Mae accepts controversial invitation to play Charter Day

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January 18, 2008

8:14 PM

Often celebrated as a stuffy day of tradition for the College, this year’s Charter Day festivities will celebrate the event on a rather unorthodox fashion ­— by filling the University Center Chesapeake with rock and roll.

p. The UCAB music committee’s most recent project will promote the old along side the new at the Charter Day weekend concert featuring modern rock troupe Mae on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 9 p.m.

p. Mae got its start in Norfolk, in 2001 and is known for hits such as “Suspension” and “The Everglow.” The College’s ties with the band go further than locality, though. Courtney Davison ’11 used to date bassist Josiah Schlater back when he played for Tokyo, Mae’s opening band from Virginia Beach.

p. “It’s strange because in high school he was always a Mae fan and now he’s a member,” Davison said about Schlater. The bassist is currently a touring member of Mae.

p. While Davison is not a Mae fan herself, she was aware of the band’s growing presence in Virginia Beach during high school.

p. “They were always one of those bands I just assumed the boys with side-swept bangs and Mead composition notebooks filled with scribbles bemoaning the ends of two-week relationships, sulking around the halls of my high school listened to, but I did notice that they increasingly appealed to a wider, often Christian, audience,” Davison said.

p. Besides hailing from right down the road, it seems that the band should also fit in well with the studious nature of the College. According to an interview on AbsolutePunk.net, the band’s name is an acronym for the concept “Multi-sensory Aesthetic Experience.” This was taken from a class drummer Jacob Marshall took while attending Old Dominion University.

p. The reaction to Mae’s upcoming the performace has been mixed, based on the “Mae at William and Mary” Facebook event. Last semester marked the first occasion for which UCAB used Facebook to advertise events such as the Guster performance at Homecoming and the Bright Light Fever show. These shows received a relatively few comments, but an overall positive response online on the social networking site.

p. In contrast, “Mae at William and Mary” has more than 130 wall posts. While many praise UCAB for bringing the band to campus, about half of the comments voice adamant complaints about the band and blame UCAB for discontent with past concerts.

p. “We’re both bummed at the negativity, but also delighted that there has been such an outpouring of vocal responses,” UCAB Music Committee Chair Jeanna Occhiogrosso ’08 said. “We are putting our faith in the old advertising adage ‘no publicity is bad.’”

p. Though many of the Facebook comments offer suggestions for bands that people would rather see come to campus, members of UCAB say they are not worried for the concert because the guest list features over 500 guests.

p. “Musical taste is very personal for students,” Patrick Ross M.A. ’09 said. “I think they are reacting from their hearts and are passionate about music, which is great.”

p. Though Mae won’t have to travel too far from their hometown to visit campus, the process of planning the Charter Day concert was a long and complicated road for UCAB. After many bands fell through due to cost and availability, UCAB faced an intimidating deadline to find an affordable and popular act. With their locality and price, Mae seemed a perfect fit, but the Facebook group seems to show many students disagree.

p. UCAB is not phased by these dissenters, however.

p. “The main outcry with Mae seems to be the fact that the band is ‘too mainstream,’” Ross said. “Interestingly enough, three years ago people complained that we didn’t bring enough mainstream bands. Not everyone will like all of the music we bring to campus and that means we’re doing our job. If we only cater to one type of musical taste, we’re ignoring a significant portion of the student body.”

p. While their new form of online advertising makes complaints public, UCAB finds it to be a proactive forum for the difficult process of booking a band.

p. “Music is very personal to people and Facebook is a quick and easy way to communicate,” Assistant Director of Student Activities Joe Lowder said. “I think it is great feedback for UCAB and a great opportunity for people to learn about the booking process and to get involved in it.”

p. UCAB has recognized that due to passionate and diverse musical tastes, there will likely always be mixed sentiments about campus events.

p. “There is no way everyone on campus will be pleased with every concert, comedian, speaker, cultural event or special event that UCAB plans,” Lowder said. “However, since UCAB has over 100 events a year, there should be something that appeals to a large portion of the campus at some point.”

p. Though Mae’s style does not follow the musical taste of the entire campus, UCAB expects tickets to sell out.

p. Tickets for the Mae Charter Day concert are $5 for students and $15 for the public.

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