September 28, 2004

Rockin' Out at The Rat
By Canyon Cody
Published in The Heights

During a particularly loud moment in Asobi Seksu's performance in the Rat last Tuesday, the three Boston College police officers working at the event stared at the oncoming wall of noise with a mixed expression of confusion and irritation. Fortunately, they seemed to be the only ones not having fun, as the rest of the crowd obviously enjoyed the trio of indie-rock performances.

The event was co-sponsored by WZBC and the UGBC as part of the ongoing concert series in the basement of Lyons. Up-and-coming rock groups Paula Kelley, Asobi Seksu, and 27 were on all on the bill for the show.

Unfortunately, a late beginning and a long set from Paula Kelley left only 45 minutes for the two other bands. Kelley performed songs from her 2003 album The Trouble With Success, which was chosen as one of the best local albums of the year by the Boston Herald and the Phoenix.

The show was preceded by a talk given by Eric Reeves in Devlin 008. Reeves is a professor at Smith College who has testified several times before Congress on the ongoing crisis in the Sudan.

In addition, the $5 suggested donation at the concert went to the non-profit organization Doctors Without Borders in support of Genocide Awareness week.

The highlight of the evening was surely Asobi Seksu. The foursome demonstrated a delicate ability to create an overwhelming rush of white noise while nevertheless retaining a melodic, almost pop sound, reminiscent of groups like My Bloody Valentine. The group has found a considerable following in the last few years and, despite WZBC's motto of "No Commercial Potential," Asobi Seksu even has a video on current circulation on MTVu.

Lead singer and keyboard player Yuki Chikudate has a beautiful, soaring voice that still struggled to stay above the thumping drums and thundering guitar of the band. Asobi Seksu's songs would build up to an explosion of sound that approached the noise of a jet engine, only to be perfectly deconstructed to the barebone kickdrum of drummer Keith Hopkin and built back up again.

The last to take the stage, 27, warned that it would only play three songs, which worked out considering the fact that they were only left 15 minutes. The threesome, like the other two bands, boasted a female lead singer. In terms of the sheer mass of sound, 27 sounded quiet following Asobi Seksu. In sharp contrast to the spastic guitar playing of Asobi Seksu guitarist, James Hanna, who would jump around the stage as he thrashed away, 27's guitarist sat quietly in a chair onstage as he plucked away.

How could you tell the concert was a success? There were even groups of students dancing, which is always rare at a BC event. WZBC and the UGBC will continue to sponsor the concert series in the Rat throughout the year.

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