KUSF Sold To Benefit University According to Privett

Father Privett was smiling as he said, “the community doesn’t own KUSF. We do.” He seemed to be in good spirits in his office on Thursday morning as he reflected upon the community’s backlash to the sale of 90.3 FM, the former home of university radio station KUSF. Privett, the president of University of San Francisco, stressed that he ultimately does not care whether the San Francisco community is outraged by KUSF’s transition to online broadcasting. “This is not a community resource. This is a university resource. My responsibility is to ensure that our resources directly support the teaching and learning of our students. This is very hard for [the community] to hear. We have no obligation to provide a radio station to the community any more than the law school entails our being a law firm or the nursing school requires we run a hospital.”
While it may seem that removing a university station from the radio would not be in the students’ best interest, KUSF doesn’t seem to be in any sort of interest at all. When interviewed, most students said they had never listened to the station and weren’t aware of the sale. When asked about the sale of the KUSF frequency, Jacquie Hull, a freshman at USF said, “I don’t know anything about it. I had no idea there was a controversy. KUSF…so I’m guessing that’s the radio station?” Of the ten students I interviewed, no one had read or seen anything about the community’s outrage.
Father Privett is keenly aware of the student body’s distance from KUSF. “There fundamental disagreement here is that there are 20 USF students directly involved with KUSF. That’s .002% of our student body.” According to Privett, the sale of KUSF allows the “opportunity for us to rethink how we want to engage our students and what kind of programming we want to offer to the community.” With more student jobs offered at KUSF.org in addition to student internship opportunities that will be offered at 90.3 KDFM, the sale is ultimately going to provide more broadcasting experience for students of Media Studies at USF. In response to the community members who are incensed by the loss of KUSF broadcasting, Privett says “we’re reclaiming and refocusing this resource, which I think is entirely appropriate.”

Circa Survive at the Regency Ballroom

The air was thick with body odor and anticipation on Sunday night, where hundreds of sweaty kids impatiently awaited Circa Survive’s entrance. After waiting in lines snaking around the block and down dark alleys uncomfortably close to the Tenderloin just to enter the venue and standing through three opening bands, the crowd was restless and eager, already packed up against the stage, pinning my arms to my sides and restricting my access to the stale, recycled air.
The first opener was an instrumental trio named Animals as Leaders. Their opening song was jarringly discordant with no clear time signature or melody. As I looked around, most people’s reactions seemed to range from confused to annoyed. But the second the band entered a chugging, metal breakdown, all of these impressions were immediately forgotten. By the end of their set, Animals as Leaders had completely won over the audience with their intricate and technically impeccable playing.
This cannot be said for the next band, Codeseven, who were so god-awful that the only applause they received was when they announced that they would be playing their last song. Melodramatic and seemingly strung out, the lead singer contorted himself disturbingly while the audience shuffled their feet and waited for the plodding set to be over.
The final opener, the Los Gatos rockers Dredg, didn’t make a lasting impression. They played well, but lacked in energy and originality. Though they have a new album due for release in early 2011, they didn’t play any new songs. However, the crowd, eager to rock out to anything that wasn’t Codeseven, responded well. I was lucky to escape a few mosh pits unscathed. By the time that Dredg finished, I was exhausted, sweaty, and a bit cranky. I’m sure I was not alone. We had been at the venue for four and a half hours by the time that Circa Survive finally took the stage.
It only took a few chords to know that the show would be worth the wait. From the moment that Anthony Green took center stage, he held the audience’s undivided attention. Essentially a one man band, Green’s effect on his fans barely falls short of idol worship, and it’s easy to see why. An extremely impressive performer and true rock star, his manic energy and otherworldly singing voice are a force to be reckoned with. As he danced and darted through strobe lights, I found myself unable to look away, fascinated by his talent, incredible stage presence, Cheshire-like smile, and crazy eyes.
His elated fans fought constantly to get closer to Green, clambering, trampling and pushing fruitlessly forward, created a crazed, hectic, and entirely painful environment. Green seemed to feed off of this hysteria, urging fans to “go wild” and “get down”, requests to which they were only too happy to comply as they sang along to every word of every song. Completely aware of his effect on the audience, Green’s interactions with his fans were reminiscent of a puppet master. In his own words, he was “drunk with power” and loving it.
It is completely obvious that Anthony Green loves what he does. Every move that he makes and syllable he sings is charged with electricity from a seemingly inexhaustible source of energy. In my opinion, there are few true rock stars left. Blogs and twitter accounts have made hero-worship a thing of the past, because it demystifies and humanizes our favorite musicians. Anthony Green transcends this. He waves his hands over the audience, just out of reach, as if to remind them that he isn’t their friend, but something more. Something elusive and intriguingly charming.
Despite having to deal with drunken meatheads and trampled toes, Sunday night was the highlight of my week. Circa Survive put on a great show, and I’d recommend future tours to anyone. Let’s just hope they leave Codeseven behind next time.

Gorillaz in Review

From the moment I stepped into Oracle Arena in Oakland on the evening of Saturday, October 30th, I was swept up in a frenzy of Gorillaz fever. Maybe it was the excitement of seeing the audience’s elaborate costumes, the anticipation of finally seeing such a celebrated musical group, or maybe it was the thick haze of marijuana smoke, but I found myself unable to stand still or stop screaming.
The set opened with “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach.” Beneath a giant projection of Snoop Dogg’s face and a huge color-changing Gorillaz marquis, 20 or so musicians swayed with the music. Uncharacteristically, lead singer Damon Albarn took the spotlight, wearing skull make-up in honor of Halloween and weaving across the stage through the brass section, a line of violinists, and a full back-up band, most of whom were wearing masks. My brain was on sensory overload, trying to take in the musicians, the projected music videos, the frenzied lighting and the flashing marquis. As the band played through most of Plastic Beach and highlights of the fan-favorite album “Demon Days,” an entourage of guest stars including Bobby Womack, Yukimi Nagano, and members of the opening band De La Soul, strutted across the stage, competing for attention with car chases, explosions, Bruce Willis, and zombies flashing across the movie theater-sized screen.
The visual hysteria never compromised the marvelously danceable groove of the music, though. The audience’s screams, the glow sticks flying through the air, the countless jack-o-lanterns decorating the stage, and the aggressive displays of affection made by the lesbian couple in front of me only added to the pandemonium. Even though I am a long-time Gorillaz fan and very familiar with their music, I felt as though I was hearing the songs for the first time.
The Gorillaz’s music generally makes me want to tap my feet more than jump around and wave my arms like a madwoman, but in this deliciously crazed environment, I could not stop dancing. Any notes I took are nearly illegible since I refused to stop dancing in order to scrawl the set list. At one point, I even lost balance and toppled into the lesbian couple. Thankfully, they graciously caught me and returned me to my upright position, trying to alleviate my embarrassment.
“Plastic Beach,” which I considered my least favorite Gorillaz album to date, took on a new life at the concert. The songs adopted an energy not present in the recording, particularly “Superfast Jellyfish” which made an incredible transformation from a hokey and borderline-obnoxious filler to a catchy singalong. It dominated the first half of the set, which delayed the “Demon Days” favorites such as “DARE,” “Dirty Harry,” and “El Mañana,” all of which were answered by roars of excitement.
After playing “Dirty Harry,” Albarn halted the performance to speak about his experiences touring in the Middle East where he said he found some of his most open-minded fans. In honor of their misunderstood culture, he announced that the back-up band was comprised entirely of Arab American musicians. Albarn eloquently concluded the interruption with, “The Bay Area is at the forefront of America’s….uh….you know what I’m saying. So give them a big welcome!” As the audience yelled their support, the band launched into a traditional Arabic piece as Albarn rapped over it. The cultural mash-up was an innovative success, and received the loudest applause so far for the evening.
I was devastated when the band announced the end of the show after about an hour and a half set. Apparently I was not alone. After the finishing notes of “Plastic Beach” the audience stomped on the ground so hard that I felt the vibration on the cement steps of the indoor arena. The band returned to the stage for an encore with the ballad “Cloud of Unknowing” then transitioned into their biggest hit and obvious choice for a finale, “Feel Good Inc.” At the song’s finish, many audience members began to leave, but the Gorillaz launched into one of their oldest songs, “Clint Eastwood,” and finished with an extended version of “Don’t Get Lost in Heaven.” This unexpected ending felt like a gift from the band. As the band filed off the stage for a final time, Albarn shouted “Happy Halloween!” Personally, I couldn’t have asked for anything happier that weekend.