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The Scarlet & Black

Concerts launches first ‘Cyber Gardner’

Design by Victoria Park, Adapted by Andy Pavey.

Grinnell artists MXLCXLM (Malcolm Davis `21) and Loqum (Deniz Sahin `20) will headline the College’s first-ever ‘Cyber Gardner’ on Saturday at 8 p.m. CST and 8:30 p.m. CST, respectfully. Broadcast live on Instagram, the concert is one of many events moved online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the College’s closure in mid-March.

Grinnell students Saketan Anand `21, Cat Dang Ton `22 and Victoria Park `22, who tours under ‘Pictoria Vark,’ organized the event. The idea for a virtual concert emerged from a conversation between Park and Anand just a few days ago.

“We’re catching up and she’s been talking about how she and artists she knows have been doing with concerts online and that kind of stuff, as well as how venues are really struggling, artists are really struggling at a time like this,” Anand said. “I, on my end, was kind of thinking about how much I miss Gardner concerts and how everyone seems to be starved of some kind of community event.”

Thus, Cyber Gardner was born. The event will take its place within a sea of virtual gatherings, concerts and events suddenly available online as Americans nationwide shelter in place. The star-studded One World: Together At Home concert, for example, drew 21 million viewers Saturday, featuring Beyonce, Lady Gaga and the Rolling Stones, among others.

Poster by Victoria Park, contributed by Saketan Anand.

Yet this concert promises to be extra special for Grinnellians at home, thanks in no small part to the headlining acts: Loqum and MXLCXLM.

Deniz Sahin `20, a December graduate, performs as Loqum and is currently an engineering intern at Classick Studios in Chicago. “[He] was kind of on my radar at the time that this idea came up,” Anand said. Sahin performed a DJ set before OSHUN, a New-York based duo, at a concert in the fall.

Malcolm Davis `21, who opened for rapper Oompa at a real-life Gardner this February, only began producing music in the fall of 2019. Nonetheless, he’s quickly found his footing in the campus music scene as MXLCXLM.

“I had seen that Malcolm was working on some new stuff with his cousin [Jelani McCray ‘21], who’s also going to be on as a featured guest,” Anand said. “So, we were like, okay, let’s reach out to them. And if they’re interested, that will be our first show.”

Anand intends for virtual concerts to bring in a wider range of musicians, from current students to recent alumni and artists otherwise familiar with Grinnell.

“We began thinking, can we raise funds, either toward these artists … or toward other causes that might really benefit from charity at a time like this?” Anand said.

To drive turnout, event organizers are reaching out to specific parts of the Grinnell community, such as the Class of 2024 – the ‘Coronavirus class’ – who were deprived of experiences like Admitted Students Day, during which student bands often perform.

You can attend the inaugural Cyber Gardner by heading over to @grinnellconcerts on Instagram on Saturday at 8 p.m. CST. No tickets are required, and every spot is front row.

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