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The Scarlet & Black

Ballast and Doctor Jeep come to Gardner

John Brady
Students enjoyed the electronic house music brought to campus in the first concert of the semester. Photo by John Brady
Students enjoyed the electronic house music brought to campus in the first concert of the semester. Photo by John Brady
Students enjoyed the electronic house music brought to campus in the first concert of the semester. Photo by John Brady

Last Friday, Jan. 23, the very first concert of the spring semester, SGA [Concerts] brought two house DJs, Ballast and Doctor Jeep, to infiltrate Gardner with their high-power beats. Although Ballast hails from Los Angeles and Doctor Jeep from New York, the two have been making the rounds on a tour across the States. Nestled in the sweaty pits of South Campus, the two brought their particular brand of electronic house music to Gardner to a crowd thirsty for tunes.

The two acts did not perform one after the other, but rather switched off sets as they pleased. Such a collaboration is always a thrill to behold for students, as one can see the talent of each DJ shine and in turn be accentuated by the other. Friday’s concert was no exception, and the boys came in hard with the beats from the get-go. Given their similar musical stylings, the two worked well together but also managed to deliver their own take on the ever-evolving genre of house music.

Ballast’s set was destined for the turn up. “Turn up,” a commonly used colloquialism meant to refer to the party and its partygoers reaching an ideal point of excitation and inebriation, is the perfect term to describe Ballast’s music. It is the type of music that allows a party or a dance floor to reach critical mass. Ballast also utilized the ubiquitous “beat drop” of contemporary electronic music with deft precision. Clearly, this man has done this before, and his Facebook indeed reveals the DJ’s history of playing hyped up clubs. While Gardner was definitely a change of scenery in that regard, it did not stop the DJ from dropping beats from his eclectic collection.

Gardner Concert - Jun Taek Lee
Doctor Jeep performed onstage in Gardner last Friday evening. Photo by Jun Taek Lee

Although Ballast’s set at large was enjoyable, one highlight in particular brought a song marked on his SoundCloud as an edit on DJ Sliink’s “Put Cha Back In It.” The song blends the reliable quick back beat that house music first made famous, alongside booming beats and a distinctly Baltimore sound. It almost knocked one on one’s head with powerful thumps and tremors, and those Grinnellians seen around the massive speakers seemed particularly possessed by these sound waves. Such is the effect a dangerously good dance beat has on our student population.

Doctor Jeep’s set vibed with Ballast but departed on nearly an entirely different soundscape. Harking back as much to the dubstep wave that characterized the early 2000s, with poignant influences from the U.K., Doctor Jeep’s set was a banger. He made liberal use of bass, specializing in that “woomp woomp woomp” noise that true electro-heads have come to know and love.

Perhaps what gave Doctor Jeep’s set the stuff needed to push Grinnellians over the edge, although it doesn’t take much, were the lengths to which Jeep went to immerse his audience in a sonic landscape with his set. His songs had an atmosphere all their own, one of intense frisson and depth, and paired together they made for a very well-handled and fun set. One particular standout comes from his “Vortex” EP.

The charm continued with a deep U.K.-house song that pulsated alongside the words, “Music is the only liberator. I am the party generator. Move your body like an oscillator. Shred the line like an operator.” The nonsense lyrics, delivered in a robotic overtone, had its effect on the crowd, and the booty-shaking was nonstop.

A special shout out to the Grinnellians who don’t have a care in the world when it comes to shaking it on the dance floor. Regardless of inebriation, hookup drama or solitary concert-goers, you committed bunch always bring the heat and the heart to Gardner. Please never stop doing what you do.

That being said, it is true that Grinnellians vary in the tastes they seek to satiate at Gardner concerts. At shows like these, it may happen that there is a serious dearth of dancing, something that is never pleasant to see and even less enjoyable to be in. But this was not one of those nights. Starting the semester off strong, [Concerts] gave us a treat and here’s looking to a semester full of great shows.

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