WLFM brings a rare gem to Riverview -rws -dlh

Paul Karner

The performances in Riverview Lounge last Saturday were somewhat atypical of those frequently seen at Lawrence. There were no tuxes, no ushers, no bows, hell, there weren’t even seats. There weren’t any of these, my fellow Lawrentians, because what took place on Saturday night was none other than a genuine rock show, a regrettably rare occurrence at our so-called “liberal arts” college. Thanks to the staff at WLFM, Lawrence was given a glimpse into the subculture phenomenon known as rock ‘n’ roll.
Considering that this might be a little hard to swallow for much of the music-savvy student population, the show was opened with some experimental/improvisational music by four LU composers who called themselves the Improvisation Chamber Ensemble of Lawrence University. Equipped with laptops, guitars, microphones, and of course, an electric tuba, ICELU presented their twisted soundscapes to a reluctant and slightly confused group of rock kids, most of whom took the time to check out the Union Grill.
After the set, which I believe included an avant-garde cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” many of the connies trickled out and the local rock fans saw that Riverview was once again safe to enter. The first rock band, The Hamburgers, played a typical skater-punk set with a couple of fist-throwing anthems thrown in, highlighted perhaps by a friend in the crowd who interrupted the set to do a backflip.
The Obsoletes brought a more dignified presence to the stage with their clever songs and more reserved energy. Hailing from Milwaukee, their set featured a lead guitarist whose harmonica, nice beard, and tasteful use of the slide took nothing away from the energy of the performance.
The Leg Hounds, however, earned the best guitarist award as their lead ax-man blazed his way through the fast paced songs. Their straightforward, slightly-nostalgic rock ‘n’ roll hooks, coupled with their matching red ties, made this band quite the crowd-pleaser despite the members’ tough-guy demeanors.
The Mystery Girls gave perhaps the most distinctive performance of the night, with some of the most intense blues-rock this side of the Fox River. Surprisingly sincere, these homely rockers from Green Bay gave a performance that was enjoyable and even gripping at times.
The show was well attended, though it was a bit disappointing to see that the local Appleton scenesters in the crowd outnumbered Lawrence students by about 15 to 1. Come on everyone, it’s not often that you get a chance to rock out here at Lawrence, so next time an opportunity like this rolls around, let’s be a little more adventurous.