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Best Coast comes to the east coast

Best Coast's Bethany Constentino, sang to students in SAC Ballroom A on Wednesday, Nov. 17 in USG's fight to revive the Stony Brook Concert Series. (Frank Posillico / The Statesman)

A long line of tattooed, hair- dyed, plaid-skinny-jeans, thick- rimmed-glasses, converse-wearing,  students lined up inside the Student Activities Center to see the band Best Coast perform for free as part of the newly revived Stony Brook Concert Series.

Stony Brook Concerts was a concert series that existed back in the 1960s and 1980s showcased  bands such as Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers and Blue Oyster Cult before they became Billboard chart toppers. The concert with Best Coast, an American indie pop trio based out of Los Angeles, was the Undergraduate Student Government’s first attempt to bring back the concert series.

Moiz Khan, a member of the Music Advisory Board of the Undergraduate Student Government, USG, and 20- year- old history major, said the purpose of bringing back the concert series is to “connect the previous history that was so awesome” to the present. He hopes to expand and  get more people involved in the Stony Brook Concert Series.

The doors of SAC Ballroom A opened at 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 17, letting the eager crowd inside. The ballroom was almost half full as the crowd waited for the band to take the stage. Most of the crowd, while waiting for the show to start, moved from standing near the stage to the table in the back of the ballroom where a limited number of free Stony Brook Concerts t-shirts and posters were  handed out. Khan said he expected around 300 people to show up; the actual number of people in attendance is unknown.

The band took the stage as the lights dimmed and the focus immediately shifted toward the three-member ensemble.

Lauren Haugli, a junior cinema and cultural studies major, attended the event even though she had only vaguely heard of the band. She said she “[supports] all art we have on campus” because “there is such a small fraction; we need to stand up for each other.”

Best Coast played straight through a forty-minute set to an attentive crowd. Bethany Consentino, the band’s songwriter and front woman, said it was “fun to play just to students.” She said she enjoys playing at colleges because “most of our fans are college students,” and that they’ve  played college shows where “half the kids there look like they’re like ‘I don’t even know who you are’ and it’s like that’s fine if you don’t know who we are but at least act interested or something.” Stony Brook was “a really fun [show]; there was lots of energy,” she added.

While most of the students in attendance stayed for the entire set, there were a fair amount of people that left the concert, too. Saeet Bhuiyan, an 18-year-old biology major and music minor, said the band was “not [his] cup of tea.” He came to the concert with his friends as a way to expand his horizons but he viewed the band’s music as an “acquired taste.” Bhuiyan said that while “listening to the composing” of the songs, he was “not pleased.”

Consentino said that Best Coast would definitely come back and play at Stony Brook again. “We end up leaving [a lot of college shows] being like ‘What just happened there?’ but tonight we will be like ‘That was tons of fun.’”

According to Khan, USG’s goal is to put on more concerts similar to this throughout the remainder of the school year.

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  • D

    David MazzaNov 29, 2010 at 1:30 am

    I’m the marketing person for USG (and by extension the Stony Brook Concert Series), and I usually take my job pretty seriously, but we were at a huge disadvantage this time.

    The University has a policy that events cannot be advertised until it is 100% certain that the event is actually going to occur. Usually this means getting all the right paperwork approved from Student Activities. However, a concert is much more complex. A concert is a huge undertaking anywhere, but it is particularly difficult to pull off at Stony Brook University. Naturally you have to work with a talent agency, and you need to create and sign a contract with that agency. Often times a contract is executed very late because the agency likes to withhold their approval until the last minute so that we have no time to send feedback.

    However, at Stony Brook we have a special process of security checks that the University Police require before they will allow any artist to perform or even any contract discussion to occur. That even includes student bands (like RockYoFaceCase). These security checks involve getting 3 references from prior venues that the artist has performed at, and submitting the phone numbers to the police. The police require 4 weeks to process these checks, which sometimes means 4 weeks for them to tell you that they need more information, and another 4 weeks.

    In this case, the security checks weren’t completed until early November for a show that we scheduled for November 17th. The agent had already pulled out of the deal by then, and we gave up our room reservation. Luckily the security checks passed only days after we thought it was a lost cause, so we immediately began working on reserving a new space and writing the contract. By the that time, we had less than two weeks to advertise, and no contract in sight.

    A week before the show, we still didn’t have a signed contract, so I decided to advertise the Stony Brook Concert Series with “Best Coast” slightly blurred from the poster. I figured that anyone who knew them would recognize the face and shape of the logo, and then everyone else would just be excited to hear about a concert. I essentially violated University policy just so that some people would know about the show, but that wasn’t the first time that this policy was violated this semester.

    Earlier, around homecoming, the University itself was in a similar situation, with a contract not signed until a few hours before the show. In spite of their own policy, they advertised that Long Island’s best cover band would play at their Homecoming Concert. I wasn’t too worried about violating this particular policy, but I tried my best to keep within the confines of the intent of the policy as I interpret it.

    Point being, we faced some difficulty, and we will try better next time. I’m still pretty happy with the results, and I thank you for your suggestions.
    1. Campus Residences no longer allows distribution of flyers in residence halls as part of a new “green” policy. We usually try to do it anyway for really important things like spring elections, but we didn’t try this time.
    2. I hire a street team to advertise by passing out flyers on campus, but I only have a few of them. They handed out at least 1000-1500 flyers after we announced Best Coast on Monday. If you have no shame, I encourage you to join by emailing dmazza [at] sbusg.org
    3. You are right about having RA’s announcing this. I will look into that. I assume it was announced to the RHA because we have an RHA rep on the SAB, but I don’t know if it made it back to the hall council meetings.

    If you want to help out with our spring concert lineup, please join the Stony Brook Concerts Team. Send an email to eventideas [at] sbusg.org

    Reply
  • A

    AnthonyNov 24, 2010 at 12:42 am

    Well they sure did a great job advertising this….

    I 100% support this idea and would have liked to see more of it earlier on in my time here at SBU. However, this group is falling short in the same place as most other organizations here… publicity.
    Limited word of mouth and facebook groups are not enough on a campus of 25,000. There should’ve been flyers in the residence halls, and common buildings, there should’ve been students passing out 4×6’s outside the SAC, there should have been RA’s announcing this to their residents.

    I would love to see some big name, or more popular groups come to campus. Of course in order to finance this you need ticket buyers, who in turn need to be aware an event is taking place.

    Good luck, and please keep us (the students) informed.

    Reply