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The Colgate Maroon-News

A Tranquil Afternoon With Bloomsday’s Iris James Garrison at WRCU

A Tranquil Afternoon With Bloomsday’s Iris James Garrison at WRCU
Instagram / @colgatelivemusic

Colgate University’s student-run radio station WRCU featured indie artist Iris James Garrison, lead singer and songwriter in the band Bloomsday, for its second in-studio concert of the year on Friday, April 12. The radio station glowed with pink mood lighting and around 20 eager guests, all anticipating a memorable musical experience. 

Bloomsday’s music has a very personal touch, giving its listeners a complex understanding of how they experience the world while also evoking a sense of shared experiences through their detailed lyricism. They seem to draw on folk influences, leaning into the story-sharing tradition and especially highlighting the deeper meanings of simple, everyday actions.

As everyone took a seat, Garrison and their guitar filled the room with soft indie music, which poured through the amp and the speakers set up. The crowd nodded along as they played a few songs and was especially excited when Garrison announced they would be playing some unreleased songs that would be featured on their upcoming album “Heart of the Artichoke,” which will be released on June 7.

The song “Dollar Slice” was a beautiful ode to New York and resonated with the audience. Garrison attended school in Ithaca, N.Y., which prompted the artist to bond with the audience over the brutal winters of Upstate New York.

Sophomore Bennett Rowe, the general manager of WRCU’s board, orchestrated the event and shared insights into the selection process.

“I chose Bloomsday because a WRCU alum […] recommended them to us,” Rowe said. “She said Bloomsday wants to do college shows, and I actually was familiar with their first record. There was a lot of planning involving contracts, but the school helped with that, and then there’s payment, sound equipment and figuring out a time, but it’s worth it.”

Students at WRCU work hard to host these types of concerts often. Sophomore Caroline Goldie, who hosts a radio show at WRCU, offered insight on what makes WRCU concerts so special.

“Concerts at the WRCU station are an exciting opportunity for music lovers to connect with artists that they love,” Goldie said. “Not only are these concerts an opportunity for student DJs to connect to their passions, but they also provide an incentive for other students on campus to visit the studio and take advantage of this special resource here on campus. Music brings communities together, and these concerts only strengthen the bond that musically inclined students share here at Colgate.”

Goldie also commented on how bringing indie artists to the radio station provides an opportunity for many to explore unique music, especially for those in the radio station community.

“As student radio hosts, we tend to engage in music in a unique way and appreciate the process through which music is created,” Goldie said. “We also have a tendency to enjoy music from niche indie artists, like Florist, who visited the station recently.”

An attendee, first-year Jay Adolphe, commented on Garrison’s “angelic” voice. 

“I thought that they were incredible. They reminded me a lot of [the band] Big Thief — very unique voice, almost like an angel,” Adolphe said. “It felt like a community of all music lovers coming together in this small space.”

First-year Annika Hansen, echoing similar sentiments, emphasized the importance of having environments like these on campus.

“I think it was really nice to be in an environment where everyone was just relaxing and listening to the music,” Hansen said. “I think that WRCU created a really good atmosphere and opportunity for a bunch of students who enjoy music to listen.”

Between Garrison’s unforgettable musical performance and the unique atmosphere, each attendee was able to connect with each other and the music. It gave members of the Colgate community a moment to escape their busy days, come to the radio station and enjoy a beautiful live performance. Through the organizational and preparatory efforts by WRCU, attendees were treated to some great indie music and an intimate ambiance.

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