It’s a Friday night, no, a Saturday morning, and a hard bass line from electro heroes Justice makes the room pulse. You feel it in the floor, you feel it in your teeth. There’s little room to dance, but that’s not stopping anyone. You’re covered in sweat that mostly isn’t yours, or maybe it is, depending. Strangers are making out, the DJs spin a flawless mash-up and, if you’re like most of the crowd, you hope you’ll remember this in the morning.
A Brooklyn club? Try Wesleyan’s own Psi U. On Sept. 21st, the fraternity hosted an arguably unprecedented party featuring Brooklyn DJ collective Rage Mountain and the University’s own freshman duo Chrome Punch. Planned by Psi U brothers Derek Silverman ’09 and Jeff Biz ’10, the party kept students dancing until 2 a.m.
Tired of monotonous music and Public Safety crackdowns, Silverman—who has been involved in promoting shows and parties on campus since last year—decided to take advantage of bringing in outside acts.
“If we aren’t getting acts on campus, it is because students aren’t taking the initiative to make it happen,” Silverman said. “I would encourage anyone with an interest to put something together. Unless you are trying to bring Blondie to campus, you can find the money, the venue and the audience.”
Biz and Silverman also view hosting such events as a creative method for cultivating solidarity with new Psi U members. Rather than simply indulge in copious amounts of illicit substances, the dance party served as a way for members to mix with the community and have fun.
Other students believe the event’s success was in its music.
“I really enjoyed [it] because it was really different from what you normally hear at Psi U, or any other frats,” said Jessie Schiewe ’10. “It was very danceable, the mix of indie and electro was perfect. It was more balanced music…The room was hot and packed but everyone was still having a great time.”
Indeed, rather than play the tired, disjointed hip-hop chart hits that are the default for many University society parties—sorry, Sex Party—the DJ sets featured a blend of electro, indie, old school and hip-hop. Integrated with both Rage Mountain and Chrome Punch’s own mash-ups, songs like Justice’s “Genesis” flowed seamlessly into Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” Even the epileptic dance rock of the Rapture melded into the smooth, slow choruses of R. Kelly.
“We were happy with the response of everybody at the event, and we got a lot of really good feedback in the days following the show,” said Chrome Punch’s own Ian Johnson ’11.
Paired with Harrison Schaaf ’11, the duo, who went to high school together in Los Angeles, was supposed to warm the crowd up before Rage’s set. Johnson said that their performance went beyond that.
“We feel like we might’ve worn the crowd out a little more than Rage Mountain might have expected,” Johnson said. “But we knew we would have limited time to rock our shit, so we decided to go all out in the time allotted.”
So did the crowd. At midnight it was hard to distinguish through the clogged doorway who was stumbling out of the frat to get some much-needed air, and who was wrapped around the staircase, waiting in line to get in.
Johnson may have been wrong about wearing partygoers down, however. Silverman, who met Rage Mountain through a Brooklyn-based film finance company this summer, says the group was eager to play at the University and received one of their biggest crowds yet. With the venue over capacity, expenses covered and students dancing until the last beat faded, the host says his only regret is that he wished “it was ten degrees cooler in that room and we had more space to accommodate everyone!”
It’s well known that when campus gets too insular, students flee to NYC to find haven at concerts and dance clubs. But it seems that Psi U is taking the initiative to bring such adrenaline-respites to us. So if you missed last Friday’s party, the semester is just warming up.
“The Return of Rage Mountain’ has a nice ring to it,” Silverman said.
With acts like Flosstradamus and larger venues like Beckham Hall also lined up, there’ll be plenty more opportunities to break a sweat on the dance floor.