The Long Road TO A COMMON Understanding

Let me tell you a story. It is one of pain and frustration, tears and sweat, blood and guts. Well, not so much blood and guts. It is the tale of how SA Concerts came to bring the famous hip-hop artist, Common, to UVM.

We students who run SA Concerts treat it as if it were our child: we feed and nurture it, we conceive fresh ideas in which to clothe it, we praise it as if it were God’s gift. In short, we sacrifice much of our lives and time to it. Like children will often do, sometimes SA gets itself into trouble, and, as its parents, we must be there in its time of need.

It spits up and we wipe its mouth; it gets into a fight at school and we go in to meet with the principle; it gets nabbed by the police for smoking pot and we pick it up from the station; a murder weapon turns up with its prints and we… you get the idea.

Over the years we have endeavored to bring many concerts to UVM, and dealt with many “issues” from impossible hospitality lists (MMW requested “homemade apple pie like mama used to make it”) to incorrigible Vermont weather on the day of an outdoor concert. However, over the winter break, SA Concerts experienced some of its worst mishaps to date.

On January 19th, one month before our first major concert of the semester, we were without a headlining band. “We had Atmosphere lined up back during finals, before the break.” says Audrey LeDuc, SA Concert President. However Atmosphere was not destined to last. On December 31st, Audrey received a call informing her that – Oops! It had slipped their touring manager’s mind – two of their band members would be in Europe on February the 19th. Thanks a lot Atmosphere. Looks like someone just got dropped from SA’s Christmas card list.

Left with an empty stage, Audrey began scrambling to see who was touring, still available, and within our price range for February the 19th. With options limited, and many members of the club calling for a long awaited punk show, Audrey put an offer out to The Dropkick Murphys. “They were in the studio cutting a new album, but I figured Boston is so close, it could work.” The whole club crossed their fingers. The Murphys accepted and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. However, on January 12th, Audrey received yet another dreaded call.

During recording, an artist must channel his or her creative spirit; open the floodgates to one’s rawest emotions. Unfortunately for us, The Dropkick Murphys’ rawest emotion appears to be a drunken rage, which led the lead guitarist to punch the sound engineer in the face, whereupon they were immediately expelled from the studio. (It is not known to this journalist whether alcohol actually played a role in this incident, but if his life were on the line, he would guess that it most certainly did.) Needless to say, The Dropkick Murphys opted not to come to UVM in favor of engaging in a legal battle with the studio.

It was in our last hope, our last desperate flailing attempt to feed our child, SA Concerts, that we came to sign Common for a gym date at UVM. Audrey comments, “It was extremely lucky that Common was available so late in the game. With The Femm Nameless and local B-town boys, Three the Hard Way opening we are psyched to have this show at UVM.” Three the Hard Way’s set will feature the long awaited return of Konflik. The Femm Nameless, an all-women afro-beat group, is from Common’s native Brooklyn enabling the possibility of some on stage collaboration between the two.