of. So, she says, her job is to find a “balance between big names and finding smaller bands that are talented that people will enjoy.” One of her strategies for picking these lesser-known acts is to target groups that play upbeat, danceable music and that put on a great live act. That way even if you haven’t heard of the group who’s performing, you can be sure of having a good time.
Next Saturday (October 6)
Headliner: My Teenage Stride
Opening: Monarch and Hands and Knees
My Teenage Stride is the sort of band I’d probably form if I formed a band. They’re your basic rockpopindie blend with hyperwrought song titles (eg “They Are Along in Their Principles”) and hooks that get caught in your head. The music video for “That Should Stand For Something” highlights their guitar/bass-heavy lineup and eye for adorable kids.
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Monarch, a Baltimore duo, should be a good contrast to My Teenage Stride. Their music combines shimmery distorted guitar with vocals and rhythm that seem to have one foot in folk and one in the indie scene. I particularly like the song “Obituary” which you can hear on their Myspace page. But based on this live video of them playing “Family Glue” back in May, I think that as long as they crank up the volume on the guitars they’ll be pretty great no matter what. Says Baldanzi, “I think they’ll surprise everyone with how good they are.”
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Headliner: Washington Social Club
Opener: The Dance Party
If this video does not convince you that this is going to be a fun show, I’m not sure what else to say. Washington Social Club rocks with a thumping beat and electronic blorps and dishes up some cheeky pop/rock fun.
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The Dance Party has a kinda goofy name, and bills themselves on their Myspace as “Sex Robots from The Future”, so I have a little trouble taking them totally seriously. Luckily, I’m pretty sure they don’t want me to, since their songs seem engineered for maximum fun content, complete with high-pitched “Oo-ooh”s scattered through their song “Alist”. Definitely a good opener for Washington Social Club, definitely a fun night.
Francophonic Canadians Malajube are the purveyors of an impeccably crafted blend of dance, pop, and indefinable foreign charm. One of the “big” bands that Baldanzi booked for Olde Club this semester, Malajube probably already has fans among the Swat population, and is likely to leave with a whole lot more. Rivaling “That Should Stand For Something” in adorableness, this video for “Montreal” features animated flying eskimos (?) and I would suggest watching it a few times to enjoy both the music and the video itself.
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The Last Emperor
Changing gears for the last show of the season, the final Olde Club show features Philadelphia rapper The Last Emperor. A veteran of the Philly rap scene in the 90s, and a protegee of Dr. Dre, and a devoted comic book fan, The Last Emperor brings these elements and more into his lyrics. This trailer for the upcoming documentary “Memoirs of an MC” features clips from his song “Secret Wars”.
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That’s it for the semester, leaving us all to look forward to more exciting acts in the spring. When I remarked that, to my surprise, many of my favorite indie acts were not going to be performing at Olde Club, Baldanzi responded that while she tries to put together a varied program, she “can’t make everyone happy”, and that many requests for specific groups are not feasible. If you were one of the “at least” 25 people who requested Girl Talk, the sad truth is that they (and other popular bands) are simply not within Olde Club’s budget: Girl Talk, for example, would have wanted at least $8000-10000, which would have taken up half the club’s budget. Baldanzi says that her first goal is to make sure that shows are fun, not exclusive, and balancing the budget is part of that.But, given the bands that are coming, there’s no need to worry about not being able to find a show that you’ll enjoy.
And, of course, if that’s just not enough indie rock for you, Olde Club is always looking for volunteers to help with shows. Happy listening!