Our View

by Support local music

Let’s give ourselves a minute to be disappointed. After all, when it was announced that The Ready Set would be performing in Simpson College’s Black Box Theater, we were all excited enough to have a reaction.

Whether we were fans or not, hosting an artist whose song ‘Love Like Woe’ listed #27 on Billboard’s Hot 100 songs in 2010 (#15 on the Pop chart) is a big enough deal that we were all talking about it, and probably were ready to hit the show.

So yes, it’s okay to be disappointed.

We were disappointed enough that the canceled show brought complaints among students that no one ever comes to Simpson. Good musical acts, like The Ready Set, Fun., and other artists we hear on the radio seem to be out of our reach, and we just need to accept that good music won’t be visiting this campus.

Except….do we?

We have had a concert already this year. On College Radio Day on Tuesday, Oct. 20, Des Moines-based singer-songwriter Ryne Doughty performed a free concert for students in Dirlam Lounge. Attendance was small, with only around 20 people in the audience.

People who didn’t go claimed they weren’t into ‘that kind’ of music.

But those who went had a great night and the concert took relatively little production from student volunteers.

Josh Vietti, the pop violinist, had a larger audience when he performed at the annual Stand Around. Although students hadn’t intended to come just for him, his pop song covers and original tracks had people dancing the night away.

Why does so much attention go into rare ‘big performances’ when we have great music all around on campus? Writing off a smaller musician just because you haven’t heard their sound before isn’t learning.

If we are a campus of music lovers (as students insist), we shouldn’t just be listening to what we’re ‘used’ to. College is about expanding the mind and learning new things. Shouldn’t we be more open to hearing new things as well?

It’s a bummer Kent won’t be hosting its first concert this November, but there are other options to get shows in there as well. Perhaps hosting a monthly acoustic show featuring quality local artists such as Doughty could build a regular following at Simpson.

Downtown Des Moines venues like Vaudeville Mews and Wooly’s have great acts scheduled during the year. Has CAB looked to see if they would consider some form of a partnership?

Maybe one of these venues would be able to offer discounted tickets to students through CAB. Maybe they would help connect us with a band that would play on campus.

Maybe not. We won’t know until we ask.

This isn’t a criticism of how The Ready Set show turned out, but a reminder to students: slow down. Look around. We may not have the stars on campus, but stars have to come from someplace.