The Oberlin Review

Musician Profile: Jazz Pianist Nicki Adams

Meghan Farnsworth

April 15, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Features, Music

“Oh, I’ve got a huge outie,” Conservatory senior Nicholas “Nicki” Adams laughs as he stands by the piano. “Have you heard of the belly button snatcher? Yeah, I read about him once when I was a kid, and I was so scared of him. He would snatch belly buttons!” With his bright, generous smile and light laugh, jazz pianist Adams is a strong yet innocent personality who has charmed many on the Oberlin campus. Today, he is clad in loose, worn pants and a borrowed sweater aged with holes. Yet it is his shoes that draw my attention even closer: sage-green sneakers with holes in the toes. Adams’s approach to life, as well as his approach to music, is as unique as his shoes (not to mention his belly button)....

Riot Grrrl Rocks the ‘Sco

Riot Grrrl Rocks the ‘Sco

April 15, 2011

For anyone who thinks that feminism is a fading trend, one look at the ’Sco during Riot Grrrl Night last Thursday, jam-packed with kids of all genders thrashing and singing at the top of their lungs in a raucous ode to female empowerment, would change their mind. The event, sponsored by The Oberlin Review, WOBC, the Luce Professorship of the Emerging Arts and the Creative Writing department, paid tribute to the Riot Grrrl movement — an underground punk-rock and activism phenomenon with roo...

On the Record: The Mysterious Daniel Johnston

Beatrice Rothbaum, Editor-In-Chief

April 15, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music, On the Record

There are a lot of compilations of your work, like the Story of An Artist box set that was released last year. Are you still fond of your earlier recordings? I don’t really listen to it that much, but when I’m with friends sometimes and they put it on, it’s not bad to hear it. Then I think, ‘Wow, I write pretty good, I wonder if I can still do it.’ Then when I’m writing, I think, ‘This is a bit more advanced. And it’s gonna be better than that on real records with good production.’ So, for the most part it’s still the same, except I’m recording in a real studio. You have a new comic book coming out— Yeah, Space Ducks. Can you tell me a little about it? It’s about the adventures ...

JackFest!: Controversial Student-Run Music Festival Reveals Headliners

JackFest!: Controversial Student-Run Music Festival Reveals Headliners

April 15, 2011

“This is what I want to do with my life. This is my passion,” said College senior Jackworth Smith in an interview last Friday. Smith was referring to JackFest, a promising yet controversial music festival that he and fellow collaborator, College senior Harry Israelson, have planned for this May 14. The day of music will be held on North Fields and will feature both student bands and popular touring acts. The exciting headliners include Canadian indie rock band Born Ruffians, British hip-...

On The Record: The Vivian Girls

Beatrice Rothbaum, Editor-in-Chief

April 6, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music, On the Record

Perhaps the most significant lo-fi act to emerge from the Brooklyn scene in the last few years, the Vivian Girls followed their 2008 self-titled debut with Everything Goes Wrong in 2009. The trio’s songs tend to consist of two or three chords apiece, the vocals are often off-key and the lyrics are repetitive and simplistic. While this may be a typical punk rock formula, the Vivian Girls take that rudimentary noise blueprint and twist it into a storm of passion and anguish. The band inspires fierce dedication and just-as-fierce disdain because that’s how rock music should be — edgy and exciting and evocative on a gut level. For a seeming straightforward punk band, the Vivian Girls’ influence is visible in a gro...

Music Preview: Upcoming Oberlin Concerts

Adrian Rew

April 6, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music

4/7 — Riot Grrrl Night — 10 p.m. at the ’Sco — Free A night celebrating the underground feminist punk movement of the ’90s features a reading by Oberlin graduate Sara Marcus, OC ’99, from her recently published book Girls To The Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution, performances by WAM! (Women and Art Music Ensemble) and Oberlin’s reunited Bikini Kill Cover Band. The night also showcases DJ sets by Chelsey Johnson, Sara Marcus and more. 4/10 — Jandek — 8 p.m. at the ’Sco — $3 w/ OCID, $7 w/o Jandek is the musical project of a legendary outsider musician from Houston, TX, who has released records of unconventional folk, blues and spoken word since 1978. Very little is known abou...

Lackluster Rappers Fail to Inspire

Angus Chen

March 18, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music

If you walked into the ’Sco last Tuesday night, you would have seen College sophomore Brian Becker lifted shoulder-high by a group of hip-hoppers, cheering on the raised stage. The rappers unburdened with Becker’s weight stood to the side, pumping their fists in encouragement. Following this exhilarating moment, Becker dropped back to the ground and launched into a beat that proved less than remarkable, an anticlimax that set a precedent for an evening that primarily featured lackluster and monotonous performances. The Northern Ohio Hip-Hop Showcase, featuring a collective of rappers known as East of Cleveland, started slow, held up by the rappers posing for pictures and milling around the bar. As people slowly...

New Student Hip-Hop Collective Slams into Oberlin

New Student Hip-Hop Collective Slams into Oberlin

March 18, 2011

Oberlin’s hip-hop scene exploded onto the forefront of campus activity last Thursday, March 10, with a performance by the Wilder Hip Hop Collective. The group’s debut show at the ’Sco, titled “The First Episode,” kicked off the night with beats that shattered the ground and thumped through the crowd. For the next two and a half hours, the Collective spat out original lyrics and sets by Oberlin students to the delight of a wildly cheering crowd. MCs dropped rhyme after rhyme into a hungry...

Talented Cast Conquers Updated Mozart Opera La Clemenza di Tito

Meghan Farnsworth

March 18, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music

Darkness surrounded Hall Auditorium as a head bopped into view in the middle of the orchestra pit. The head belonged to guest conductor Niels Muus, who established a commanding yet amiable persona from the very beginning of the overture. Right after the orchestra finished, the curtain lifted and luminescent, metallic Romanesque columns appeared before the audience’s eyes. So began the opening night performance of Oberlin Opera Theater’s production of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. Written during the last year of his life between July and September 1791, Mozart finished La Clemenza on the eve of its initial performance. Accordingly, the opera is often criticized for its hastily compiled nature; however, duri...

Contemporary Music Ensemble Attracts New Fans

Sonia Wurzel, Staff Writer

March 18, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music

One of the best things about coming to Oberlin as an Arts and Sciences student is the opportunity to take advantage of the Conservatory. Not only does the Conservatory give students the chance to take secondary lessons, it also provides the opportunity to hear genres of music that they might not have the chance to experience elsewhere. I had such an experience Friday night in Warner Concert Hall, where the Contemporary Music Ensemble, conducted by Professor of Conducting Tim Weiss, performed three incredibly engaging pieces. The label “contemporary music” encompasses a diverse variety of music that can be applied to anything composed after 1945 that does not adhere to the classical ensemble tradition. The genre...

Grammy Winner Spalding Delivers Pristine Performance in Finney Chapel

Dan Stein

March 18, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music

Last Wednesday, jazz singer/bassist and Best New Artist Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding treated Oberlin to a concert with her band, the Chamber Music Society, at Finney Chapel. The night was mostly comprised of songs from Spalding’s new album Chamber Music Society, an eclectic, classically-influenced record that serves as a dramatic departure from her funkier and more pop-oriented debut, Esperanza. During a pre-show Q&A with students at the Kohl Building, Spalding described Chamber Music Society as “different from what we were doing two years ago — I’m not egging the audience on to like it. The concert is really quiet, and the reaction is totally different ... it’s conceptual and sometimes people get i...

Firecracker MC Young Unique Sets Sparks in ‘Sco

Linus Ignatius

March 11, 2011

Filed under ARTS, Music

Last Friday, March 4, brought a much-anticipated act to the ’Sco: the young, firecracker emcee Dominique Young Unique. Spitting rhymes sharp as daggers in her baby-doll voice to a densely packed crowd, the Tampa Bay rapper practically transformed the space into a city nightclub, turning the Dionysus Disco into an orgiastic, bacchanalian celebration of our youth. The opening acts — Pepepiano and Teengirl Fantasy — eased the growing crowd into a sensual trance. The night began as Pepepiano hit the stage, filling up the ’Sco with kaleidoscopic, melty electronica, engineered for loosening up the joints. Soon after, Teengirl Fantasy took over, imbuing the swirling soundscape with a heavy backbeat and a summery...

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