Radical Performance Machine, a student collective dedicated to sponsoring concerts, continues its legacy of bringing awesome musical talents to campus with My Brightest Diamond playing Memorial Chapel this Saturday. The student group is also responsible for popular past concerts that include last semester’s Titus Andronicus and Bear in Heaven shows and last year’s Beach House and Yeasayer shows, some of the most well-received recent musical events on campus.
My Brightest Diamond is the project of Shara Worden. The project’s sound “combines elements of rock and classical music,” according to the band’s website. They have released two albums, “Bring Me the Workhorse,” which was released in 2006 and “A Thousand Shark’s Teeth,” released in 2008. Recently Worden has collaborated with Sufjan Stevens and The Decemberists, singing in their rock opera “The Hazards of Love.”
Worden’s songs combine her dreamy, ephemeral voice with both rock-style guitar solos and the searing notes of a string ensemble. The band’s two albums reflect the split personality that the group embodies: “Bring Me the Workhorse” has more of a rock vibe, while the addition of a string quartet to the songs on “A Thousand Shark’s Teeth” gives the album its contemporary-classical feel. The choice of the Memorial Chapel for the concert suits this rock/opera mixture, as well as reflecting Worden’s gospel choir roots.
Mickey Capper ’13, who arranged to have the band play, selected My Brightest Diamond specifically for their chill vibe.
“I felt that a lot of the concerts here have more of a party environment, and that’s great, but a concert can do a lot of things, and this year, I wanted to put together a concert in the chapel that was fun,” Capper said.
Thanks to Capper’s hard work, the concert is a relative bargain for Wes students.
“[Worden is] only doing two other shows like this and in NYC, tickets were $35-$75, so I’ve been proud to offer the show to Wes students for $4,” Capper said.
Joining My Brightest Diamond at Saturday’s concert is Emily Wells, a multi-instrumentalist whose style “merge[s] hip-hop and classical,” according to her website. Although Wells is only in her early twenties, she has already earned attention from many big media outlets. The Wall Street Journal called her album “The Symphonies: Dreams Memories & Parties” a “warm, intriguing slice of avant-garde pop,” while The New Yorker described her music as a layering of Wells’ “elfin voice over spectral string arrangements and brushstroked hip-hop percussion … [it is] a highly theatrical labyrinth of rap, gothic folk, classical, and electronica songs.”
Capper enjoyed discovering Wells’ sound.
“I think she will put on a really unique and impressive performance as she builds her hip-hop/classical beats on-stage with a loop machine and a violin,” Capper said.
Wesleyan Student Mel Hsu ’13 will also perform at the concert, singing and playing the cello.