Keene State College students raged their way through a personalized experience as GrooveBoston performed Friday, Dec. 7, in the Young Student Center. At capacity, students filled the Mabel Brown Room in a scene of floor-shaking music, non-stop dancing and an ever-changing light show. Permanent smiles, bits of crowd surfing, and multiple fist pumps illustrated their pure enjoyment of the show.
KSC’s Student Involvement hosted GrooveBoston’s performance as a part of the Late Night Program, which offers alternatives to college parties by putting on fun, yet controlled events. “I think it’s really irresponsible for some of these events to be marketing themselves as a place for that activity,” Ed Slapik said regarding drinking. GrooveBoston wants to appeal to faculty and administration, as well as to students, Chris Dutton, the brand manager, explained.
He said, “We try to sell it in a way that’s professional, safe and contained. Because we’re doing it on campus and because we’re regulating it and we’ve been doing it for so long, we know how to do it right. We very rarely have major issues, any issue that you can expect to have at a show like this we’ve either been through or we’re anticipating or planning for it.” Not only does it provide a more maintained environment than a party, it brings the students together. “The fact that one or two days out of a year, you know where a thousand of your kids are, that’s huge,” Slapik noted. “If you have to take ecstasy to enjoy a show, then that show probably wasn’t good enough. We build a show that blows your mind when you’re sober and that’s what we take pride in,” Chris said.
“We’re trying to create a transformative experience. We may not be able make people’s lives better in the long run, but what we can do is make sure that there is so much happening in your mind and in your experience that you couldn’t possibly be stressed out in that moment. We want to make sure you’re not being entertained, you’re being completely taken over emotionally,” Bobby Dutton, who is the director, owner and DJ, stated. This reaction connects with the tour theme; Visceral, Chris defines “that indescribable feeling you get when your body responds to the experience. You can’t really control it and you can’t put your finger on it.” He said the combination of the lights and effects with the music is what creates this experience. All of the lighting and the effects follow the music as it’s being played. Slapik explained how the technicians have the same information as the DJs. A preview screen is set up so they can stay in sync with the set list and see exactly what the DJ is doing or plans to do. This allows them to get ready for the next song, so they can better enhance that moment.
The mood of the song dictates whether or not it is on the set list, not the genre of it. Bobby described how it is all about how the music feels and the emotion it creates and in this tour it’s about songs that get people pumped. The DJs look for audience reactions and adapt their pre-planned set list throughout the show to fit the vibes of the room. This set list is designed brand new, for each and every college. GrooveBoston took notes on last year’s event so they could cater exactly what KSC students want. After learning about the campus’ preferences, Bobby created a set list for KSC specifically. Regarding KSC students he said, “They really like those hard beats and they really like to be on their toes. Keene students don’t want to be patient, they don’t want to wait for that emotional payoff,” Bobby said.
“Every single show we do is custom built. This build we have in this room is the first and last time we will ever do this build. We’re working with you from step one to put together this puzzle that’s customized for Keene State [College] 2012,” Bobby said.
Melody Singer, a freshman, said she loved the light show and mentioned how it was like a club in there. Blown away, Arielle Connelly, a junior, stated, “It was totally badass.” This custom KSC show: the set list, the lights, effects, and stage will never be done again. As college students, we are continuously developing and GrooveBoston will continue to adapt each show here to fit our likes and grow with us.
The next event will take students on an entirely new, exciting journey.
Regan Driscoll can be contacted at