April 8, 2004

House of Jealous Posers

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Appel Commons played host to one of Cornell University’s biggest shows of the year and chances are you had no idea. Jointly sponsored by the Fanclub Collective, Cornell Concert Commission, and the SAFC, Friday night’s show was the happening spot to be, bringing out the coolest of the cool from around upstate New York.

You couldn’t show up without your studded belt, black-rimmed glasses, or Cap’n Crunch ring decoder. By 7 p.m., the hipsters had already begun to mass on the second floor. North Star’s casual diners were treated to a feast for the eyes — the 00’s grunge, our hair metal, soon-to-be-gone fashion that you’ll be afraid to show your children. Yeah, they were all here. Where were you?

What reason did they have to come to the desolate tundra of Ithaca, New York? Simple: underground rock’s new order, dance fever: The Rapture. Coming from The City, The Rapture brought their unique brand of dance-punk to our very own campus. And with them, the hordes of elementary school dodgeball knockouts followed. The conditions were appropriate — bitter cold weather, ivy-league squares, a large empty room — for The Rapture to heat things up. The Starlite Desperation opened with a fun set of uptempo, possibly garage-stained rock n’roll. Their set excited a few, but generally people were content to do “the standing still.” “Go Kill Mice,” The Starlite Desperation’s epic closer, elicited more than a few smiles. Typically, a band like the Starlite Desperation has few expectations (except to plummet into obscurity), but the recent rash of garage-rock successes and the lead singer’s haughty sneer suggest that this band is destined for greater things (greater, at least, than playing on the third floor of a student cafeteria in the middle of nowhere). Their Detroit-rock roots suggest that if music doesn’t work out, they can always find work acting in Civil War epics.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club showed up next. They started their set off with a one-man show — simple vocals, acoustic guitar, and harmonica. From there, the rest of the band was introduced, and they hit in full effect. Although their set was fairly tame by any standard, a large segment of the crowd took it upon themselves to begin slam-dancing. Now, I don’t mean to vilify anyone that slam-dances — I did it myself in sixth grade at a Sponge concert — but come on, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club? I know their name sounds really tough and all, but I don’t even think they would throw-down with Robert Pirsig. Regardless, the people seemed to really dig the band. Personally, they bored me; but, many people have commented that I “hate fun.” And fun is pretty much all BRMC was, because they didn’t seem to have any other agenda besides standing around and playing their songs. Can’t complain really. After a lifetime of waiting, The Rapture came on. I guess “rapture” is an appropriate band name, because many people seemed to be on cloud-nine — in ecstasy. The dancing seemed purely unconscious, because if the people were paying attention, they never would have danced like that. The last time I saw this many bad dancers, it was Normandy in ’45. But, many would suggest that bad dancing is the point. Punk rawk! I was the beneficiary of getting rubbed on by many ugly girls, so I can’t really argue. After all, The Rapture came to save your ass and mine from a lifetime of not shaking.

Their club sensation, “House of Jealous Lovers,” sung in lead-singer Luke Jenner’s girlish croon, had the crowd in convulsions. The band added a call-and-response to “Sister Savior.” A highlight of the show, the energetic “Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks”, invited the crowd to “shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shake”; indie-rock’s answer to Nelly’s tail-feather-shaking rap-anthem. The show also featured an inaudible cow-bell and the fashion faux-pas trucker hat. After their set ended, the crowd invited The Rapture back on stage with continuous applause. The Rapture obliged, singing an unmemorable track appropriately out of tune. Soon, the house lights came on, signaling the end of the show. People oozed slowly out of Appel, glistening with sweat, and shining with smiles. So, count another success for the Fanclub Collective, and barring any who-has-paler-skin contentions, a success for the Cornell Concert Commission as well.

Archived article by Walter Chen
Red Letter Daze Staff Writer