The Whitman Music Dichotomy

Quin Nelson

Frats aren’t always known for musical diversity, but this was not the case at the TKE house on Friday night. Hosting their all-campus “Space Jam” party, the house was able to display both sides of the Whitman music experience under one roof.

The first ninety minutes of the party were centered on live music. The opener was the whimsical ukulele duo of Tristan Gavin and Chris Perkins, who gained a small but appreciative crowd before giving up the stage to punk rockers Watersports. Watersports put on a very solid performance that even inspired some mosh pit action. The next act, Annie Ocean, was a little less punk but still a very solid show.

The music then moved downstairs, making this the transition point between the two sides of the Whitman music culture. After the live rock music at the main floor of the TKE house came a couple hours of DJ sessions in the basement. Rather than the crowd moving downstairs, one crowd filed in and an entirely different group filed in. Besides a handful of people, the people who came for the live bands did not stay for the electronic/hip-hop sets going on in the basement.

This moment encapsulates the two sides to the music experience that Whitman students enjoy. There’s a group that has a strong appreciation for rock and live musicianship, who show up faithfully to any live concert on campus. And there’s a much larger group that likes the rave experience of EDM. The “Space Jam” party showed how the Whitman campus is diverse enough to have both of these cultures, but that there is not much overlap between them. If you were thrashing around to Watersports, you were probably not grinding in the basement to DJ R4bbithouse.

This was a little surprising given how Whitman students are usually known for their wide range of interests. However, given the chance to experience both guitars and turntables in one night, most people just chose one. The largely flannel-clad rock fans were out the door early, just as the ravers in tights filed into the basement.

It’s awesome that Whitman is home to both of these groups and that one party can satisfy both of their music needs. However, it would be even cooler if each group could try out the experience of the other group. Rock bands and DJ sets are both a lot of fun in their own distinct ways and it doesn’t take a specific type of person to enjoy and appreciate both. And you could start some great mosh pits with EDM.