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Weekend concerts review

Bridget Battle of TWEENS rocks out onstage in Gardner on Sunday night. Photo by Emma Sinai-Yunker

For anyone invested in Girl Power, this week in concerts was the week for you. First up, Gardner hosted KILLSTREAK and GRRRL PRTY last Friday, Aug. 29. KILLSTREAK follows in the footsteps of dark-electronic beat rap like Odd Future, but these guys were less satanic and more charismatic. On stage, their energy more than matched the hype over their recorded music. Despite their young age, the group made the most of the Friday-night energy and pepped the crowd up for the next act.  

The rap troupe GRRRL PRTY, a dynamic and fiery group, featured three emcees: Sophia Eris, Manchita and Lizzo. The group blew the roof off the joint, igniting the stage with their undeniable stage presence and spitfire delivery.  

As versatile as they are ethnically diverse, GRRRL PRTY flowed easily from one song to the next. The girls each brought their own dynamic flair to the front, and had no problem letting other members of the group get their shine. Alongside rhymes about party hopping, dodging scrubs and loving and supporting each other, the group effortlessly broke into synchronized dance routines, giving the crowd TLC with their shoulder shimmies and knee bops. 

 In fact, the most dazzling part of GRRRL PRTY was their synergy. They knew when to focus on one member of the group to carry a song in order to give each member their chance to give it to the audience, who were eating it up. Their charm came out not only in their energetic performance, but their lyrics as well.  

These girls didn’t just walk the walk: they talked the talk as well. At one point, Lizzo asked, “Are there any sexy men in the crowd tonight?” and when a tribute boy stepped up (the poor fool), she grabbed him by the neck and spit bars while she had the dude in a headlock. Look out—the group’s got an album coming out soon sure to be full of beautiful braggadocio.  

Testament to the group’s talent was the number of people that showed up: Gardner was filled to capacity on Friday night, a number that SGA Concerts Chair Violeta Ruiz Espigares ’15 relishes. 

“It was a super-successful event. We maxed out capacity. A lot of students came including a lot of first-years, which means that we advertised well. People came up to us, saying, ‘It was amazing!’ They really appreciated that it was a danceable performance, a good show for Friday,” Ruiz Espigares said.

Concert - Emma Sinai Yunker
GRRRL PRTY emcee Sophia Eris performs at Gardner during last Friday’s show. Photo by Emma Sinai-Yunker

Then on Sunday night, Gardner hosted two bands: ConeTrauma and TWEENS. The night before the first full week of classes started, ConeTrauma took center stage as the first act. Hailing from Iowa City, the girl power was strong with this group. They took the less polished approach to punk music, wailing intensely on their respective instruments.

ConeTrauma hit hard and fast. They delivered lyrics in the quick, straight to the dome format that many punk bands utilize for their equal parts energetic and frenetic impact. Barking songs about telling a guy not to touch you and rejecting traditional gender roles, ConeTrauma was a supreme first act that actually managed to entice many Grinnellians sitting in Bob’s to wander out into Gardner.  

Some Grinnellians came out just in time for the second act, TWEENS, who have been making the rounds on music publication sites like Pitchfork, and for good reason. A trio of punk rockers, TWEENS manages to mix a surprisingly mature and capable grasp on catchy songwriting with raw energy. The band mixes heartbreak and heart rage reminiscent of the kind of angst rock wave that Best Coast rode in 2009.

Much of their music touched on the timeless subject of relationship dynamics. From stupid boys to lonely nights, Bridget Battle delivered vocals straight forward, her blond Sia bob bouncing as her voice roared and screeched lyrics like, “Mean, mean, I want you to be mean, I want you to be mean oh yeah”.  

Yet under all the punk brat attitude, Battle revealed a vulnerability that shone brighter than the red light illuminating her soft face. She single-handedly carried the song “Want U,” crooning and cooing to the entire room, which was captivated by the jukebox mix of stringent guitars and wailing rock-woman. The crowd stood still, punctuated by the goofy giggles of a group of boys who had joined arms to sway together.  

And with that many feels, the mosh pit that broke out was inevitable. Without missing a beat, TWEENS transitioned to a hard-hitting song that erupted the crowd into a mosh pit. Now, the mosh pit has rarely been seen in years past, but this one broke out through near consensus amongst the audience members. The audience went from a couple drunks head bopping to a mass of bodies punching, jumping, shoving and dancing. By the end of the show, TWEENS had the crowd of post-teens sweat-drenched and screaming for more.  

“The band was amazing. Usually for a Sunday night it’s hard to draw people to come out. We had a least 50 people, what we usually get on a weekend show,” Ruiz Espigares said. “TWEENS had an amazing performance.”

Bridget Battle of TWEENS rocks out onstage in Gardner on Sunday night. Photo by Emma Sinai-Yunker
Bridget Battle of TWEENS rocks out onstage in Gardner on Sunday night. Photo by Emma Sinai-Yunker
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