RAWR showcase owns the night

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Author: William Stupp

As the sun began to set on Thursday night, a crowd of around 150 students descended upon the Gilman Fountain for the third event of the Green Bean Fall Series: the RAW Records showcase. Multicolored lights crawled up trees like luminous vines and black cables coalesced at the base of the fountain to power the amplifiers of four separate student musical acts. Students took a break from their routines to sit, dance and listen to the music of their peers.

The Green Bean collaborated with KOXY and RAW Records to host the showcase. The night kicked off with a set of songs from Peaceful Antelopus, the solo project of English and Comparative Literary Studies (ECLS) major Soraya Sebghati (sophomore). As natural lighting faded, haunting footlights splashed a red glow over the singer’s face as she wowed the audience with original material. Soraya has performed numerous times at Occidental College and plays regularly in Los Angeles with her band, Night Talks. She joined the audience after her set was finished, settling on the grass with a group of friends.

“[I appreciate the chance to] hang out with other people who make music. I want to see more collaboration between the [musical] groups at Oxy,” Sebghati said. With the highly emotive, stripped down sound of Peaceful Antelopus, she set the bar for the showcase. Recordings can be accessed through her SoundCloud.

Next to perform was Urban and Environmental Policy (UEP) and economics double major Lillian Krovoza (junior). Krovoza, who is Programming Manager for the Green Bean, also organized the event. During her set, she alternated between bare-bones acoustic solo pieces and songs accompanied by her band. As Lillian & the Lost Boys, she was joined by art history major Ian Bradley (senior) on guitar, Media Arts and Culture major Joey Massari (senior) working the drum machine and art history major Scott Kulicke (senior) playing bass. Along with a cover of Lorde, Krovoza performed her original songs, which she has uploaded to the RAW Records Bandcamp page.

Honey & Wax took the stage later in the night, bringing their rough and gritty take on classically-inspired jazz to the assembled students. Theater major Nina Carlin (junior) led the band with her soulful, heavy vocals. Joined by music major Nick Gallagher (senior) on percussion and Josh Weiner ’11 on guitar, Honey & Wax recalled the jazzy vibe of a hardened lounge. The band appreciated the chance to perform in front of fellow students in a positive atmosphere.

“It was nice to express [our music] publicly. It’s always nice to see people dancing,” Gallagher said.

The showcase crowd was the month-old band’s largest audience to date, which Carlin said was good practice for the band’s upcoming gig on Oct. 12 at the Trip in Santa Monica. Honey & Wax are working on their first album and can be heard on their bandcamp.

Closing the showcase was Campus Security – a pop-styled, sophomore-filled indie rock band made up of cognitive science major Rounak Maiti on vocals and rhythm guitar, undeclared major John Kennedy playing lead guitar, Urban and Environmental Policy major Campbell Scott playing bass, physics major Nick Waldram on percussion and chemistry major Angus McDonald at the keyboard. Campus Security’s eclectic set included a cover of “1517” by The Whitest Boy Alive and original songs that ranged from the hard, indignant rock sound of “Can’t Sing” to the poppy, bubblegum vibe of “Cutie at the Green Bean.”

“The Green Bean will always be our home,” Maiti said, thanking the managers of the student-run coffee lounge for sponsoring the event.

All the artists who played the showcase agreed it was a successful event and was indicative of positive changes in the music scene on campus. The lighting was a particularly popular aspect. Audience members responded well to the lights, with students raving about the ambiance they created.

“I always like playing shows where there are Christmas lights involved,” Sebghati said.

The turnout and support they received impressed the student musicians. In the past, many of Occidental’s on campus music events have been sparsely attended.

“Musicians] are getting a stronger sense of community on campus,” Kennedy said.

The Green Bean’s fall series will host several more events, including open mic nights, poetry readings and a Glee Club performance later in the semester. The hope is that by sponsoring events such as Thursday’s showcase, the Green Bean might be perceived as more of a creative and social center rather than simply a place where students go to get their pastries and caffeinated beverages. The efforts seem to be reaching some success.

“The Green Bean did a great job with advertising and spreading the word. They really got a lot of people to turn out,” McDonald said.

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