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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Hitting all the right notes

By Dawson Finley

 

The crowds in the Viking Union Friday, Nov. 17, found themselves in the midst of an intimate atmosphere, where bands and fans alike enjoyed surrounding themselves with a full range of musical talent.

The show featured three rock acts; headliner Jay Som, The Wednesdays and Chastity Belt.

While the concert was scheduled to start at 6 p.m., groups gathered around the Viking Union Multi-Purpose Room beforehand excitedly waiting to enter the venue, not deterred by the colder weather.

Sophomore Julia Furukawa said she was excited to see an empowered female band like Chastity Belt perform.

“I feel like it’s a really supportive environment to enjoy music,” she said. “I’m ready to dance.”

Inside the venue, multi-colored streamers lined the pillars and walls as the overhead disco ball reflected complex displays of light, illuminating the dance floor and a photo booth in the corner. The coat-hanger racks found opposite of the booth were filled as people shed their heavy layers before walking out onto the dance floor.

  • Guitarist Lydia Lund of Chastity Belt. // Photo by Katie Webber

Associated Students pop music coordinator and event organizer Dayjha McMillan introduced each act to the crowd as the night progressed. She provided commentary between the transitions, from the more aggressive stylings of The Wednesdays to the pop rock features of Chastity Belt and Jay Som.

The venue created an environment where the head bob was the more popular dance move of the night.

Around 200 tickets were sold for the event, a number that surprised McMillan.

“Originally, I thought maybe I would get 100 people [to attend], so I was expecting a pretty small turnout,” she said. “I was really shocked when I saw how many people showed up. That was really exciting.”

Between each set, the venue’s occupants shuffled about, heading between the merchandise tables in the back to purchase shirts and records, and to the exit to get some fresh air before the next band.

The concert even attracted non-Western students.

Whatcom County resident Elizabeth Mayo was getting a tattoo in her kitchen when she found out Chastity Belt was performing that night.

She immediately dropped everything to head to campus. For Mayo, the band played an important role in her life.

“I would not be me without realizing, via Chastity Belt, that I like music,” she said.

After living in the area for six months, she said the concert acted as a capstone for her Pacific Northwest experience.

Chastity Belt seemed to be a popular band for many of the people attending.

“I was really surprised at how many people knew Chastity Belt,” McMillan said. “I don’t think I really conceptualized the number of people that came to see them play.”

Senior Katie Ross said that the band played a lot of new music she hadn’t heard before, and it was cool to have had that experience.

The concert ended with Jay Som, leaving the night on a high note for those who attended.

The next AS Productions concert will be Sound Block, a festival-like concert series on campus, created by last year’s pop music coordinator Jonah Folk, on Dec. 7.

“We are going to announce the lineup very soon, most likely after Thanksgiving break,” she said.

The concert is planned to have a beach theme and as many as five to seven artists performing, McMillan said.

As last year’s Sound Block was an electronic dance music concert, McMillan said she wanted to keep a similar format, but expand it to different music genres.

It won’t be EDM music, but you’ll still be able to dance, she said.

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