Arts and Culture

The Basement Benefit brings great music for charity

On March 30, Wheaton College hosted the Basement Benefit, a concert and fundraiser designed to bring live music to campus while raising money for Relay for Life. The evening fea­tured five Wheaton acts, each contributing greatly to an excellent evening of live music. The set-list:

1. Lose the Labels (Tory Stosse ’15)

Lose the Labels, the solo project of Tory Stosse, opened the evening with a quick set of acoustic pop-punk-flavored tunes. The most impressive part of Stosse’s act was its starkly confessional nature—with only a guitar in tow, Stosse let her personal lyrics shine through.

2. Weaver (Adam Askew ’14, Chris Bilbo ’16, George Matthiessen ’15, Connor Sheri­dan ’16)

Catharsis is hard to feign. I’m pretty sure, then, that Weaver’s debut captured it per­fectly. Vocalist Adam Askew screamed through the band’s brutal material with an almost overwhelming emotional intensity. Their metallic hardcore leanings fill a ma­jor void in Wheaton’s music scene: a math­core band that makes things difficult, and to whom dancing isn’t a simple approving head nod, but moshing like your life depends on it.

3. The Honor Society (Cliften Desravines ’13, Tyrek Greene ’15, Davide di Cagno-Hagen ’13, Tyler Morse ’13, Chris Bilbo ’16)

The hip-hop backing band sounded good, but the real stars of the Honor Society’s set were the two rappers in front and center—Cliften “Cliff Notez” Desravines and Tyrek Green. Desravine’s smooth, ponderous vocal perfectly countered Green’s fiery, technically proficient flow all evening. They don’t take themselves too seriously on stage, though, and their laid-back, infectious demeanor inspired dancing and good vibes from the crowd throughout the entire set.

4. Electric Animal (Aaron Hoffman ’15, George Matthiessen ’15, Max Glick ’15, Adam Askew ’14)

It’s been a pleasure to hear Electric Ani­mal grow as a band over the last year. Since last spring, they’ve turned the formerly plodding “I Wanna Know” into a double-timed, danceable hit, written one of the best blissed-out songs I’ve heard on campus (“Ted Williams”), and tightened up their live show considerably. Their set at the Basement Benefit was nothing less than an absolute blast, and their newer material was especial­ly fantastic, proving that the group will only continue to grow.

5. Mike’s Bakery (Jordan Wolfe ’15, Ryan Lloyd ’15, Jeff Horn ’15)

Mike’s Bakery is Wheaton’s best band, and if you disagree, I’d guess that they’re having too much fun to care. Unfortunately, cir­cumstances have kept the funk-rock band apart for the past year, and while the hiatus birthed a solid side-project in Flat Boys, Wheaton’s music scene has stagnated with­out Mike’s Bakery’s presence.

A silver lining of their absence, though, is that concerts like the Basement Benefit be­come extra special as a result. The final act of the evening, Mike’s Bakery ripped through their 2012 Hot Cakes EP, debuted new ma­terial and threw in a few covers. The crowd begged the trio to stick around at the end of the set—and they did, performing a spirited rendition of Smashmouth’s “All Star” as the crowd unabashedly screamed every word. Overall, it was great to have Mike’s Bakery back, frazzle nuggets and all. Their set was the perfect ending to a great night of music for a good cause.