Colgate Live Music Collective Ushers In Another Stunning Spring Lineup

The Colgate Live Music Collective is back and kicking off the new year in style with four fantastic shows from Feb. 4 through March 21. Below is an interview with one of the creators of the program, Josh Finnell, and a current student volunteer Jacob Steinberg.

315 Music: When did the Live Music Collective start? It was founded as faculty and staff working with students. Who were the first members?

Josh Finnell: The Collective officially launched in the spring of 2022, but the spirit of the idea had been circulating for quite a while in the community. Jeff Bary and Mary Simonson’s house shows and creation of the Brown Commons Coffeehouse shows really sparked the Collective. Jacob Steinberg, Thao Mai, and the entire WRCU board have been core members since our launch. Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our incredible sound engineer, Jeremy Johnston, too.

315: How did you get involved with the collective and what are your goals?

Jacob Steinberg: I first got involved with the collective while trying to get some bands I know from back home booked. I had asked some members of the Colgate radio station, WRCU 90.1 FM, who to talk to about getting bands booked for performances. I was directed to Jeff Bary and the Live Music Collective, and we’ve been working together ever since.

315: Why do you think live music is important in today’s society?

JS: We were all locked inside for two years. For some of us that meant losing jobs, while for others it meant missing out on a critical time to develop socially. Having these events, where lots of people can come together as a group and share a good time, is important for our personal recovery after the lockdown. Even if you don’t go to the concert with your friends, you’ll have made new ones by the end of the night.

JF: The composer, Vijay Iyer, describes live performances as “being together in time.” I think we all felt time move away from us these last few years, and I think being back together in an intentional community is an excellent way to ground ourselves in time. Whether watching Nora Brown play the clawhammer banjo in FoJo or Sadurn play a set at WRCU, we are all together sharing the moment.

315: What do you see as the importance of making these shows available for students and the public?

JF: First and foremost, the Collective aims to build an intentional community around live performances – both on campus and in our village (from attendance to running the shows). It’s really great to see WRCU, in particular, embrace the concept of live sessions at the radio station. We hope more than a few students might think about exploring the music industry as a viable profession after graduation.

SN: What barriers do you think students and or locals might have in coming to concerts?

JS: Certainly I think publicity is a challenge. For all the work we put into publicizing Punkfest, for example, there were still a lot of people who didn’t know a thing about it until after the day of the show. I also think that venue booking can be a challenge. There are only so many people you can fit inside Flour and Salt, FoJo Beans, or WRCU. There’s an (understandable) lack of large venues here.

315: These concerts are labors of love, and a lot of work to put on. What drives you to dedicate your time and where does your passion for music begin in life?

JS: I’ve been in love with hard rock and heavy metal since my childhood when my dad used to let me use his iPod for long car rides or plane trips. When I was fifteen I joined the School of Rock, a program that teaches children and teenagers how to perform rock music. A couple of years later, I started my own band, called Arsenic. At Colgate, WRCU is like a second home to me, and I run a radio show based around sharing my music taste with others. More recently, I got very involved in the New Jersey Hardcore scene, and I have made many close friends at shows and events in the scene.

315: What are you most excited about this Spring? All the shows and locations look fantastic!

JS: Serengeti! I’ve been listening to his music a lot lately in preparation for his performance, and I can’t wait to see him live!

315: What are you and your peers most proud of with these efforts?

JF: Any musician will tell you that touring has become harder in 2022. Between inflation and the pandemic, there is a significant financial and health risk to touring the globe as a professional musician. What I’m most proud of is that all of our artists feel celebrated for sharing their life’s work with us. We hope they depart Hamilton to their next tour stop with us with as much joy and gratitude as they left behind.

We appreciate the time from Josh and Jacob as this wonderful project continues to amaze those near and far. You can also follow the Colgate Music Collective’s Instagram page here for details and updates.

Feb. 4 – Leslie Mendelson – Flour & Salt Bakery, Hamilton, NY

March 2 – Serengeti – WRCU @ “The Coop” Colgate University

April 14 – Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – TBA

March 21 – Charlie Ballantine Trio – Case-Geyer Library

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