Collective Success

The first show organized by the New Paltz Music Collective was a huge success.

One hundred and twenty students gathered in Student Union (SU) 100 on Wednesday, Nov. 28 to watch two-piece punk/emo band Dads, and folk-punk artists Steve Layman, Koji and Paul Baribeau.

The New Paltz Music Collective formed this fall semester as a student-run group for booking shows on campus. Their goal is to heighten the New Paltz music scene by organizing and promoting do-it-yourself (DIY) shows, bringing the music to campus.

Local and student-formed bands are subject to play the venues on Main Street, which serve alcohol and restrict audience ages to 18 or 21 plus. House shows often attract noise complaints from neighbors and subsequent police interference.

At one of the group’s meetings, they discussed how holding a show in the SU felt like a risk. It was important that the music did not interfere with normal dining activity, and the crowd had to be respectful of the space.

During the show, the music remained relatively contained to SU 100 and the audience was understandingly docile. The artists’ and audience’s energy seemed to be focused on creating a welcoming and unified environment with kick-ass music.

In the past, on-campus shows have been limited to the spring concert sponsored by Student Association Productions and Rock Against Racism. These events may boast bigger budgets and attract more well-known artists, but their infrequence and controversial artist selection leaves little to be desired for students who enjoy low-cost live music and have a less mainstream music taste.

The New Paltz Music Collective hopes to choose artists based on the interests of group members as well as the cost to bring the acts to campus. Group members are encouraged to contact artists through email and social media platforms such as Facebook, which has made DIY booking and promoting easier in recent years.

The show opened with Steve Layman, a folk-punk artist from Oneonta, N.Y., who played songs from his demo. Layman also promoted his full-length album — set for a spring 2013 release — along with a tour across the Northeast.

The New Brunswick, N.J. emo/punk band Dads, made up of drummer John Bradley and vocalist/guitarist Scott Scharinger, produced a heavy set with dual vocals. Scharinger’s extensive pedal board and guitar/bass amp combination left no room or need for a bass player.

For this show, Dads was on tour with Pennsylvania native Koji. The folk guitarist gathered the crowd down low in a semi-circle around him, and delivered inspiring words and music from his collection of EPs, splits and full-length albums.

Much of the crowd sang along with headlining folk-punk artist Paul Baribeau as he played popular songs off his last four records, such as “Ten Things” and “Strawberry.”

With an audience turnout of more than 100 paying students and locals, the group saw their first organized event as an accomplishment and a step toward bigger and better things.

The New Paltz Music Collective hopes to host more events during the spring 2013 semester and continue laying the foundation for a thriving and prominent on campus music scene.

Look for future events hosted by the New Paltz Music Collective on flyers and Facebook.

Without student support and attendance, grassroots student organizations like this would not and will not be able to survive.