Aside from the chai and cookies, the best part about Village Club Series is listening to original music for an evening every single Thursday. This semester’s performance roster has truly been stacked – from Ryanhood, to Elizabeth Acevedo, to the incredible student artists and now Tall Heights. On Thursday, December 1, the Mays Center welcomed an overwhelming student turnout to see this popular group perform.
Tall Heights always attracts a large crowd, but I was unprepared for the sea of Batesies I walked into when I opened the doors. I got there a little late, so there was no chance of grabbing a chair, wall space or even a good glimpse of the stage. Despite this, the chill atmosphere was tangible. The dim lighting and casual set-up of the space created an intimate and inviting environment. I think it goes without saying that VCS effectively rids me of work stress, especially with finals right around the corner.
Cellist Tim Harrington and guitarist Paul Wright were accompanied by a drummer. In between their songs, Harrington and Wright developed close connections to the audience; they shared their awkward yet warm personalities and told stories they have gathered throughout their time on tour. Getting the Bates students to chuckle certainly does not hurt their reputation here.
Several of the songs they performed were from their newest album Neptune, released in August of this year. The songs consisted of multi-leveled harmonies that varied in range. The vocal ranges of the artists were truly magnified throughout the night. What was most striking, however, was how they transformed their usual acoustic vibe to a more technical foundation, epitomizing the VCS experience.
The song “Two Blue Eyes” was a perfect example of this. Not only did they show off their vocal skills, but lyrics like “I fell in love with two blue eyes and that’s you,” melted the hearts of those listening, a feat not unusual for Tall Heights. There was a perfect balance of electric and acoustic mastery. The entirety of the song had a steady tempo that was easy to digest yet captured attention the whole time.
“Spirit Cold” is an easy listen, at least for me, because it did not project thematic ideas of love or heartbreak. The gradual buildup of tempo and energy creates a climax around the third chorus but then dies back down for the end of the song. They discuss the cycle of gain and loss of spirit and dreams. All of their originals carry an aura that appeals to Bates students and brings them back year after year. No matter the content of their songs, their music is always transformative and innovative.
VCS next week includes a faculty and staff showcase featuring Professor John Smedley from the Environmental Studies Department, Assistant Professor Ali Akhtar in the Classical and Medieval Studies Department and Associated Chaplain Sruli Dresdner. Each faculty member will perform for about 20 minutes. Smedley and Akhtar will be playing the guitar and Dresdner will bring the accordion to the stage. This is definitely something you will want to go to for the last VCS of the semester!