Arts & Culture

Indie artists draw small but enthusiastic crowd

By
Contributing Writer
Monday, September 17, 2012

As the sun went down on the Ruth J. Simmons Quadrangle Saturday evening, students trickled in for a Fall Concert that featured a motley array of dubstep and upbeat indie jams from artists TOKiMONSTA and Titus Andronicus.
Many of the students in attendance had never heard of the performers, who were announced by the Brown Concert Agency in August, lending an uncertain atmosphere to the event.
Ryan Glassman ’15, performing under the stage name Area 6, was the opening act. Though Glassman provided a fast-paced and welcoming energy, only about 50 people were around the venue to hear his dubstep and mash-ups. Even fewer attendants were visibly excited – only two people were actively dancing throughout his performance.  
Over the next hour, the bulk of the audience made its way onto the quad. Some purchased pre-show refreshments while others retreated to the back of the green to socialize and smoke cigarettes. Even with the booming electronic rhythms of Area 6, attendees seemed to be preoccupied with socializing.
That is, until TOKiMONSTA took the stage.
“We were really nervous that many people wouldn’t be into TOKiMONSTA because very few people have heard of her,” said Emma Ramadan ’13, BCA booking chair.
But these worries evaporated when attendees rushed forward to get a closer look at Jennifer Lee, the Los Angeles-born DJ otherwise known as TOKiMONSTA. Utilizing a wide range of music from “Hard in Da Paint” by Waka Flocka Flame to “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix, TOKiMONSTA electrified concertgoers, some of whom even started a small mosh pit toward the back of the standing area.
“I’m gonna play some lovey-dovey stuff … and then some scary stuff,” announced Lee as she proceeded to perform her musical creations. Using clips of live instruments and percussion combined with digital sounds, TOKiMONSTA provided a distinctly frenzied sound.
“I had never heard of her before, but she is fun and very dynamic,” said Rhode Island School of Design student Avenstensia Xirouxhakis. “She definitely brought life to the crowd.”
While the crowd was buzzing after Lee’s performance, it was the headliner, Titus Andronicus, that really ignited the audience’s enthusiasm.
Named after a notoriously violent Shakespeare play, the band expressed similar dark themes through song titles like “A Pot In Which to Piss” and “No Future,” the first of a trilogy of bitter songs.
Despite dispirited lyrics such as “all I want for Christmas is no feelings now and never again,” the band’s powerful onstage energy prompted jumping, dancing and even hula-hooping. A few brave souls even managed to crowd-surf.
While turnout was relatively small with no more than a couple hundred people, it was fairly normal by Fall Concert standards, Ramadan said.
“Ticket sales were not ideal prior to the event, but we sold about 25 percent of the tickets at the door, and it turned out to be pretty successful,” Ramadan said. A small crowd can be seen as a plus because it “attracts the die-hard fans,” she said.
Many of those who had never heard of TOKiMONSTA or Titus Andronicus gave the concert positive reviews. “This really isn’t my kind of music,” said Ilkania Paulino ’15. “But the vibe here tonight just makes me want to dance.”