August 30, 2006

Soundtrack to a Saturday Night

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Cornell’s Arts Quad was relatively lively, especially considering it was a Saturday at 6, when most students were at home getting ready for another fun-filled night of partying. This past Saturday night was different; the Concert Commission organized a special treat for those who had tired of Cornellian nightlife: Motion City Soundtrack was invited to entertain us with their unique sound and a vibrant atmosphere.

For those of you not previously acquainted with Motion City Soundtrack, they are a group of five: Matt, Tony, Justin, Joshua and Jesse. They come from Minneapolis, where they first formed their band in 1999. Two years ago, they released their first track, “The Future Freaks Me Out,” a song which featured in the show Saturday night.

The concert began with Motion City’s opening band, The Hard Lessons. As with most of the concerts held at Cornell (with perhaps the exception of last years Slope Day), however, the crowd listened patiently and enjoyably, but an anxiousness for the real act could be undeniably sensed. When Motion city finally arrived on stage, a large cry and a round of applause went up.

The choice of venue was not only perfect for the beautiful summer evening, but it was also an unusual choice for the Concert Committee. Bartels, usually the location of choice, had been replaced in favor of the Arts Quad.

The larger space allowed for many favorable differences; the sound system could be heard clearly and comfortably, the open air allowed for a breeze which cooled the excited crowd and the overall openness added to the atmosphere of fun and relaxation which the band brings to the stage.

Both the band and crowd were full of energy that night. There was a surprisingly large turnout and a very diverse group of people. Although Motion City’s music, often categorized as “emo,” is associated with a certain stereotypical type of person, the crowd milling in the Arts Quad was varied. The band was friendly and energized, interacting effortlessly with the spectators. The crowd, in turn, reacted with fervor, as there were groups of people moshing and crowd-surfing to the sound of the music. Two or three songs in particular, including the aforementioned “The Future Freaks Me Out,” and “Commit this to Memory” resonated strongly with the crowd and brought a new wave of hands and voices.

As a whole, I would say, the concert was a success. I left feeling entertained, a feat which I would have deemed unlikely just an hour or two previously. Motion City Soundtrack’s pop-punk beats and the lively atmosphere which permeated the Arts Quad since their arrival meant that I and a couple of hundred additional Cornell students had spent our Saturday evening in a more than fulfilling way than most.