The Beggars: a new energy source on campus

Ben Levine

Last Saturday, May 24, Lawrence University music group The Beggars held an open rehearsal in the chapel. This event was well attended by the Lawrence community and was a high-energy performance by a growing band on campus.
The Beggars came together as a group last term. Lead vocalist Liam O’Brien spearheaded the group when he contacted the other members, expressing a desire to collaborate. When all of the people he had contacted got together, O’Brien says that they “clicked instantly.”
Self-described as “freakcore,” The Beggars’ unique sound comes from a variety of influences, though the group sites the post-punk era as having the strongest influence on the sound. Groups from this era include The Stooges, The Velvet Underground and The Talking Heads. O’Brien also cites Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, David Bowie, and most importantly, Tom Waits, as other notable influences on The Beggars.
However, The Beggars were not alone at the performance. A few of the members of the band were in different groups that also performed. These bands were The Dharma Bums, featuring drummer Collin McCanna and Signal To Noise Ratio, featuring bassist Wilmer Chan.
The Beggars played a set that mixed originals with covers. Groups covered by The Beggars included The Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan, but the band tended to stick to originals, of which they now have nine.
The members of the group each played their part when it came to putting on an entertaining show. The Beggars’ main goal in when performing is to entertain with varying and exciting stage exhibitions. According to O’Brian, they really try “to get into the music that [they] play.” For O’Brien personally, performing is a total rush. He likens being onstage to “a drug or an orgasm.” It is this type of passion that the band hopes to project to the audience.
From the looks of the audience, it seems that the group was successful in achieving this goal. People were having a great time and just enjoying the music. Some even found the band’s music to be very emotional. One particular audience member reported coming to tears when The Beggars played “Saint Marie.”
While The Beggars are a relatively new music group, they have gained quite a reputation for their performances. All the members of the group plan to stay in Appleton this summer and continue working on the project. They hope to have some songs recorded by the start of the next school year. The Chapel performance is available both on The Beggars’ Myspace and pages.