Kenyon Counterpoint: The Horn vs. The VI

878334012Motown at the Village Inn via

While there are a seemingly endless amount of concert venues in Gambier if you get creative, the two main guns are the Horn Gallery and the VI. Thrill contributors, Dan Rasch ‘14 and Noah Weinman ‘16 have played and witnessed shows at both venues, and have come together to hash out which venue ought to win boasting rights as the best show in town.

Noah – The Village Inn

Upside: The biggest advantage of the VI is the bar. The Horn is alcohol free, and while many enjoy their beverages before arriving, only at the VI can you groove and sip simultaneously. The fact that the VI is the usual hotspot for many student “party” bands seems to create a greater kinship between the audience and the performers on a good night. Given the right group and enough drinks in circulation (and that the center divider has been moved), the VI can be a rollicking joint. Performers also can get paid, though this is rare.

Downside: Though the crowd at the VI seems to get down much harder than those at the Horn, they are also less interested in the music. A student band that doesn’t cater to the insatiable cravings for Hip-Hop/Funk/Soul music is often ignored at the VI. The other edge of the sword here is that the alcohol and kinship that can be the source of such a great time is also the cause to wholly ignore the band, the mentality being (a) they’re amateurs and (b) the bar is the other direction from the stage.

Bottom Line: The VI has the potential to be more fun, but the crowd isn’t necessarily the most open minded, whereas the Horn can be a bit stiff, but accepting of all sorts of sounds. Having played at both venues, The VI is probably the more “honest” venue in that if the crowd is really digging your stuff, you’ll know it. The flipside to this is that an unenthused VI crowd will turn their back to you quicker than Miles Davis. It verges on being more of a party than a concert, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

1609692_10203077537198125_1408538824_nMykki Blanco at the Horn via

Dan – The Horn Gallery

Upside: I know what you’re thinking – who wants to see live music in a barn full of hipsters swaying vaguely along to the beat?  I’ve been asked this question before, in various forms, and my answer is usually that in my time here, I’ve seen Horn audiences moshing, hanging from rafters, cross-legged on the floor singing along to the Stairwells, and yes, swaying awkwardly.  But you get (a) a more all-encompassing musical selection than you would at the VI – from mbira concerts to raves – and (b) crowds who are there specifically for the music and not to socialize over a Long Island, or four.

Downside: Alright, the “it’s a barn tho” objection has some weight to it.  The acoustic is…how do I say?  “Boomy?”  Great news if you’re seeing Johnny Flynn; but if the act of the night is, say, Teengirl Fantasy, you might not be able to pick out individual instruments in the mix.  The space can really cloud up detailed musical textures like that and make it hard to make out the lyrics, say.

Bottom Line: There’s always a lot of music going on at Kenyon – and don’t get me wrong, every once in a while the VI will put on six or seven absolutely raging concerts in a row – but despite the promise of booze over at the Inn, the Horn Gallery has always really had my heart.  I’d rather see MachineDrum play a barn with only 8 other heads in it, than elbow my way through yet another Motown concert before someone spills my drink.

3 responses

  1. Pingback: Where Was It Said: The Horn or Bed? | The Thrill

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