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The Scarlet & Black

Gardner Health-y for once

This past weekend, indie band Health played their first show at Grinnell College in Gardner Lounge, with an opening performance from the up-and-coming group Small Black.

All from Brooklyn, the four members of Small Black describe their music as “casio dream noise pop” and are influenced by a number of artists ranging from David Bowie to Public Enemy. Currently touring around the United States, Small Black is making a name for itself on college radio stations and in national magazines such as “Nylon,” which regularly features it as a band to watch. Opening to a smaller crowd of about 25, Small Black’s energy did not wane for the duration of their act and by the end of the set, dozens of people were on their feet.

The band Health performs last Saturday in Gardner. Photograph taken by Daniel Penny.

“Small Black impressed me a lot more than I thought they would,” said rising Concerts Chair Pooj Padmaraj ’13. “I thought that they were very much a sample-based band and that they wouldn’t actually play music very much. But they sounded really good and were really into it.”

After Small Black’s departure, the highly anticipated band Health took the stage. Health is an LA-based band that initially drew international acclaim with the release of their 2007 eponymous album, produced with Crystal Castles. The band’s popularity has been increasing ever since. The four-man band is perhaps most notorious for its unique creation of sounds. These sounds are largely created by the band’s use of a Zoothorn, an instrument that, among other things, doubles as a microphone and guitar pedal.

On Saturday, flanked by a crowd of about 40 people, Health took the Gardner stage and performed an enthusiastic and energetic show. While most people simply enjoyed the band’s energy and dynamic beats, other audience members also admired the more technical aspects of the show.

“I really liked it,” said James Anthofer ’11. “I appreciated how choreographed it was and how the band paid attention to the texture of their music.”

Indeed, Health’s focus on specific details and sounds provided a glimpse into the true potential of Grinnell’s own equipment.

“Health had a sound guy come in that wasn’t ours. He milked the system really well and Health probably was the loudest band we’ve had come to Grinnell in a long, long time,” Padmaraj said. “Basically, you have to milk the system to the fullest, so he rewired the system and started using all the effects and managed to put effects on the vocals in ways we haven’t done. I thought it sounded really awesome.”

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