September 20, 2006

Ballin' On a Budget

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Every week, I diligently prepare myself for my bi-weekly attempt to ramble about some sort of semblance of American/ Cornellian culture. This week, it suddenly occurred to me how inane our fragile conception of What Is Hip has become. Case in point: A beleaguered and pleading attempt by four of Slope Radio’s finest and most professional, DJ Woods, DJ AZ, Joey and, well, this very uncritically acclaimed guest DJ, to give away two tickets to The Strokes. (Read, two hours of crowd surfing, pushing people and rocking out with a drug-induced and internationally infamous Julian Casablancas). How long did it take to give away these hallowed tickets, you ask? The entire two hours of airtime on Friday evening.
But can you guess what happened after a stunning announcement that Joey himself would give away a priceless (read, free) excursion to RPU for a deliciously mass-produced Sunday midday meal? The phone line blew up in a matter of milliseconds. As a side note, RPU has had its title as “The Sunday Brunch Jumpoff” revoked in favor of The Carriage House. Leave it to Cornellians to prove that the marginal utility of a half-eaten stack of pancakes on a “I swear to God I’m still drunk” Sunday afternoon with the entire freshman population staring at you with an awkward/critical “what the hell are you doing here” expression is actually greater than a two hour Sunday evening study break with a band whose drummer actually banged Drew Barrymore. They should teach that in Econ 101.
Although the turnout at The Strokes concert was better than expected, especially for a Sunday night when most of our cohorts prefer to get rambunctious at Uris, the Slope Radio incident made me wonder: have Cornellians been reduced to the Neanderthal-like tendencies of sleeping, studying, eating and boozing? Have we become slaves to a very un-rocking and painfully routine existence? I sure as hell hope not. But in order to ensure that we do not degenerate like our SUNY brethren, I give you, dear reader, a brief glimpse of some great live music coming up in the next month around T-County. And yes, I guarantee that it beats whatever grub North Campus Dining can throw at us.

The Mountain Goats
September 23, Carl Becker House
You don’t have to be a pretentious addict to appreciate the Mountain Goats’ endearing folk sound. Strings, twangy guitar, piano and muted drum beats work in concert with John Darnielle’s whispery, sentimental voice, making the sense of loss that Darnielle sings about on 2006’s Get Lonely feel almost endearing and comforting rather than mopey and depressing. With smart, witty lyrics and a warm sound, The Mountain Goats will be the perfect way to welcome the transition from summer to fall here in Ithaca.

October 18, Landmark Theatre, Syracuse
Everyone’s favorite black-hat-wearing Hasidic reggae star got huge with back-to-back epic releases Live at Stubbs and the more synth-friendly Youth. For those of you looking to escape the habitual routine of another Wednesday night at Dunbar’s group therapy, a mini road trip up to ‘Cuse might be the perfect alternative.

Girl Talk
October 28, Appel Commons
If I hear one more person play Jay-Z / Linkin Park’s “Encore” and insist that it’s the “hottest song of the year” (it dropped in 2003 and it’s simply not that good, Michael Mann), I might just cease listening to music altogether. Luckily for all of humanity, Girl Talk has arrived and proved that there is life behind this overplayed, overproduced and overrated rap/rock mashup. Combining such diverse and obscure samples as Pixies and Fleetwood Mac with The Yin Yang Twins, 50 Cent, Ludacris and just about any other popular hip hop act you can imagine, Gregg Gillis aka Girl Talk runs the gamut of Top 40 on his 2006 masterpiece Night Ripper. His remarkable ability to dissect dozens of well-known tracks and smoothly combine them into a three-minute new song will definitely turn Appel Commons into the hottest dance party of the semester.