To say the line at the spring concert last Thursday, April 16, was long is an understatement. It went from the Student Recreation Center (SRC) through the connecting foyer to Alumni Gym and out the door. However, that line became considerably shorter when Dean of Students Anthony Campbell announced that the headlining band, Plain White T’s, would not be performing because its lead singer was sick. The two opening acts, Single File and Danger Radio, performed for a small crowd that was willing to stay. Those who did stay were pleasantly surprised, my friends and I among them.
Denver-based Single File performed first. Its set featured songs from its debut album with an energy reminiscent of Relient K’s earlier albums. The musicians’ energy helped them to perform a set that was definitely worth staying to see. The songs were catchy and those few who did know the lyrics were singing along, clearly enjoying the concert.
Danger Radio, a band hailing from Seattle, was also worth seeing. I actually preferred it. The band’s set was on par, perhaps even surpassing that of Single File. Catchy songs, along with a strong instrumental backdrop helped to rev up the crowd.
Both bands seemed to have a lot of fun on the stage set up in the SRC. They played their music, made banter and even joked about how their headliners were not playing. The drummers from both bands threw their sticks into the crowd, resulting in a scurry to get them. Overall, despite the initial disappointment that Plain White T’s could not perform that night, those who attended the spring concert left humming songs by Single File and Danger Radio instead of “Hey There Delilah.” What is the harm in that?
Many students and their guests came to the concert as fans of Plain White T’s. Their dissatisfaction that the band did not perform is understandable. However, it cannot be denied that the two opening acts played a great show. While to call it “a bait and switch” even would be understandable, smaller acts are generally dependent on bigger names to draw in the crowds so they can get their names out there and eventually break into the mainstream. Remember that up until the summer of 2007, few people had even heard of Plain White T’s. “Hey There Delilah” was on its third album in 2005. It spent 10 years virtually unknown.
How will the 2009 spring concert be remembered? Those who stayed will remember a night where two great indie-rock bands played sets at a concert that ended too early.
If Plain White T’s wants to come and actually perform at Rider, let’s welcome it back because it was what the students wanted, as demonstrated in the results of the Student Entertainment Council’s fall survey. However, the spring concert that did occur was worth staying for. I would be far more worried about how much money it cost the university for the band to set foot on campus when it did not even perform.
Jess is a freshman journalism major.