So Aural Wes blogger and WESU DJ Max Lavine ’10 is pretty unhappy about the state of the music scene on campus, particularly in relation to the way Public Safety has been enforcing the Code of Non-Academic Conduct. The editorial, which was out of character for Aural Wes’ typical music review/preview fare, starts out expressing dissatisfaction that the second night of WESU’s 70th anniversary show, featuring the punk bands Queening, the Unholy Two, and Drunkdriver, was shut down by Public Safety after only one act. Lavine has some rough words for PSafe and administrators, arguing that the Wesleyan music scene is in decline because of unnecessarily strict PSafe policies. No one is spared, however; Lavine, a former WestCo resident, gives it to his WestCo inheritors, telling them to “fucking deal with” loud punk shows in the WestCo Cafe if they choose to live in the vicinity:
I’ve been organizing shows regularly on this campus for a good while now and it has become increasingly clear to me that Wesleyan has rapidly made itself into an environment that is extremely inhospitable to any sort of independent music scene. The bureaucratic requirements for booking shows are as myriad as they are constantly shifting and dysfunctional; most of the time when bookers have succeeded in jumping through each flaming hoop provided by the multiple organizations (who don’t really communicate with each other) necessary to deal with in booking, something tends to go awry anyway. When you’re dealing with bands whose primary income is not their music (e.g. 99% of working musicians), its terrible for them and embarassing for us when they get paid late or don’t get to play their set because someone was in a meeting, anonymous noise complaints get called in, or PSafe decides to arbitrarily exercise their power to end a perfectly well-mannered show.
I don’t want to make this out to simply be some kind of administrative conspiracy though. It is pretty obvious at this point that, relative to my freshman year, the administration has sought to regulate and normalize ever greater swathes of campus and has tended to turn autonomous student community like that found at student-run concerts into a liability to be controlled instead of something to be fostered and celebrated. And surprise, surprise the number of concerts that go on here has STEEPLY declined since my freshman year. But that’s only half the story.
Next is the section directed at current WestCo residents, which gets pretty salacious at parts:
WE, students of Wesleyan, are the other half. As a former 2-year Westco resident, the fact that Westco students complained about the FNU Ronnies/Homostupids show last week is pathetic and I wouldn’t be surprised if it had a direct result in PSafe’s unprecedented heavy handedness in shutting down the Drunkdriver show a week later. For one thing, each show in the Cafe is voted on by guidance; if you don’t want a punk show going til 2am in your basement then go vote it down and if that doesn’t work then FUCKING DEAL WITH IT. Your immature whining may have gotten real people with real lives fucked over, not to mention your fellow students. I remember a Westco where people were psyched because there was a show in the Cafe, any show, whether it was our personal “thing” or not, because it made it a more fun, exciting place to live, made it feel more like a creative community than just another college dorm. And yet it seems like at this point Westco residents want just the opposite.
The next part moves on to the rest of the student body, talking about people who arrive at shows only to “leave after 15 minutes, or disruptively blow through a room with a big crew on the way to the next party.”
Someone in the comments section mentioned that this sort of “diatribe” hasn’t been seen at Wes in several years. I agree. Wespeaks used to be a lot more interesting. Not sure what has happened, but its good to see this sort of visceral public fury being vented.