Student Spotlight: Friday Night Rock Hosts Campus Concerts

The student-run organization brings energy to Sarner Underground, with musicians performing three times per term.

by Madeline Sawyer | 09/28/21 2:05 am

Cooper Zebrack, guitarist for rock band Moon Unit, performing for the FestNR event.

Source: Courtesy of Addison Green

United by a passion for live music, the students who make up Friday Night Rock bring groups to campus to perform, providing a unique alternative space to Greek life. Founded in 2004, the student-run organization hosts musicians three times per term, hosting free concerts for students from Dartmouth to Sarner Underground.

Current FNR members identify a variety of motivations for joining, from a long-standing appreciation for live music to positive experiences as audience members. The FNR encourages any Dartmouth student who enjoys listening to music to enroll, regardless of their musical experience or background.

FNR General Managers Addison Green ’22 and Anaïs Berumen Swift ’22 – whose role is largely focused on recruiting new members – underlined the important role club members play in planning and organizing events. .

“I think probably the biggest draw to the club is that we take a lot of feedback from all of our members about the groups we bring to campus, as long as they’re within our price range and relatively small,” he said. declared Green. “I think that’s probably why people would want to join us, just because you’re more involved in it.”

Green said she was first prompted to join the FNR in her second fall, when singer-songwriter Nick Rattigan – who publishes music under the moniker Current Joys – performed at Dartmouth on Rattigan’s birthday. After the concert, Green and a small group of students met in the green room of Sarner Underground to sing “Happy Birthday” and eat cake with the Rattigans.

“I think it’s really cool that you can have a contribution based on the music you listen to,” Green said. “[You can] bring that group to campus, put on a really intimate concert, then hang out with the group afterward.

Many current members joined the FNR after attending one of their concerts – which was often followed by memorable interactions with the musicians. Both Green and Swift highlight meeting singer-songwriter Sidney Gish in their first year of school.

“She’s our age and she’s a student in Boston so it was super cool spending time with someone who’s a student but also in the music industry,” Swift said. “It’s great fun meeting artists who are really close to our age but incredibly talented.”

Even in rural New Hampshire, FNR members want to deliver live music to their fellow students and create memorable experiences. Notable favorites of the group include rock band KROME, pop group No Vacation, Montreal indie pop group and Mr Twin Sister, whom Swift particularly enjoyed.

“They are one of my favorite bands,” Swift said. “It was crazy having them here at a little college in New England.”

Jackson Elder ’23, who is in charge of hospitality, joined in the fall of his sophomore year after attending several concerts in his first year. Like Green and Swift, he enjoys interacting with guest musicians, highlighting a conversation with electronic musician Skylar Spence on the Boston music scene as a highlight.

“It’s always really cool because I can meet and hang out and have normal conversations with artists who are professional musicians, which I feel is not a normal thing that people have. ‘opportunity to do,’ Elder said.

For Elder, who attends concerts from a young age and identifies music as an influential force in his life, FNR’s commitment to bringing live music to students is essential.

“I remember it was always a highlight to be able to go see cool bands [my freshman year] because going to see live music was always a big thing for me in high school, ”Elder said. “I was a little worried coming to Hanover that there wouldn’t be the same amount of live music, so it was really great to see that there was such a club dedicated to that.”

When Clara Pakman ’23 started creating promotional posters for the FNR, she realized this was an opportunity to combine her interests in music and design. Today, as the group’s advertising manager, she appreciates the artistic freedom she has to design marketing materials.

Pakman accompanied a friend to her first FNR meeting when she fell in first grade. They befriended their appreciation of music and enjoyed meeting other students who shared their interests.

“It’s fun because the FNR has been the place where our friendships really grew,” Pakman said. “This is how I met a lot of my close friends, so I really want this to be a space where people can make such friendships as well. And hopefully [they] will spend time outside the club – just get to know each other and talk about music and common tastes.

Green also appreciates the FNR liaison, describing it as “a small group of friends.” Like Pakman, she has met many of her closest friends through the organization and said that she “loves everyone who [she’s] met in the club.

Unable to bring groups to the campus for a year and a half, the FNR created a radio show with thematic playlists to keep the club alive. Additionally, the radio show featured interviews with groups the FNR has hosted in the past, including musician Quiet Luke and rock band Habibi.

“We tried to keep a club that is very much based on in-person events when we couldn’t have in-person events,” said Green.

Through the challenges of the past year and a half, the friendships formed by members have extended beyond their official meeting hours. Four members heard electronic musician Pictureplane in Kingston, NY this summer, and immediately invited him to campus. Pictureplane will be playing at the FNR’s first concert this quarter, scheduled for Friday, October 1.

As they return to planning for in-person events, the FNR faces challenges navigating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including uncertainties over collection restrictions in the small space of Sarner Underground. However, the band remains hopeful for Pictureplane’s Dartmouth debut as well as an October 22 performance by alternative rock band Slothrust and their heavy metal band RIP.

“We’re really excited,” Green said. “It looks like this term is going to be a very normal term as far as clubs are concerned, so it’s really exciting.”

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