WMHC brings local bands to campus for concert

Photo by Flannery Langton ’22.  Local band BIG MOOD performs on stage at a WMHC-sponsored concert Thursday evening in Blanchard.

Photo by Flannery Langton ’22.

Local band BIG MOOD performs on stage at a WMHC-sponsored concert Thursday evening in Blanchard.

BY SABRYNA COPPOLA ’22

Last Thursday, Feb. 7, WMHC hosted DIY bands BIG MOOD, DUMP HIM and Told Slant in the Blanchard Great Room. The concert drew a large crowd from the Five College community. Based in Amherst, BIG MOOD describe themselves as “wmass thot rock.” DUMP HIM is a “pop punk queercore revival” band from Northampton and Told Slant is an indie-pop group from Brooklyn, NY.

BIG MOOD took the stage first, with lead singer Judge Russel and guitarist Razi Esther wearing matching lipstick. Llewyn Thomas ’21 said that despite BIG MOOD’s rock-centric sound, “their most compelling moments were created with just the singer’s voice and a soft guitar.” The songs played were very upbeat and included sweet and uplifting lyrics such as, “there’s a hell of a lot more love than I thought there was.” The band finished their set by inviting the audience closer to the stage and ending with a song that had the whole crowd dancing.

Before their last song, BIG MOOD made an announcement in support of Hampshire students’ sit-in protesting a lack of transparency from their College’s administration. They also rallied support for Flywheel Arts Collective, a venue in Easthampton that provides a jumping-off point for local bands.

BIG MOOD’s bassist, Mads Mclaughlin, described the group’s sound as “pop-rock.” Esther explained that the original band members had met at a party at UMass and “[we] somehow started talking about ‘P.S. Eliot’ and ‘Swearin’’ and ‘Dyke Drama’ and other bands that we liked. And then we were like, ‘let’s start a band!’” The group mentioned that one of their members, Larisa Millman ’20, is a Mount Holyoke student who is currently abroad in Russia.

DUMP HIM took the stage shortly after, with the lead singer’s guitar sporting a sticker that read “heterosexuality is a sin.” Band members talked to the audience and made fun of each other, contributing to a casual and fun atmosphere between energetic songs with heavy guitar and fierce vocals. Many people in the crowd were familiar with the group and danced along with the band members. Ayu Suryawan ’22 is a WMHC radio DJ, and was collecting donations at the show. She said that DUMP HIM’s performance had “a more punk-rock type mood” and is her “personal favorite” of the groups.

Told Slant’s Felix Walworth took the stage last with just an electric guitar and an amp. They talked to the crowd between every song and borrowed a guitar pick from Sage Territo, a Hampshire student. Told Slant received a few requests for their older songs, and were happy to oblige. After Walworth invited the crowd to sit, all were transfixed by their raw, emotional vocals. Told Slant is known for their melancholy lo-fi songs. Thomas said that “they harnessed the atmosphere of the show the best — because there wasn’t a huge audience, we could all sit down and listen to them perform some quiet songs.”

Colleen Adams is a Hampshire student who has been “listening to Told Slant for years.” They said, “I loved how intimate the show was; it was really cool.” Territo gave Walworth the guitar pick that they had used during the show and said that “their favorite musician played with it, so now it’s theirs.”

During the performance, Walworth also spoke about donating to Flywheel to keep it open; they said that “the altright is trying to close down DIY music spaces” by persuading fire departments to fail the venues’ fire inspections. They encouraged the audience to donate to local music venues, especially Flywheel, to give budding artists a place to share their work.

The size of the venue allowed lots of interaction between the artists and the audience, lending the entire performance a feeling of closeness and connection. The range in genre between the bands allowed for three different experiences, all bound by a passionate crowd. “Everyone was there with open ears and hearts ready to listen to some wonderful people,” said Suruawan.