Sidney Gish concert source of anticipation for students

Designed+by+Zoe+Oneil.+Courtesy+of+WECB.+

Designed by Zoe Oneil. Courtesy of WECB.

By Dionna Santucci

After near-radio silence on streaming and social media platforms for the better part of 2022, Boston-based singer-songwriter Sidney Gish is expected to perform on Emerson’s very own Robert J. Orchard Stage on Wednesday Apr. 6. 

Gish is an indie rock musician best known for her internet-hit single “Presumably Dead Arm,” and her sophomore album No Dogs Allowed—which won her Album of the Year at the 2018 Boston Music Awards. Since then, she has toured with Mitski, released a project with Cavetown, and performed at various festivals across North America, most notably South By Southwest. 

Soon enough, Gish will add Emerson’s Paramount Theater to her repertoire of venues, along with her openers for that night: JOBIE and Jo & the Average

First-year visual media arts student Carolina Whitaker explained how surprised she was when the concert was announced. 

“I’ve been a fan of [Gish] since 2019, and I never thought I would see her in concert,” Whitaker said. “I didn’t even know she was still performing. I’m just excited to see her because she’s a big part of the kind of music I listen to.” 

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The Spring Concert, presented by WECB Live, is a free, exclusive event open to Emerson students starting at 8 p.m. Tickets can be picked up at no cost from the Paramount Box Office, open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  

“I think this is a really great opportunity for students, and I’m really glad that Emerson is able to host this [concert],” first-year creative writing major Sophia Mullins said. “I’ve heard a lot of other colleges in the area doing similar things, and I’m glad that Emerson was able to offer something like this to their students as well.” 

Mullins thinks the event is a good way for college students to enjoy live music in a more accessible and affordable way. 

“I’m excited to be there and to get to have that concert experience with some of my friends while also not having to go out of my way to another venue and, honestly, not having to pay is great,” Mullins said. 

Whitaker agreed with Mullins’s sentiment. 

“As someone who likes experiencing [live music], I feel like I haven’t been able to go out as much since I’ve had to budget a lot of my money towards food and things that I need as a student,” Whitaker said. “Having that experience to see one of my favorite artists for free and with little-to-no travel is a great thing.” 

Both of the openers for the Spring Concert, JOBIE (Josie Arthur) and Jo & the Average (Jo Malicdem) are Emerson students themselves. Arthur is a sophomore theater major who has performed at venues like the Tourist Trap in Allston, and recently released the music video for their single “All For One.” Malicdem, a junior journalism major, is no stranger to performing her dreamy acoustic ballads at Emerson and has built a cult following on campus.

For students who aren’t familiar with Arthur’s or Malicdem’s music, the Spring Concert is already proving to be a source of inspiration to engage with new music. 

“I’m kind of happy about the fact that I haven’t heard [Arthur or Malicdem’s music] because I love getting to experience new music in a live setting,” Mullins said. “I think there’s always a greater connection to the artist when you hear them for the first time in the medium that they are supposed to be playing in.” 

Students are expecting to enjoy the openers, regardless of whether or not they have heard either musicians’ music before. 

“I’m always looking for new music, and if you’re opening for Sidney Gish, then [the music] is probably similar in vibe which adds to the experience,” Whitaker said. 

As for hearing Gish perform live from Paramount, students’ excitement for the upcoming event is revving up with every passing day. 

Mullins felt a connection to Gish’s music from the moment she first heard it. 

“I heard ‘Persephone’ over the summer, and I just immediately added it to my summer playlist,” Mullins said. “Through that, I was able to listen to her other stuff. ‘Presumably Dead Arm’ is one of my favorites by [Gish].” 

Whitaker recalled in 2019 when she and her friends walked around their hometown listening to the Gish’s music. 

“We sat on a billboard and we got Shirley Temples,” Whitaker said. ”I just have a lot of positive memories associated with her music. So her performing at Emerson is kind of a personal 2019 revival.” 

The Spring Concert has garnered a lot of attention on social media, with students, the performers themselves, and even alumni expressing their enthusiasm for the event. One alum commented on WECB’s Instagram post announcing the concert, citing the fact the concert was “three years too late,” referring to the concert being exclusive to current Emerson students. 

While not being the first free event WECB or similar campus organizations have put on, the Spring Concert is garnering a level of popularity among students that makes it stand on its own.