This last Thursday, October 5, the Bates community welcomed The Ballroom Thieves to VCS. The Ballroom Thieves had their Bates debut in 2015 and have performed here multiple times. The band has three members, Martin Earley on the guitar, Calin Peters on the bass, and Devin Mauch on the drums. As most bands performing at VCS, The Ballroom Thieves played a mixture folk and acoustic rock. With the fall semester picking up its pace and midterms approaching fast, their energetic performance was much needed.
I am not very knowledgeable about music. Even though I understand nothing about harmony, I could see that there was some sort of intimacy and balance in the Thieves’ performance. The three members seem to be very close to each other; I could see it when they glanced at each other. According to the band’s website, they have toured together for the past two years. Even though living on the road as a band may seem glamorous, the band cautioned against the unrealistic image of the adventurous travelling artist. It is hard to deal with breakdowns, financial challenges, and illness on the move.
Between songs, the performers would share a few stories. One of their comments was that the audience was “respectfully quiet.” And they were not wrong. Even during the band’s most energetic rock-ish songs, most of the audience would remain quiet and calm. Many Batesies were on their computers polishing some work. I couldn’t help but wonder if things would have been different if VCS was somewhat more like a concert. To my surprise, some people expressed the same opinion!
“[S]omething fun they could do is if a band that is coming has very danceable music, they could make the main area a dance spot. I don’t know if people would actually be willing to do that, but sometimes I wish I could get up and dance like at a concert,” Oriana Lo Cicero ’20 mentioned regarding what could potentially make VCS better. Between two songs, even The Ballroom Thieves mentioned that they would love to have a stand-up concert at Bates.
Even though I don’t go to VCS often, I enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the weekly performances. The performances are consistent and you always know what to expect: good folk music, warm beverages, and company. “The chai and cookies gives a cozy coffee house vibe and they always pick great artists,” mentioned Lo Cicero who attends VCS weekly. This was the second time The Ballroom Thieves performed at Bates in 2017. They thanked Bates for the consistency and support. VCS is definitely entertaining for students and it is good to see that it promotes the arts in some ways.
If you need a pause on your Thursday, a study break, or a change in energy, VCS is for you. Next Thursday, October 12 VCS will host the Green Dot Student Showcase, in which students perform music, comedy, spoken word, and more. I hope to see you there!