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The Scarlet & Black

Concerts review: Mike Simonetti// Beautiful Swimmers

On Wednesday night, SGA Concerts brought Mike Simonetti and Beautiful Swimmers to Gardner to entertain and dazzle Grinnellians. While it was drizzling and gray outside, the DJs kept the rain away with lucid and entrancing beats.

After a false start thanks to the fire alarm going off, Beautiful Swimmers began the night with its set. Its music would be right at home in a large club. With its trance and house aspects there wasn’t a single heavy-handed beat drop in sight. Instead, the pair opted for a more subdued act, and its orchestration was impressive.

Beautiful Swimmers opened for Mike Simonetti Wednesday night, Oct. 1 to a small crowd in Gardner. Photo by Sydney Steinle

The set invoked a coterie of influences and samples, including some left-field voiceovers. Its live set deviates somewhat from online versions of its music, and its performances feel much more present. Unfortunately, the turnout, given that it was a Wednesday night a few good weeks into the semester, was limited to about 20 students.

“There weren’t that many people there, which was a bummer, but everybody there seemed to be enjoying it. I was dancing a lot with my friends! It was kind of mellow, so I guess people were vibing more than dancing,” said Sophie Donlon ’16.

The music wasn’t exactly the kind you fist pump to, but the students who did show up were invested in the show for its atmosphere and mood. A room of scattered students head-nodding to house-club music did create an atmosphere of its own, like a post-apocalyptic shoegaze party.

“I thought it was pretty good. I’m not an electronic music aficionado, but there were some interesting things. There were long stretches of hypnotic music, but they would drop an unexpected sound and it really caught me off guard,” said Jack Dunnington ’16.

When Mike Simonetti came on, he decided to join Beautiful Swimmers in a three-DJ battle royale, and the collaboration between the three was a treat for the audience. Simonetti’s spinning added some trap and hip-hop influence into the mix, which garnered the occasional shout-out from a few die-hard audience members.

“They were all spinning together and it seemed very collaborative. They incorporated a bunch of different styles, which was cool. They were doing disco remixes and then they’d be doing really space age-y stuff, one right after another,” Donlon said.

What was most impressive about the impromptu collaborating between the three DJs was their devotion to making good music. Just by the sight of them, one could see that the three enjoyed working with each other and building off of each other’s styles. They were laughing and sharing tips with each other, and their energy really showed in the consistency of their spinning. Toward the end of the night, this enthusiasm did transfer to the crowd as they grew more lively.

“My thoughts on the concert were that the music was very danceable and very upbeat. It kind of allowed me to escape and discover a new world, temporarily, for the night. It was otherworldly and kind of ethereal. It allowed me to escape my stresses,” said Jermaine Stewart-Webb ’16.

With such enthusiasm, it’s a shame that more Grinnellians did not show up. Concerts Chair Violeta Ruiz Espigares ’15 had some insight as to why the show did not have a large turnout even though the acts were talented.

“This time of the semester though, is getting kind of rough because people are getting loaded up with a lot of work. … People were coming and going, but everyone had work to do! Midsems are in the next two weeks. For a weekday show, though, the turnout was not that bad,” she said.

In the future, Grinnellians should definitely keep an eye out for DJ acts that come to Gardner. The DJs that Concerts has brought have been consistently talented and dedicated to their craft. Additionally, there is nothing like a good concert to relieve some stress.

“The beats changing in and out, there was a constant pace. It allowed you to go into a kind of trance, and it brought you out of your everyday concerns. I loved it,” Stewart-Webb said.

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