‘Live @ the Bema’ concert draws crowds in its first year
By Clifton Lyons, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, August 14, 2012
On Sunday, Programming Board and the student-run FM station 99 Rock co-sponsored the “Live @ the Bema” concert, concluding Fieldstock weekend with an afternoon of performances by New York musician Brent Knight, local bands All About Gladys and the Chris Kleeman Band and the student band TOAST. While newly formed, TOAST has grown in popularity across campus, performing at several events throughout the summer term.
“Live @ the Bema” was the first concert of its type that took place at the Bema, according to Virginia Ratliff ’14, who originally pitched the idea to Programming Board.
“I think ‘Live @ the Bema’ was an excellent precursor to similar events in the future,” Ratliff said. “The Bema is such a great venue, especially as an intimate concert space and one that I hope the Class of 2014 can utilize. Programming Board was critical and wonderful in putting together the event.” Ratliff praised the efforts of Caroline Steffen ’14 and Worth Goodell ’14 to organize the concert.
Goodell, who worked closely with Mike Silverman of the Dartmouth Outing Club House and Ratliff to secure the four bands, said that he wanted a venue that would create a relaxed outdoor concert for students to “unwind after the big weekend.”
“I think that it was a great success,” Goodell said. “A lot of people were only able to come for around 20 minutes due to schoolwork, but they seemed to have a great time and told their friends to go.”
Jacqui Calloway ’14, who attended the event, said she appreciated the concert’s location.
“The Bema is actually a fantastic choice for a concert venue — the atmosphere is really chill and it’s just so pretty,” Calloway said. “I was especially impressed with TOAST’s performance, and Brent Knight did some fantastic covers. ‘Empire State of Mind’ was definitely a highlight.”
TOAST, who performed at 4 p.m., drew the biggest crowd out of the four musical acts.
“TOAST was, without a doubt, the highlight of the show,” Calloway said. “I’m sure I speak for our class when I say that I hope to see more of them.”
Despite their many shows this summer and their rapid rise to campus fame, TOAST is a relatively new creation that only officially formed at the beginning of this term, member Zach Cutler ’14 said. Member Alex Brown ’14 and Cutler performed as a duo throughout their freshman year and sophomore fall at various “open mic” events. At the concert, Cutler played acoustic guitar and sang while Brown played the djembe. The two were joined by Xander Arnold ’14, who played guitar and keyboard. Cutler and Arnold began to discuss working together while attending the music Foreign Study Program in London together this past spring, Cutler said.
“Xander and I roomed together while on our FSP,” Cutler said. “He and I actually only played music together once during the end of spring term, but we talked about music a lot and did some production stuff on his computer, so I asked him if he wanted to play in a band with me and he definitely wanted to.”
Cutler said he began to work with Arnold on creating material and was soon asked to play at a campus barbecue at Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority earlier this month.
“It’s been really fun so far, and we plan on staying together for the rest of our time at Dartmouth,” he said.
Ryan McWilliams ’14 joined the group shortly after visiting Cutler and Arnold during a travel break from his art history FSP in Rome.
“I found out Ryan played bass, and having known him from Barbary Coast in the winter as a trombonist, I knew he was a good musician,” Cutler said. “A few weeks later I blitzed him and asked him if he would want to be in a band and he said yes.”
Cutler, who had wanted to start a band since coming to Dartmouth, said he was glad the band finally materialized this term.
Cutler said that he and his band mates thoroughly enjoyed performing at the Bema and noted that the sizeable and enthusiastic crowd created a vibrant concert atmosphere.
“Hanover Strings set up an amazing sound system, and the food was great,” Cutler said. “The blues trio that went on before us, All About Gladys, was awesome. I’ve played with the drummer and bassist before, and they’re really talented musicians.”