Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Mill’s final performance showcases a variety of student artists



For the final concert of the semester, the Mill was looking to bring infectious, feel good music right before the woes of finals week commenced. The festivities were kicked off by a couple of Trinity’s own acts, duo Cam & Leah and DJ Metasine. The Mill gladly provided a space for these students to flaunt their impressive talents; Trinity may be small but it has plenty of big music to share.

DJ Metasine, also known as junior Connor Proctor, opened up featuring a variety of catchy electro remixes along with his own innovative live sets, galvanizing quite the buzzing dance party amongst the crowd. “[I am] obsessed with sounds and the power they have over us,” says Proctor, “I had a blast performing with the bands and am excited for future shows there.” His work is heavily influenced by popular acts such as Pretty Lights and Michael Menert. As an upcoming artist, Metasine has been establishing his work on his Soundcloud and Facebook pages, putting forth a unique blend of electro music, mellow dubstep vibes and synthesizer lines that are ideal for both easy listening and live parties. He looks forward to dedicating more time to his music after graduating from Trinity.

With a collaboration dating back to freshman year, the hip-hop duo Cam & Leah brought a strong following out to the Mill, all excited to hear their more recent tracks. Leah’s smooth vocals as a backdrop to Cam’s Brooklyn rapping style resulted in a fun, interactive performance. The two have significantly refined their sound, progressing from a younger fun-loving sound seen in tracks such as “Trinity Girls,” to more profound lyrics with a grown up twist. Aside from their collaborative tracks, Cam and Leah spend serious time working on their individual work.

The student acts did an amazing job of setting up the ambiance for bands Ghost Beach and Fort Lean. The Mill aims to host more student shows during the spring and to attract student artists to use their facilities, such as the fully equipped recording studio. For those looking to get serious about becoming an artist, the Mill provides ample opportunities for producing mixtapes, EP albums, and establishing a presence on campus as well as among the other NESCACs.

For their third appearance at the Mill, Fort Lean was sure not to disappoint, performing tracks off of their recently released EP Change Your Name along with older hits. This quirky quintet from Brooklyn features Wesleyan graduates—frontman Keenan Mitchell, bassist Jake Aron, drummer Sam Ubl, guitarist Zach Fried, and keyboardist Will Runge. Fort Lean has received extensive praise from a variety of online music blogs, magazines, and newspapers, proving themselves to be a strong revival of the influential rock music seen in the sixties and seventies. Although the band describes Fort Lean as a “place you can go [where] the weather is perfect all the time,” their music projects “very nostalgic sort of references to the past which happen to be a lot of sixties references just in terms of harmonic progression.” “I want people to focus more on the darker elements of our songs,” says Aron during an interview with the Brightest Young Things blog. Despite the lyrical darkness they aim for, fans prefer the comically ambiguous term “jangly” to describe the feel of Fort Lean’s music; it suggests a jovial, beachy California vibe. Back in 2011, the New York Times commended Fort Lean for their shows all across the city, “this is a big band playing small rooms that, especially compared with many of the acts performing this week feels comically out of place.” Strongly inspired by this level of praise, Fort Lean hit the studio with a more serious attitude, spending more time writing the songs and improving their overall sound. Change Your Name was produced at the Manhattan Germano Studios by Chairlift’s Patrick Wimberly and mixed by the renowned Michael Brauer who has worked with the likes of the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. MTV HIVE raves about the EP, admiring their “big rock sound with intricacies and quirky touches like arena rock vocals and handclaps.” The frontman Mitchell comments “we’re a rock band that makes you feel good and real weird…our strategy is to make rock music we’d want to listen to and play it the best we can.” Fort Lean is on fast track to fame attracting very positive reviews from influential music reviews. The New York Times writes, “Three or four decades ago, Fort Lean would have been a mainstream success spawning emulators. Nowadays it’s a one of one, not that anyone should bother trying to compete.”

To close off the festivities, the “tropical grit pop band” Ghost Beach brought on feel good beats. Also hailing from Brooklyn, the duo has recently released their EP Modern Tongues, fully armed with retro synthesizer beats and tropical-pop, with a grungy twist. Reviews of the work have also been positive, likening the vocals to that of early Passion Pit and admiring their memorable lyrics. The duo frequently shares free downloads on their website as they work on their full length release projected to be out later this year. Both Fort Lean and Ghost Beach are in important points of their careers, excited to continue putting forth eclectic, innovative music.

The evening of the final fall concert was a wonderful combination of student acts and amazing new artists on the scene; it was exciting to see Fort Lean playing with Metasine. The Mill urges student acts to become a part of their shows, use the facilities, and put forth the kind of music performed this past weekend.

Many thanks to Cam & Leah, Metasine, Trinity Hillel, and all of the Mill supporters who came out!

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