April 4, 2013

On-Campus Pub Will Host Local, Student Bands

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The Bear’s Den — Cornell’s on-campus pub, which opened for business in September — launched a music series, “Back 2 Back Bands” on Thursday in hopes of establishing the space as a live-music performance venue, according to event organizers.

The series will include six nights of performances in early April with each night featuring a different band, said Lauren Ritter ’13, pub director and executive director of the Student Union Board.

The bands featured in the series range from local groups to students to alumni, including Kinetics & One Love, a hip-hop group comprised of Jeremy Dussolliet ’09 and Tim Sommers ’10, the songwriters behind the chorus of B.o.B.’s song “Airplanes.” The duo is scheduled to perform in the pub April 6, Ritter said.

“All six bands that we have coming are so talented and are so integrated into the Ithaca community,” Ritter said. “I’m so excited to see what happens.”

The SKAbuelos, the first band to perform in the series, is comprised of current Cornell students and incorporates both ska — an old Jamaican music form — and jazz, according to Mario Céspedes ’13, a guitarist, bassist and vocalist for the band.

“We are all excited to be hosted by the new pub and to have the ability to present music for free to the student body,” Céspedes said in anticipation of Wednesday’s show. “[The den is] pretty much a space to indulge in the sweetness of life — sweet music, sweet food, sweet drinks.”

Ritter said that this year, one of the primary aims of the Student Union Board, which the pub committee is a sub-committee of, is “to bring music back into the Straight.”

“I felt that we were kind of losing our hold on music in the building,” Ritter said.

Carol James, advisor to the Bear’s Den and director of Community Center Programs, said the pub has seen both successes and failures since its opening in September.

“I think we were just trying [a lot of things out]; that was the strategy we had first semester,” James said.

Throughout last semester, the pub hosted events put on by student organizations as well as comedy shows and screenings of sporting events.

After a recent installation of a new lighting and sound system, the pub became more suited to hosting live music performances, according to Ritter and James.

“It has a very different look and feel than it did [the] first semester,” James said.

Ritter added that the pub committee “wanted to make the most of [the new equipment] and bring these really talented performers in so that we can see what the pub really has to offer.”

However, while the “Back 2 Back Bands” series is a new feature, James said that the pub has been home to live music events in the past.

Ritter said she hopes that the music series — and future pub events in general — will bring together not only students under and over age, but also Cornell students and Ithaca community members.

“In my mind, the Ithaca community is also the Cornell community. We come together, we bond over hockey—I’d like to see them come together and bond over music in the Bears’ Den,” she said.

Original Author: Sarah Sassoon