September 19, 2006

Barton On Fire

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A series of new claw marks on my back seem to indicate that little girls were fighting for their lives in what was perhaps the most rowdy and rockin’ concert to hit Cornell in some time. Even Snoop couldn’t rile up the crowd this much a couple of Slope Days past. Crowd surfing in Barton Hall? Word. Respectable Ivy League student pulled over the front barricades after passing out? Probably an IC girl, but still, word.
As I sincerely treasure my studies here at Cornell, I was forced to let a Monday psych prelim keep me huddled up in the libe just long enough for me to miss both the better part of my pre-game and the better part of the opener, Calm to Chaos. Though the valorous officers outside Barton elaborated on a mass exodus away from the stage during the metal band’s set, I had a chance to meet the band and they seemed to dig the college vibe of those who stayed to check out their sound. So perhaps we’ll see more of the group back in Ithaca as they move further along in their metal rock quest.
Strangely enough, for the concert of one of the most widely appreciated rock bands this decade, Barton was less than packed. Perhaps this speaks volumes to the efficacy of holding concerts on the one night people actually get work done around here. But no grudges held here, for, sure enough, the lights went out and the featherweight crowd was vibing just as hard as the big guys. Lead singer Julian Casablancas of The Strokes made his way out, sporting a leather jacket that even the Fonz would envy. Right away, the band jumped into “Ize of the World” off their most recent album, First Impressions of Earth. I was initially awestruck at the quality of sound, having heard mostly negativity surrounding the band’s live play. Perhaps The Strokes have finally mustered enough will power to hold off on debaucherous boozing before shows? Doubtful, judging by Julian’s clearly inebriated state. But then the chaos began and I quickly ditched my overly pretentious sound critiquing.
I could roll off a laundry list of all the awesome songs the Strokes played, as the set was just that: awesome. They hit all three of their albums, and every hit track; I couldn’t have created a better playlist myself. Hearing basically everyone in the crowd singing along to “Last Nite” and “Someday” could make even a Buckingham Palace guard cry. So if you weren’t there, I’m going to spare you the minor details and simply assume that you don’t really care what songs they played. What you might have really been wondering is what I’ve already told you; that the concert was, frankly, out of control. Crowd surfers up at nearly all times, moshing, behavior you might not normally anticipate high above lake Cayuga’s waters, and definitely a long ways away from a Third Eye Blind concert. Had I known how enthused the crowd was going to be Sunday night, I would have started hitting the gym much harder these past few weeks to prepare my lungs. Appropriately enough, The Strokes treated the crowd to a cool down encore consisting of a cover of “Walk on the Wild Side” and their own “Is this It.” These guys definitely know what they are doing.
So, finally, at 11:30 pm Sunday night, dripping with sweat and grinning ear to ear, I strolled back into Uris library. Too tired to fight the ringing in my ears, I retired my studies for the evening and headed back home, considerably stoked to have finally experienced the enthusiasm that Cornell concerts have been lacking.
Missed this one? Ooops.