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A Little Bit of Alcohol Could Go a Long Way

Logarhythms’ Spring Weekend Concert Exciting Despite Comatose Audience

By Jennifer DeBoer

MIT Logarhythms with Six Appeal and Hyannis Sound

La Sala de Puerto Rico

April 24, 7:30 p.m.

I’d take a drunk and rowdy crowd over a flaccid bunch any day. This was on my mind at last Thursday’s Logs concert, where the proper audience refrained from spontaneous applause or even a little enjoyment. With this attitude, the concert was on the surface a flop, although I thought otherwise.

In an unprecedented move, the Logarhythms took the stage first and launched into The Breakfast Club theme song, “Don’t You Forget About Me,” with John Wu ’06 as the soloist. Mark Sellmeyer ’04 followed up with another Logs staple, Weezer’s “Island in the Sun,” replete with raunchy moves and customary Logs humor. Collins Ward ’03 slowed down the tempo, pleading with his voice and his red bowtie to “Light in Your Eyes,” my personal favorite. The audience responded with a round of applause that was tepid at best. Even the energetic rendition of Offspring’s “All the Kids Aren’t Right” by Tyler Johnson ’05 wasn’t given the ecstatic reaction which he warranted, given his improved intonation from his performance at this winter’s concert.

I was looking for some newer material since I’ve heard the standard repertoire quite a few times already. Though there were no new pieces to speak of, each and every song was, surprisingly, the best version I have heard yet from the group. The audience was either sick of hearing these old favorites or didn’t notice that the songs carried a larger dose of enthusiasm than usual.

Maybe it was the acoustics that made this such a stellar performance for me; La Sala’s small quarters forced all of the seats in the house to be close enough to be spit on by any strong enunciators. Maybe there were a few too many old people and a few too many quiet people. They must have had something very important on their minds because they forgot to heckle and catcall, forgot to scream girlishly during the lovesongs, and forgot that they were at a college concert.

After just one more song, Jon Varsanik ’04 in “Learn to Fly,” the Logs left the audience more than a little expectant and, needless to say, rather quiet. They were just as confused when six twenty-somethings took the stage next and, with no introduction, launched into their part of the concert. Six Appeal immediately surprised me with the four tight female harmonies, a bouncing bassline, and a superb beatbox. While still wondering “Who are they?” I found myself clapping along with the rest of the timid audience after an amazing beatbox solo. Maybe the audience was warmed up.

Six Appeal, connected to MIT through one of its members who works in the International Studies Office, pulled out a considerable amount of vigor from the reluctant audience. Their touches were professional, their songs had an interesting variety -- from James Taylor’s dissonant “Traffic Jam” to Madonna’s “Keep On Dancing” to “Down in the River” from O Brother Where Art Thou -- and they didn’t seem to care when the audience ignored their requests for a corresponding return on the effort they were putting forth.

Through another member of Six Appeal, MIT was introduced to Hyannis Sound, a rotating group of fourteen college guys that gather to sing on the cape each summer. They acted and sounded like the all-boys chorus back in high school. Yes, they were slapping each other’s asses and bantering playfully in between numbers. Somehow, though, through some invisible signal, they would all of a sudden come together and fire up with another song.

Despite their comparable numbers, they didn’t seem to fill the less than ample space of La Sala quite as well as the Logs, and their harmonies, while lucid, seemed flat and undeveloped at points. They lacked the depth and breadth I expected from a chorus that looked -- though didn’t act -- as mature as they did. I was pleased with their frequent duets, instead of the conventional soloist/background format that many of the other numbers took that evening. They could scat, as shown in “I Can’t Go for That,” and they knew how to have a good time (Ask the girl in the front row about “Bring it on Home.”)

The highlight of the evening for me, and thankfully for the rest of the audience, was their version of Blues Traveler’s “Hook.” An unimposing young gentleman took me completely aback with his artful vocal gymnastics on the revamped Baroque classic. The runaway tempo was managed just as well when he was joined for the final, most verbose verse by an accompanying voice (and a smug girly voice from the back that peeped, “It’s Pachelbel.”)

My only complaint was the monotony of the group’s presentation. Every song was a joke, despite what their appropriately eloquent voices tried to musically express. During the poignant “On and On,” there were comedic little seagull caw’s in the background. Only the mood was disturbed, and the group kept up the variety and interest of its selections. Nevertheless, it lacked the break from knee-slappers that “Light in Your Eyes” and “Down in the River,” with their purely emotive performances, offered to the undeserving audience.

The music was all that it should have been. The energy from the groups filled the room, attempting to make up for the lack of it in the audience. I even laughed a few times -- with very few other people. But, like most of the concertgoers Thursday night, I took away a lot more than I put into the performance.