MusicDecember 1, 2011 at 6:52 am

Collective Action

Collective debuts tonight with free concert.

Penn has long been a hotbed of musical activity. Now the scene is stronger than ever, thanks in part to the Penn Music Collective, a group designed by student musicians for student musicians looking to branch out. Tonight, SPEC Concerts is hosting the first Penn Music Collective concert, featuring four independent student bands. Street sat down with David Berliner and Adam Savitt, members of Silk City and Fat Panther, respectively, to talk about the inaugural concert they helped to organize and the current state of Penn’s music community.

Street: What is the Penn music community like?
David Berliner: Insular.
Adam Savitt: It’s not insular, it’s small.
DB: We stick together because we don’t have a formal sign up sheet. Like, if I was gonna sign up for a jazz combo I’d register for it on Penn InTouch and I’d get half a credit for it at the end of the semester. So with this, the more we play together, the more I get to meet other guys that are interested in music, the more their friends are interested in music. The reason why we wanted to call it a collective is we want to keep expanding that.
AS: And there are kids playing.  There are a ton of kids playing at Penn, but in these pockets. And there are pockets of kids playing and sometimes you’ll meet someone from another pocket and realize there’s this whole other group of kids playing that you never knew was playing before. I didn’t know anything about David and his band until we met through Mask and Wig.

Street: How did you get teamed up with the Vagina Monologues?
DB: That was kind of a later addition; it was after we met with SPEC. Adam and I always wanted to do some sort of charity concert, and we thought of getting Vagina Monologues to kind of do an awareness participation thing. So we asked them if they wanted to be involved in whatever form they wanted and we’re collecting donations for them and they’re selling merchandise. And there may or may not be a bake sale.
AS: Penn is a baking community. But in that same vein, we were trying to integrate other performing artists and artists in general in the Penn community, not just musicians. And so we also recruited graphic designers and artists that are in the Penn community and students here to design our posters, to design our flyers and things like that.

Street: Where do you see the trajectory of the Penn music community going?
AS: I would say the best case scenario is that this turns into a situation where bands like David’s and my band who’ve both been playing for a while and kind of know the scene, know how to get gigs, know how to bargain with venues and get compensated (barely) can pass that knowledge on to younger bands.
DB: We decided if we linked up with SPEC and Vagina Monologues and really did it right and got people on campus who are really motivated and involved in a lot of things to take a stake in the concert, then this could be something that happens maybe every year. We’ve had four years of awesome musical experiences at Penn, and clearly we love the school, but we’re graduating in the spring and just because we’re graduating we don’t want this independent student rock thing to go away. So hopefully we can keep it going.
AS: I think when it comes down to it, the most important thing with this event is to throw an awesome concert that a lot of people come to and really enjoy and have a musical experience and be touched and we can provide that during our last dwindling hours as Penn students.

A LOOK AT THE BANDS

Fat Panther
This five–piece rock band has been keeping busy since the 2010 release of their debut EP, Anti–Gravity Party Chamber, performing regularly at concert venues across the city and even earning a weekly slot at Smoke’s last spring. With the members all formally trained in diverse musical idioms such as Brazilian samba percussion and funk bass, Fat Panther delivers an eclectic brand of high–energy rock that keeps audiences wanting more.
Electric Hearts by FatPanther

Slow Dance Chubby
Banned from four different Penn music practice rooms due to noise violations during their first year as a band, Slow Dance Chubby has since come to friendlier terms with Penn’s music community, becoming the go–to band for frat parties and official Penn events alike. If their name isn’t enough innuendo for you, stop by their Facebook page to grab a copy of their EP, The Grower.
Railroad by SlowDanceChubby

Silk City
They used to be the Buck Claytons, but a visit to the Silk City Diner motivated this five–piece rock group to become a band by the same name. Be sure to check out their new releases on the Silk City Facebook page and bring a camera to the  show — they’re highly photogenic.
Olivia by silkcity

Red Giants
Astronomy isn’t the only thing these cats have in common. Check out their new six–track EP at www.RedGiantsband.com for some joosey jams and saucey sauce. Mmm.
(*Disclaimer: Music Editor Jake Spinowitz is a member of Red Giants)
KO by redgiants

 
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