Over my years at St. Olaf, I have attended four concerts put on by the Music Entertainment Committee (MEC): Trampled by Turtles, Matt and Kim, Local Natives and Dessa. Matt and Kim put on the best show. Local Natives was a good time thanks to a pre-concert case of Special Export. I stood next to some great people for the Trampled by Turtles show and a not-so-great 40 year-old at the Dessa show who wouldn’t let me dance. From these experiences, I’ve come to expect good music, albeit not quite good enough music to shape my night, that’s ultimately worth the $20 total I’ve spent on tickets.
The concert experience consistently feels the same. I never know all of the artist’s music. I buy my ticket the day before the concert. I find some good people to go with, and when the concert is over, drift from The Pause to the rest of my night. Then, the following morning, I wake up to find my phone screen teeming with people groaning about the awful concert.
Yet, instead of actively discussing or critiquing the music acts, those posting write shallow “reviews” simply out of a desire to complain about something. Dessa sucked. Local Natives sucked. Betty Who sucked. Caroline Smith sucked. Brother Ali sucked. Everything sucked. Insightful comments are lost in droning hate.
This discussion devolves further when people attempt to preach to the concert grumps. People who know very little about Northfield lecture to those who complain about our small school, tiny venue and lame concert culture. Others cite the drinking policy as the problem behind “unsatisfactory” concerts; we can’t get Rae Shremmurd when he requires two bottles of Ace of Spades Champagne, two bottles of Moet Chandon Champagne and a bottle of Hennessy in his dressing room before the show.
Some insist that money is to blame. We have less than $30 thousand to spend on an act each semester, which puts most renowned and more well-known groups out of our budget and thus out of our reach.
It’s true that all of these factors may contribute to the unattainability of some music groups, but because the only action taken is to vent frustration over Facebook and Yik Yak, nothing changes.
The post-concert dialogue is an example of a pervasive campus issue: people identify problems and then stop, going no further than the mere identification of the trouble. Rather than working for the change they wish to see, students turn to social media platforms in search of solidarity and the opportunity to vent.
There are productive ways in which disgruntled students can change the concert series at St. Olaf. On their website, MEC describes themselves as an organization devoted to finding “diverse concerts, music events, and other forms of music entertainment that cater to the varied interests of St. Olaf students.”
If you don’t feel MEC is realizing their mission, then contact the organization on Oleville. MEC wants student input. Go to MEC, click on the “together” button and give them a name for the spring concert.
My vote goes to Shaggy, Jeremih, Thugger or Akon.
Andrew Hoffman ’16 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Walla Wall, Wash. He majors in physics and mathamatics.