“We built our own house, own house
With our hands over our hearts
And we swore on that day
That it will never fall apart.”
As I watched Mandy Lee dance like there was no tomorrow in front of all of us on the Stokes Lawn, I had no doubt that she believed what she sang with all she had. I can’t even imagine how awesome it must have felt to have such a large portion of the student body shout her lyrics or to have seen people hoisted up (despite security’s best efforts) to surf over the crowd from where Misterwives stood on stage on Saturday the 17th. The very first CAB organized StokesSet definitely went off with a bang to say the least. Juice made BC proud as they have been since they started, sharing the stage with Misterwives and getting the crowd pumped with a great opening set. Then Misterwives started with Best I Can Do, bringing a tangible energy to the crowd and to the night.
I saw Misterwives two summers ago in Milwaukee and was blown away by how happy their music made me. I was not surprised when their StokesSet performance gave me the same feeling. Mandy Lee, William Hehir, Etienne Bowler, Marc Campbell, Jesse Blum, and Mike Murphy formed their band in late 2012 in New York City. Their sound is most commonly described as indie pop and their smash hits Reflections and Our Own House are their most widely known independence and strength inspired anthems. We also got to hear two of their new songs, “Hurricane” and “Drummer Boy”, both of which built the anticipation for what is bound to be a fantastic second album.
What really struck me about the performance that night was everything that Mandy said about equality and the power of music. Live music is an amazing thing in itself, but when an artist takes the time to spread positive messages while inspiring unity during their short time on the stage, even more hope and emotion emerges through the notes they play. As Mandy had us join her in belting out “Not your way,” she had us sing again, this time singing with the power of the belief that “Everyone on this planet is to be treated with the love, respect, and equality they deserve.” As the cheers of the crowd erupted, we were all reminded of the importance of equality and the need for love in a world that has become such a divided place in so many respects. The scale at which music is a tool for this unity and love differs for different people, but I truly believe that it is one of the most amazing things in the world, because of the feelings it invokes and the messages it spreads. Mandy referred to gender equality and the acceptance of people of all sexual orientations and all races. She combined the power of music with the power of loving beliefs to inspire a lawn full of students who are meeting different kinds of people almost everyday as the school year is beginning, and who are learning about the beauty of diversity in not only their classes, but also in their daily interactions. Love, respect, and equality are such incredible emotions and actions that are so important to value and uphold within our campus that is full of people from many places, who speak many languages, who hold numerous faiths, who love who they love, and who want to learn about different things in order to do what they feel they are meant to do in this life.
There is something about music that makes me believe in good things. I think Misterwives agrees with that, and it is so cool that BC got to experience their love-filled and empowering music in such a familiar setting. Mandy said it all when she told us, “No matter what you’re going through, no matter your struggles, you are not alone. That is the beauty of music. It connects each and every single one of us to each other and through that we are an unstoppable force that can conquer anything and everything. And we must always always lift each other up.” Within ‘our own house’ that is BC, within all the houses, homes, and places we go, as we meet new people and learn new things about what the world is and what our place is in it, may we always “lift each other up.”
Photo Courtesy of the Author.