Occidental students gathered in front of Thorne Hall, where Occidental’s student-run radio, KOXY, hosted its first concert of the semester Oct. 4. The show started just after 9 p.m., with punk band Kuromi opening for LA-based based indie rock band Girlpool. Neon green and red lights illuminated Thorne Patio as Girlpool played their indie rock music and audience members bounced along to the mellow tunes. The evening started slow, but the crowd grew as the night progressed.
Kuromi opened the night with songs from their 2018 album “Kuromi.” Despite limited numbers, the audience managed to create a lively mosh pit, jumping excitedly to the beat of the music. The audience grew particularly enthusiastic when the band played their last song “Cutie.” As Kuromi left the stage and Girlpool arrived, the mosh pit died and the mood of the concertgoers became much more mellow and laid-back.
“This is perfect for crowd-surfing,” Girlpool singer Cleo Tucker said as the band arrived on stage.
Girlpool promptly moved into songs from their album “What Chaos is Imaginary.”
Prior to the concert, Dahlia Theriault (senior), one of the two KOXY station managers, said she was excited about the upcoming show.
“They’re pretty popular on campus. A couple of years ago, we were thinking about getting them and now we’re doing it, which is really exciting,” Theriault said.
KOXY events director Luis Arias (junior) works on booking artists and negotiating fees for on-campus concerts alongside event staff. The Girlpool concert, which was free for Occidental students, was funded by the Associated Students of Occidental College (ASOC). ASOC distributes student body fees, which fund KOXY concerts and other Occidental organizations.
“A big part is doing the directions of concerts, booking and identifying who you want to reach out to and actually negotiating fees. Then working with the SLICE office and other on-campus authorities to get things to happen,” Arias said.
Arias was also the events director for the later part of last semester and directed the Duckwrth/G.L.A.M concert.
“Sometimes we have two big concerts a semester, sometimes we have three a semester, but [every semester we have] at least three events. Sometimes it’s not a full-blown concert, more like an open mic or something. We do various sound supports for other events as well,” Arias said.
After Girlpool left the stage, audience members slowly trickled out of Thorne Patio to the Cooler for a late-night snack. Jackson Jones (first year) said he enjoyed the atmosphere of the Girlpool concert.
“I thought it was a nice set. I thought it was a good vibe. It was good vibrations,” Jones said.
Arias, who has been familiar with Girlpool and attended one of their concerts at Echo Park, reached out to their manager after hearing they would be in LA Oct. 3rd.
“They had a show in town this Thursday, so I was like ‘Might as well try.’ And they were like ‘Oh, yeah, we’re down,’” Arias said.
Duo Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad started Girlpool when they were 17 and 18 years old. They released their first EP, “Girlpool,” in 2014, and their albums “Before The World Was Big” in 2015 and “Powerplant” in 2017. The early Girlpool albums featured Tividad and Tucker’s distinct harmonization. In 2017, Tucker came out as transgender and began taking testosterone, which deepened his voice. This changed the sound of the music and differentiated Tividad and Tucker‘s voices on their newest album, “What Chaos is Imaginary” (2019).
“One of them transitioned gender, so they’re not the same vocal range as they used to be. The dynamic from the last album to this one has changed a bunch, just singing-approach-wise. It’s just constantly evolving indie rock and very heartfelt singing,” Arias said.
According to Arias, part of his job is booking concerts with artists who are popular at Occidental, and Girlpool is a well-known name on campus.
“I know a lot of people at Oxy like [Girlpool]. I’m always trying to keep an ear out – first off, for what our DJs like, but also, the student body in general,” Arias said. “We need to get people to show up, so we do have to play to what people enjoy, but it’s also kind of curatorial.”
The Oxy Programming Board announced Oct. 4 that up-and-coming rapper Tierra Whack will be the headliner for Occidental’s 2019 FallFest, performing at the Greek Bowl Oct. 19 — which is also the Saturday of homecoming weekend. Girlpool attendee Abbott Hoeven (first year) is excited about the live music opportunities Occidental has to offer.
“I love the atmosphere of live music. It just brings me so much joy,” Hoeven said. “I love when a group of people just get together and go have fun. Everyone’s there for the right reasons.”
Article was updated to reflect that ASOC distributes student body fees, not SLICE at 4:05 p.m. Oct. 12.