If I could write a devotional power ballad to the WRMC Concert Committee, I would. Aaron Slater ’16 and Arnav Adhikari ’16 are a dynamic, if skinny-legged little duo, and they are not messing around on the concert agenda this year. The annual Grooveyard concert is coming at you this Saturday, Nov. 16, a beat cornucopia (Thanksgiving metaphors!) featuring Com Truise and Twin Sister, right on the heels of last Saturday’s Chrome Sparks concert. What have we done to deserve this November weekend bounty? I was thrilled to see this double-header come up on the events calendar, with WRMC successfully responding to the student body desire for more small concerts expressed via an MCAB survey circa Fall 2011 regarding music event preferences on campus.
Chrome Sparks, a moniker of Jeremy Malvin, a tall, sensitive, impressively side-burned child of electronica out of U. Michigan, Ann Arbor, played a free late-night show in Coltrane Lounge to an exuberant crowd of sweaty 19-year-old boys and dry-mouthed girls on controlled substances and everyone in between. WRMC’s Creative Director Alan Sanders ’13.5 was appreciative of “the wide variety of scenes from the student body represented in the audience.”
When my friends and I rolled up around 11 p.m., Malvin had just begun his set and the room was already well filled-out, with lots of folks pressing together at the front to let the synths or Moogs or whatevers wash over them. Someone was passing around a silver vase full of purple fluid and people were head-snaking a little to figure out how to dance to Chrome Sparks’s quasi-challenging-for-dancing-purposes adagietto rhythms.
I knew I was going to like Chrome Sparks in concert because I appreciate his music and his Twitter presence. He posted a photo of himself and his bandmates in Montreal and you can tell they would be some fun liberal-artsy punks to hang out with, but they’ve also been blessed with some serious talent — each song hits with clean, percussive insistence and chill vibes. He’s got a couple EPs and singles out on his Bandcamp, and was exactly the right size outfit for a musical “mini event.”
Coltrane was a brilliant venue choice for this show — a space that kept the crowd intimate with the band, with lots of windowsills and radiators for stashing coats (a crucial feature). The porch stair entrance to Coltrane let the revelers spill out into the night for cigarettes, chilly air and conversations in between bops around the dance floor.
Vivian Cowan ’14 described it as “super dance-y” but noted that Chrome Sparks did not get started until an hour after the advertised time. But she thought the “background projection was awesome.”
Sanders also praised the cool multimedia dimension of the show.
“I loved their projected graphics, and thought they went very well with their music,” he said, in reference to the swirling images that mesmerized as the band played their sort of chillwavy electronic jams and Jeremy tossed his New Wave curls around. Reactions were overwhelmingly positive from the exit polls I conducted at the door.
“Great to see the Concerts Committee supporting live electronic music,” student band frontman Evan Allis ’15.5 said of the show. “I had a good dance.”
In case you missed it and you want to catch Chrome Sparks at some other point this month, they are in Cambridge, MA tomorrow night and at the prominent Williamsburg warehouse venue, 285 Kent, next week for the final stop on their tour. If concerts like this one and impending Grooveyard are the kinds of acts WRMC brought us this fall, then I cannot wait to attend the events that the Concert Committee Prom Kings plan for the rest of the academic year.