Karabella Hernandez

Contributing Writer

On Saturday evening, Rat Queen, PUBLIC and Soccer Mommy played at Party on the Green to an enthusiastic group of students on the residential quad. Beautiful weather greeted the artists — a rare occurrence for concerts on campus — that reflected the bright and energetic mood of the large crowd. The night as a whole was a success between the three masterful performances, supplemented by plenty of free food and snacks, merch from the artists and casual photo opportunities with both PUBLIC and Soccer Mommy.

Campus band Rat Queen opened the show with a set of six songs including their popular tracks “Summer Lightning” and “Other Wonders,” as well as a brand-new untitled song. In an interview after the show, band members Eleanor Linafelt ’20 and Robyn Newcomb ’20 said that their set list was comprised of songs written over the last three years of their college careers, some dating back to the summer after their first year. When choosing which songs they would play and in which order, Linafelt and Newcomb stated that the band wanted to select tracks that would get their audience up and dancing. The band also commented that the crowd for their set was larger than they expected for the beginning of the show, probably due to the agreeable weather, the location and the great setup. Linafelt commented that she appreciated the fact that there were both friends and new faces there, including first-years, that the energy was really fun and that the crowd seemed really into it, with many people dancing throughout. 

Newcomb noted that while she was appreciative for the opportunity to perform, “in the future it has to be a serious priority for Wooster to stop bringing exclusively white acts. There are so many ways that this campus centers whiteness already, and there is no reason that an event for all students — that spends thousands of dollars of students’ tuition money — should almost invariably be just white indie-rock/pop bands every year. I know W.A.C. has had setbacks recently and its hard to organize an event so early in the year, but if you have the ability to bring anyone, then you have the ability to bring artists of color — there’s no shortage of diverse musicians.” Newcomb pointed to last year’s Party on the Green lineup as a great indicator of progress but emphasized that it needs to be a sustained effort rather than a one-time occurrence. “That means actual, consistent diversity, not just sprinkling in one black rapper every now and then next to 20 white dudes on the stage,” Newcomb said.

Importantly, at the end of the interview Linafelt and Newcomb also noted: “If anyone is interested in getting involved in music on campus, please contact us for resources, equipment, etc. Wooster students are incredibly supportive and not scary at all and will encourage you.”

After Rat Queen came PUBLIC, an alternative pop rock band probably known best for their recent hit “Make You Mine.” During this set the crowd reached its peak energy and so responded well to PUBLIC’s lively set that included flashing lights, a jump up to the crowd by the lead singer and even a surprise cartwheel across the stage by the bassist — notably while still holding his bass guitar. PUBLIC was interactive with students as well, commenting that Wooster students, unlike students at other colleges they had played for, were incredibly enthusiastic and supportive throughout the whole set. Students were excited to track down the band members after their set to take photos and comment on their amusingly patterned shirts. 

Finally, headlining Party on the Green was indie band Soccer Mommy, somewhat better known than PUBLIC but toning down the mood somewhat. Their crisp, evocative songs were mostly a hit with the crowd, which at this point in the night was at its maximum size as students congregated for the final act. Though the band’s songs were slower than PUBLIC’s, a function of the switch in genre, Soccer Mommy still managed to mostly hold the crowd’s attention throughout the hour-long set. Sophie Allison, the lead singer of Soccer Mommy, sang with a plaintive voice that complemented the atmospheric, moody guitar riffs featuring in the majority of her songs. “Wasting All My Time” was met with some students becoming distracted on their phones and others using their phones’ flashlights to wave overhead as they held each other close. Many couples and close friends could be seen hugging and swaying back and forth to this emotional song. This was an outlier, however, in that as a moving song it slowed down the energy of the crowd; this energy was raised during songs such as “Your Dog,” a crowd-pleaser in its driving melody and rancorous lyrics. Even with its ups and downs, Soccer Mommy’s set was well-received, and audience members commented after the show that the performance did not let them down.

Overall, some members of the audience felt that PUBLIC’s set was the highlight of the show, while others were firm in their devotion to Soccer Mommy. PUBLIC demanded the attention of the crowd throughout the entire set, and while Soccer Mommy did so to some extent, PUBLIC’s energetic alternative rock/pop genre lent itself to the energy that many students so enjoyed. But Soccer Mommy certainly did not disappoint, bringing their best songs to the show, and Rat Queen started off the show powerfully with their own Wooster-beloved tracks. The three bands together did well in making this year’s Party on the Green a great experience for students at Wooster.