Burt Kahn Court projected a sound uncharacteristic of Quinnipiac’s typical pop-enthused anthems last Saturday night. The musically apt student workers behind the annual WQAQ Spring Concert were hard at work upholding the station’s self-proclaimed “underground” image. With a virtually unknown indie line-up that boasted The Fresh & Onlys, Suckers, Trophy Scars, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, and this year’s Battle of the Bands winner, Great Ceasar, the radio staff maintained their underground claim to fame.
Though sales for the WQAQ show may pale in comparison to the Wake the Giant concert featuring Ke$ha, station members thought their show had superior music.
“The music department handles the bands,” said freshman WQAQ member Greg Raba. “They schedule as many as they can get and the opener is always the winner of the Battle of the Bands.”
Raba manned the station’s promo table, which offered show-goers free sunglasses, WQAQ paraphernalia and a raffle.
“This time around most of the bands are all area bands. It’s really management’s call which bands come. Usually it’s within the rock/indie rock genre,” Raba said.
Great Caesar took the stage first, with an exuberant energy unmatched by the following gigs, or the audience. Equipped with two guitars, a bass, a trumpet, a saxophone, and a suspendered lead singer, the band had a very upbeat vibe.
“Winning Battle of the Bands was a great experience,” said Great Caesar lead singer and guitarist John-Michael Parker. “It’s been pretty freaking cool to win all three times we’ve played and it’s really nice to have loyal fans that keep coming to our shows.”
Despite the station’s aggressive advertising and the fact that tickets were free for Quinnipiac students, there was a small crowd at the show. Some WQAQ members thought the bleak turnout was telling of the campus’s cultural values, as well as their musical interests.
“The turnout from QU [was] not that great,” said sophomore Benjamin Goodheart, next year’s co-music manager. “But that’s to be expected because if it’s not Ke$ha…” He trailed off. “But the turnout from outside the QU community is great. We have a lot of people coming out of state for Trophy Scars, so that’s phenomenal.”
Goodheart recognizes that the idea of “underground music” is not a popular one at Quinnipiac, but maintains that most college radio stations endure a similar difficulty.
“We would have liked more people from QU to come. The mission statement of college radio stations in general is to provide an alternative to ‘mainstream’ music,” Goodheart said. “So in order to appeal to them, I honestly don’t know what to do. Hopefully we can broaden it a little, but it looks like a lost cause.”
But the empty space in the gym and the relatively unknown lineup certainly did not deter those who believe in the mission statement of WQAQ.
“As a local band and as a band that has happy difficulty fitting into a clean-cut genre of music, we’re especially proud to be apart of this event,” Parker said. “Last year, we opened for Third Eye Blind at Quinnipiac; it is much more inspiring to play with bands at WQAQ shows and we hope that the hard work the radio station is doing to diversify the musical palette of this campus continues to be successful.”