Mannequin Pussy Concert Brings Catharsis to Colgate

Bri Liddell, Staff Writer

On Friday, Feb. 11, more than 200 students trudged through sleet and slush to the Hall of Presidents (HOP) for the first live concert of the semester. The band playing at the HOP for the night was the Philadelphia-based, indie punk rock band Mannequin Pussy. The group was brought to campus by the Live Music Collective (LMC) with the support of WRCU, Colgate’s student-run radio station. 

Students flooded into the HOP dressed in a combination of combat boots and fishnet stockings, glitter eyeshadow and charcoal, and pink bows and wild hair. Everything about the crowd screamed originality, including the custom carnival-themed tickets designed by first-year Thao Mai for the event.

For a few moments, students milled about the halls talking to one another until Mannequin Pussy took the stage, and there was a sudden rush to get as close to the action as possible. Starting with one of their most popular songs, “Perfect,” the band transformed the Hall of Presidents from a stately room commemorating past Colgate presidents into a mosh pit in mere seconds.

Dressed in a grunge assortment of crop tops, Carhartt beanies and furry skirts, the band played with the wild energy and ferocity unique to punk rock and encouraged the audience to match that same energy. Banging their heads and jumping up and down, the audience bought into the colorful, energetic atmosphere immediately, roaring their approval for the band and yelling words immediately drowned out by the speakers. 

Before long, an air of sweat and cotton candy vape filled the smoky hall, only adding to the sensory overload. On stage, band members refreshed themselves with hard seltzers and red solo cups which then littered the stage. Multicolor spotlights lit up the room, glinting off of tin cans, metallic instruments and glitter eyeshadow at random.

Mannequin Pussy was relentless in their tracks with one of their only breaks coming about half an hour in when lead singer and electric guitarist Marisa “Missy” Dabice addressed the audience for the first time to introduce the band. After playing nonstop at extreme volume for more than 30 minutes, Dabice’s words sounded muffled but distinct, like an angel’s voice breaking through the static.

“We are Mannequin Pussy! Thank you so much for coming tonight. I know lots of bands talk s*** about playing colleges because they’re not fun. But you, Colgate, you’re fun!”

Following this statement, Dabice dropped her head and by the time she threw it back again, red hair flashing, the band had already launched into a new song, “High Horse.” Powerful and filled with raw, visceral emotion, Dabice’s voice filled the entire hall, matched only in its power by the extreme volume of the bass, drums and electric guitar pumping from the speakers. 

Reaching a crescendo with the words, “I feel your breath on me, I can taste it in my teeth,” the band devolved into headbanging with the audience following suit. Soon after, strobe lights began to flash in time with the headbanging followed by spotlights projecting from either side of the stage, alternately blinding those in the audience and illuminating the painted faces of past presidents lining the walls.

Mannequin Pussy’s lively performance continued for several songs until Dabice once again took the microphone in her hands and began whispering into it, a stark contrast to the tortured wailing she had been doing just a moment earlier. 

“There are a few things that we know,” hissed Dabice, as if letting the audience in on a secret. “And the first is that all of us in this room are connected right now. We’re all here seeking the same thing. Seeking something that is simply called catharsis.”

Holding the “s” sound, Dabice contorted her body into a full backbend and ran her hands through her tousled hair. 

“Sometimes, Colgate,” she continued in an even softer, more confidential voice, “All you can do is just freaking scream. Before we finish our set, we would be honored if you would all just scream with us.”

On the count of three, the entire audience let loose a scream so loud and visceral that President Brian Casey could have heard it from his house at the top of the hill. Before the audience’s collective scream could even die out, the band launched into their most extreme song of the night, “F.U.C.A.W.”

Passionate lyrics about spitting in faces and broken necks blasted from the speakers, mixing with prolonged electric guitar riffs and the roar of the crowd until it became impossible to distinguish lyrics from instrumentals and the band from the audience. 

For their final song of the night, Dabice passed the microphone to bass player Colins “Bear” Regisford for an explicit track entitled “Pigs is Pigs.” Following his part of the song, Regusford tore off the stage and out of the hall altogether, followed soon after by the other members of the band. Leaving the stage as abruptly as they had come, Mannequin Pussy kept students on their toes from start to finish.

After the concert, sophomore Max Gardinier reflected on why he had been so eager to bring Mannequin Pussy to Colgate in the first place, 

“I think the beauty of Mannequin Pussy playing here lies in the contrast; here we have an institution that is predominantly straight, white and rich, and Mannequin Pussy, as a band, rejects the system that places those identities at the top of the social hierarchy, with queer, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-cop lyrics. To have them scream said lyrics in a building whose walls are lined with portraits of past Colgate presidents, all of whom were white with only one woman amongst them, was a cathartic repudiation of Colgate’s bigoted past,” said Gardinier.

Senior and Publicity Director of WRCU Cassi Bielmeier was equally impressed by the concert.

“Mannequin Pussy was everything we hoped for… Crowds can be smaller or more reserved at college shows, people still feel like they’re on campus rather than at a real concert. But not this time; the space was transformed and everyone lost themselves in the hype.”

As students exited the venue after the concert, ears still ringing, they shouted their praise to one another. 

“Oh my God, that was so good,” shouted first-year Raina Haley, her hands cupped to her mouth like an amplifier. “Totally worth the buzzing in my ears.”

To stay up to date on upcoming concerts like this one, make sure to follow the Live Music Collective and WRCU on Instagram: @colgatelivemusic and @wrcu90.1