Easter weekend is traditionally a weekend when college students flock home to celebrate either the Jewish rite of Passover or the Christian celebration of Easter.
Though the quads lay empty like some boom-and-bust western town nestled quietly in the Berkshires, the Society of Music, a new club this year at the College, made sure those who stayed would celebrate something different: music.
Sullivan Lounge, outfitted with amps and pizza, served as the venue for the night.
At 8:15 (fifteen minutes ahead of schedule) Mike’s Bakery fired into a high-energy indie rock set, echoing across the seemingly endless void of the campus. The traditional three piece indie band jumped around with electric energy as they played their hearts out for the tight cluster of fans, rocking their heads and tapping their feet to the drummer’s booming bass pedal.
Mike’s Bakery is an upbeat band reminiscent of the indie rock bands of the last years of the 20th century. As a stoic penguin watched atop the three-foot speaker as the crowd gradually began to loosen up to the music. Off to the side of the action, a table with pizza, Coca-Cola and Sprite sat unnoticed while all eyes on the room bounced with the animated lead singer of the band.
The band fed the crowds’ desire for a dying institution, rock and roll. The band themselves were fueled by the honest humble energy one gets from playing for just enough people to be “nervous”.
My pink polo shirt singled me out of the crowd, and the shorts didn’t help either. Black tee shirts, hats and jeans were the uniform here, along with canvas shoes and Chuck Taylor’s classic style on almost every tapping foot.
Mike’s Bakery was invited to MCLA from Wheaton College. Their front man Jordan Wolfe and Kid the Robot guitarist Tyler Bernard used to be in a band called Limelight. That’s why Bakery made the trip across the country for the show.
Rocking and toe-tapping slowly became contagious hip-bumping. Intimate, private atmosphere insulated from the decay of rock as a whole, the college band was alive and well here.
Then the band changed the energy of the room upside down. ‘Surf City’, an upbeat Beach Boys meet the Ramones song, was a refreshing detour from the alternative/indie heavy set. They also infused their traditional rock with familiar music like the Mario Brothers theme turned into an indie rock ballad. That drew raucous behind-the-back clapping from the crowd.
At 8:45 the band was still rolling, jumping and gyrating, turning to a Reggae-inspired upbeat ska style with a lead singer with a sound like Spiritual Rez’s front-man Toft Willingham. They relinquished the stage after their last song, “Eggdrop Soup.”
Next up was local band Kid the Robot, another indie style band led by guitarist and vocalist Tyler Bernard. The stoic Penguin came down off the amp as the bands switched out equipment while hungry Mike’s Bakery members attacked the pizza like wolverines and stormed outside for cigarettes and nips from secret flasks. They worked up a serious hunger and sweat.
They played a refreshing cover of the Pixies’ song “Where is my Mind,” recently made famous by rapper Sam Adams in his song “Blow Up”. Older people walked by the room in horror as the establishment witnessed the small but focused rebellion that is rock and roll.
The band also put together an inspired cover of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” Five minutes before the set was over, the third band nervously shuffled through the crowd as “The Wall” closed in painfully drawn out Pink Floyd fashion.
The final act of the night was the band Subject to Interpretation. As the band prepared, the stoic penguin was returned to his post above the amplifier and all was well. The crowd returned their attention to the final band after almost inciting a pizza rebellion spurred on by the last pizza vultures and starved would-be double-dippers.
Their set included songs about confusion in life and love such as “Age of Consciousness,” a song reminiscent of indie rock bands of the 90’s, which influenced Subject to Interpretation as they grew up.
by Andrew Hodgson