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Intergalactix lights up Gardner

Intergalactix performed onstage last Friday, Feb. 6 in Gardner. Photo by Chris Lee
Intergalactix performed onstage last Friday, Feb. 6 in Gardner. Photo by Chris Lee
Intergalactix performed onstage last Friday, Feb. 6 in Gardner. Photo by Chris Lee

On Friday, Feb. 6, SGA [Concerts] brought Intergalactix from Los Angeles and Grinnell College’s very own Jenkin Benson ’17 to Gardner. What ensued was a night of dancing and delirium that can only qualify as debauchery.

The thing about Gardner is that it flourishes as a space where artists are clearly dedicated to their craft and bring excitement to their performances. There is nothing more exciting or touching than watching artists who genuinely enjoy performing for a crowd and putting on a good show for their audience. This night was no exception, and Benson did not disappoint.

The ever self-aware and ironically emo Benson has been involved with the Grinnell music scene for a hot second. Despite his involvement with a few bands on campus, opening for Intergalactix was a solo venture for our intrepid second year. The tunes Benson played included mostly mixtapes featuring just south of contemporary music taste, the kind of deliciously accessible bangers that make a Friday night great.

For any casual gleaners of music websites like Fader or Pitchfork, some of the music might sound familiar, as Benson’s oeuvre didn’t include much mainstream material but had the charming glint of collegiate good taste. In addition to sampling quality beats, Benson also put his own sonic touch on the music. Backing tracks were elongated, melodies deepened and beats were transplanted across songs. The transitions between the songs were great, and it was just plain fun dancing along to a Grinnellian laying down dope beats.

For any of those who want to catch an extra listen to the audio treats that Benson serves up, follow the link to his SoundCloud account:

You may be surprised to find that the SoundCloud provides not only his more upbeat bangers, but also pensive and subdued pieces of what the artist tagged “sad wave.” Our boy has a soft side, y’all.

After Benson’s rousing performance, the crowd was plenty hyped and most likely plenty intoxicated. Enter Intergalactix, a glittery indie-rock band that came to rock our worlds on a fine Friday evening. The band hails from L.A., and although their promotional images invoke LMFAO, their sound is much more nuanced and heartfelt. The music from their latest EP, I.W.S.O.M., was appropriately high-energy and actually a little funky.

The band thanked the crowd profusely for showing up in such strong numbers and proceeded to jam out for the enjoyment of Grinnellians. Intergalactix’s music is supremely easy to dance to, whether your weapon of choice is head-banging, swaying to and fro or an easy two-step.

At one point, the band described one of their songs as “what you would listen to if you were walking on Mars.” The appropriately titled “IF WE STEPPED ON MARS” mixed dreamy abstract vocals with an upbeat melody that was conducive to grooving. With love-struck lyrics like “we can evolve to a higher level, this time we roam outside the mold,” the synth-heavy track got the crowd moving.

Another highlight of the night was the band’s song, “The New Sound.” It was a bit slower than the other songs they played, but the song was definitely more nuanced than the band’s other hits. When they began playing it, a hushed air of concentration and dedication came over the band, and it was refreshing to see a band so eager to take their performance seriously. The chorus came on as a Daft Punk-era ode to love and music.

“Cuz when I pressed play, you were not listening / when I pressed rewind you were still visioning / When I press stop you forgot about the music so now we gotta take it away.”

It’s no surprise that after the show, Grinnellians chanted for an encore. The band gave a rousing performance overall, and made for a fine and funky Friday evening.

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