On the night of Thursday, Feb. 2, the lights in the Mead-Witter room were dimmed, the couches lined up in front of a meager stage. Students trickled in, and by 8 p.m., most of the couches were filled for the first act of the Winter Carnival concert: MF Gritz. The group—composed of vocals, bass, drums, piano, sax and trumpet—delivered a collection of covers from Earth, Wind & Fire to Vulfpeck to Chance the Rapper, along with a couple original songs: “Lady in Red” and “Blank Check.” The sounds were consistently smooth and funky, making me want to get up and dance; I heard a couple of people after the show tell the group they should perform at more parties—a suggestion with which I have to agree.
After a short, fifteen-minute break, CRME SCNE—pronounced “Crime Scene”—took the stage. A one-man EDM act, he started off the hour by describing its contents: “a little trap, a little house… and I might spew my thoughts a little bit.” And thoughts he did spew. Although he told the audience that he would be performing “more of a listening set” where he would “not really be doing much,” the hour wasn’t nearly as boring as he joked it would be. It was filled with dry and often self-deprecating humor, and a lot of dancing—if not from anybody but CRME SCNE himself. The music was exactly what he said it would be—plenty of breathy female vocals and repetitive drum and bass tracks—but what really made it entertaining was the artist’s awareness of and ability to joke about both the musical archetype he was fulfilling and the dearth of people that were there, at that point in the night, to witness it.
Towards the end of his set, more students started settling in, and at 10:15 p.m., the Lawrence-famous Rat Park took the stage. Dedicated fans and friends whooped and yelled as they began their set with The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” complete with wah-heavy guitar and jazzy sax solos. They covered Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” as well, starting off smooth with some soft sax and guitar and working up to a fast and lively ending. Much of Rat Park’s set, however, was made up of original songs like “Round and Round” and fan-favorite “Mary Don’t Go,” which got audience members off of their couches and onto the dance floor. All of these originals can be found on Rat Park’s Soundcloud—soundcloud.com/ratparkband—and you can support their upcoming debut album, “Lida,” at gofundme.com/rat-park-debut-album-lida.
The Winter Carnival concert, along with the President’s Ball and other Winter Carnival events, was put on by Lawrence University’s Event Planning and Organization Committee (EPOC). To watch for future events similar to these, like them on Facebook!