For the second year in a row, the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon are holding their Rock Against Rape concert on the front lawn of their house located on College Avenue. The debut event last year featured three bands including Seeking Homer, a group from New York that has been featured several times on campus. The artist lineup was adjusted this year, with more of a focus on local acts, featuring five bands from Maine.
Portland’s 6Gig and Paranoid Social Club, featuring former members of the Rustic Overtones, are scheduled to headline. Now Transmission, Headstart and Lifedown will complete the lineup, with local DJ talent also in the mix. The event, which has been in planning since spring semester of this year, will cost much less to produce than last year. This was a benefit to SigEp, who footed the budget of $5000, with funding from the Safe Campus Project. Last year the budget for the event was $7000, with $5000 supplied by Student Government.
The concert promises to be a loud one full of energy.
“You’ll see me jump around,” Ray Labbe of Now Transmission said. “We just try to get the crowd involved, to get into it. We can definitely condone that kind of thing.”
The concert is an opportunity to showcase and generate interest in local bands, while disseminating the Safe Campus message. The event was scheduled early in the semester on purpose, in order to reach new students as soon as possible and educate them about safety on campus, what is going on already and what they can do to help.
Because of the limited venues for rock performances in the Bangor area, bands have to take what they can get for gigs and split as little as $100 between a four member group. Bands who signed up for Bumstock this past spring saw even less, and it seems that sometimes bands are expected to play for nothing at all. Local rock musicians face low financial incentives, combined with difficulty finding opportunities to play or even to practice.
“[Audiences] don’t realize that for every hour on stage, a band has rehearsed about 40 hours,” Ian Muir, guitarist for Lifedown, said. “But the reward comes when four musicians can get together and create music the world has never heard before.”
Bands that perform at UMaine have a hard time staying away. This will be 6Gig’s third visit to the Orono area, following performances at Wells Commons, Ushuaia and Bumstock this past spring. Paranoid Social Club was also present at Bumstock, and will take the stage at Ushuaia this Wednesday night. When asked about returning to Orono, Walter, lead singer/guitarist of 6Gig, said, “[We] haven’t played another college town that rocks as hard as UMO, period.” 6Gig will be promoting the release of their new album, “Mind Over Mind,” in stores this week.
In addition to the music, the overshadowing message of this event is the awareness of rape and sexual assault.
“I think it really is a pretty cool thing, actually,” Carey Nason, the coordinator of the Safe Campus Project, said. “Not only are they [SigEp] doing an event that is open to the public and not only are they holding an event that is chem free, but, it’s also a fund-raiser of sorts (by donation) for Rape Response Services of Bangor.”
The concert will begin at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday. Donations will be accepted at the event and all proceeds will be given directly to Rape Response Services.