The Go! Team
I recently saw The Go! Team in concert, and it was, without a doubt, the best live show I’ve seen. While their album Thunder, Lighting, Strike! is already a house party classic, nothing compares to the force of their live show. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so many white kids in converses getting down like it was a Parliament show. The band more than earns their ubiquitous exclamation points, constantly circumambulating around the stage and dancing like cheerleaders on amphetamines. I guarantee that having them perform “Huddle Formation” would be enough to bring down the clock tower, or start an avalanche, or cause a thunder-lighting-strike! to burn the whole slope down.
Slope Day’s musical act should encapsulate the vicissitudes of our year here at Cornell. Since that’s, like, impossible, let’s settle upon a sonic votive to the red diversity arches, the only interesting campus controversy that didn’t involve hospitalization. Cross-secting “ethnic diversity” with “musical skillz,” a Google search reveals the ultimate performer: M.I.A.
The Sri Lankan-born goddess lives in the UK, has a father akin to the Sri Lankan Ché, (kind of), and holds a relationship with a Mississippi-bred American. She also released a little dance floor masterpiece last year called Arular (breath easy, her lyrics are in English). The album is a tight patchwork of politically-tinged, slurred rhymes, exotic drumming, and deep hip-hop bass. Appreciative critics lapped up her pop-without-borders and remain committed to their initial plaudits. My case in short: great P.R. for Cornell, a healthy supply of ass-shaking for students and faculty, and one bodacious Sri Lankan.
I would really like to hear Animal Collective play on Slope Day. It is hard for me to pick apart my thoughts on why and explain what it is about them (I am still in too much awe), but there is something very wonderful. It isn’t necessarily what they play, what the music is, but more the sweetness (is it gentleness, or happiness?) behind it; they sound like a room (sandbox or garden) full of wonderful, thoughtful kids with instruments, just having fun together, harmonizing and making sounds. It isn’t just cheerful, it isn’t flaky, but it is intense; it doesn’t try to steal my thoughts or take over, but rather invites me to participate and play along. I guess those sorts of things would be nice to project on Slope Day: good feelings, playfulness and wonder.
There’s a reason why the last day of classes is not called Cool Concert Day. It’s about slithering down the hill in beer, mud, matching t-shirts. I can’tremember anyone ever talking about the performance. But, let’s just suppose the music matters. I would want Caetano Veloso billed. That is the Bossa your grandparents listened to when it washed over the world in the 1960s: Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Elis Regina, Garota da Ipanema, Chega de Saudade and Corcovado. The charismatic Caetano Veloso roughened up the softer old-school with some rock ‘n’ roll and politics. His abrasive, melancholy and impassioned music would eventually get him imprisoned and then exiled by the Brazilian government during the 1970s. Though perpetually excited by the jagged modern, he never ceased to honor the old greats and their tender influences, as seen in timid hopes for his Magrelinha and firm loyalty for Jorge da Capadocia (reinterpreting the eminent Jorge Ben Jor). Here is a performer and musician with a powerful sense of political and artistic presence, and actually deserves the title of a damn good show.
Upon hearing that someone else wanted to bring MIA for slope day, I thought they stole my idea. Seriously, I’ve been advocating Miss Sri Lanka for slope day since last semester. So my only conclusion is to bring another abbreviated act, say… ABBA? Since CCC keeps bringing acts from the embarrassing part of the ’90s (Third Eye Blind, and hey, wasn’t Hootie and his Blowfish here?), why not go further back in history and get ABBA to come. Let’s face it, Madonna’s “Hung Up,” even fellow Swedes Shout Out Louds, would not exist without these cultural icons.
Because Slope Day is an event that should appeal to all, something like the international MIA or ABBA would do just that. I mean, who wouldn’t feel the fever when “Dancing Queen” or “Waterloo” echoes from the west campus dirt pile. I don’t know about you, but I would want to grab my rotund, drunk only on red wine, middle-aged professor and sing “Knowing me, knowing you.” Okay, only me? If this is too foreign for our tastes, we really should go to Canada and get Metric for Slope Day instead.
The White Stripes
The White Stripes would be a great choice because they would make just about everyone smile and everyone can rock out to them. They play the blues with a hard rock edge that’ll get us all going. And they just won the Grammy for Best Alternative Album. While they might not be everyone’s favorite, one thing’s for sure: You wouldn’t hear anyone complaining about seeing them next May.
Doing research on the history of Slope Day, I came across an article published by a conservative student publication a few years ago implicating Slope Day as an indicator of Cornell’s lowly status among Ivy League schools. Slope Day, said the writers, was a clear example of the University’s purportedly communist slogan “elite, but not elitist.”
This got me to thinking. My research showed that attempts to stop Slope Day have been extremely unsuccessful, provoking Cornell students to stand up to authority for perhaps the only time in their lives. I was stumped. Instead of canceling Slope Day, how can we use it to demonstrate just how elitist we really are?
Here’s a modest proposal: instead of indulging in indecent pop music, let’s instead gather on the slope for a sing-along. We can hold hands (boy-girl, boy-girl) and join together in renditions of our Alma Mater, “God Bless America,” and other favorites. We’ll cap it off with a recital by our orchestra of some Wagner, while we enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeurvres. We’ll really show Harvard and Yale what for, eh old boy?
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
The only thing better than Brooklyn-based Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s debut title album would be to see them live, joyously drunk, performing their passionate set on Libe Sloope. Easily one of the most charismatic, talented bands of the year, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah would easily rivet both die-hard fans and first-time listeners. This is rock ‘n’ roll at its best, and I could imagine no better way to celebrate the end of the year dancing my ass off with total strangers under the trance of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
So you haven’t heard of Hard-Fi but I won’t blame you because most people on this side of the pond haven’t either. These Brit rockers from Staines (the same town that Ali G calls home) combine the post-punk revivalism of the English industrialized country-side and throw in an extra layer of swagger that elevates them past their genre-companions the Killers by incorporating trumpets and even groovier bass lines. The result? A near-perfect album, Stars of CCTV, which will keep you dancing and rocking out for a solid hour. Hard-Fi’s post-punk disco-revivalism and their smart political undertones would be a great way to set the tone for the school-wide sloppiness that occurs on Libe Slope come May.
On April 5th at 8:00 PM, four of Cornell’s most strapping men will perform in the Barnes Hall Auditorium. There will be no pre-parties in tents and no large security fence to wrap up the whole charade; this is a simple Jewish music at its finest. The Cornell Concert Commission must learn that good music doesn’t need to be expensive music – it can come from Hasidic singers or Bhangra dancers or Glee Club members. Look to the inside, CCC. Consider promoting this all-male singing ensemble to the top.
I have to confess I just fell in love with a girl and her name is Kelly Clarkson. Say what you will about her, that she was manufactured by corporate shills to sell ratings shares and eventually steal enough of the music buying world’s money to make her a profitable brand. However if you listen to her latest album Breakaway, one that earned several Grammy nominations, you’ll find out she’s very listenable and not melisma-infected like other current female pop balladeers. And anyone who doesn’t feel happy when the title song “Breakaway” shows up on the random shuffle does not have a pulse. If Ms. Clarkson rocks Libe Slope, “I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly I’ll do what it takes til’ I touch the sky.”
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: what we need at this school is a strong dose of Sufi mysticism. Of course, when it comes to non-stop qawwali, it goes without saying that the only man for the job is Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Nick, I agree that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is perhaps the greatest musician of the twentieth century, but he passed away in 1997.” And yes, he may need a few weeks to re-acclimate himself to the physical world, and then probably another week or two to choose from his infinitely expansive repertoire, but nothing can top Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from bringing tears of joy to our eyes on Slope Day 2006.
Archived article by Daze Staff