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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Bear down and get down

When pondering the famous campus building that is Bear Down Gymnasium, a few things spring to mind.

First and foremost would of course be the large letters screaming “”Bear Down”” sprawled on its roof, because this was hammered into your skull during that unforgettably awkward tour guide performance on the BDG steps.

If you’re a film buff, you might also recall that the gym was featured prominently in the cinematic milestone known as “”Revenge of the Nerds,”” housing the displaced geeks in their dire time of need.

What won’t spring to mind, even as you think, “”Why am I thinking about Bear Down Gym so much? Am I OK?”” is the gym as a techno rave venue. That’s right.

On May 3, the gym will be featured as an extremely unlikely spot for a “”beats to the wall”” Day-Glo techno madhouse production featuring the likes of Dada Life and Milkman. It’s easier to write opinions if you’re arguing against an on-campus travesty, but in this case, I cannot endorse this risky decision more.

It’s a brilliant move, forgoing the more expensive and logistically complicated venues of Arizona Stadium and McKale Center. When trying to capture the raw power of electronic music, both of these would seem more tailored to fit. Kayne West brought down McKale a few years ago with his impractical glasses and sick beats. The largely misguided Last Smash Platinum Bash was financially a major disaster, but I heard it was pretty fun if you were actually there (and hadn’t paid more than $5 for a ticket).

Still, such large and obvious venues come with great challenges, indubitably. Manning enough security forces to keep out those wily college kids becomes a cause for a small army. College kids, by definition, have to attempt to break into a concert if it appears within a 5-mile radius. It’s in our blood, and even if the tickets are less than a drunken whirlwind adventure through a taco shop, we would rather enter through a utility shaft.

The gym is unusually fortress-like, which is why it is obviously where we keep the mutated Wilbur Wildcat experiments from the 1920s (not intended to be a factual statement). It does lend itself well to security though, as well as a more streamlined approach to letting people in.

In terms of artistic venue, the building seems even more perfect. Anyone who’s ever been to an awkward dance party in their college career knows that the secret is less space. Nothing’s worse than a warehouse with five people self-consciously gyrating inside. Put those same groove-challenged partygoers in a cramped hallway and they’ll shake it so hard that Ke$ha would be appalled.

Using this scientific formula, the gym is going to knock it out of the universe, packing amped up dancers into a relatively small rectangle and commanding them to get loose. When the bananas and champagne (Dada Life’s props of choice) start flying, I predict true electro-magic will transpire.

And why stop there? There are so many untapped “”alternative”” venues to be had on the UA campus. Students love the pool: A daytime rock-a-thon where you tread water would be a huge hit. If you made it past the two opening bands you’d be a hardcore rocker and certified lifeguard.

At Old Main, students could peruse their academic records while head-banging to hardcore metal, of course returning any personal probation reports at the end of the concert (part of the Satanic Honor System endorsed by the band).

Finally, in an unprecedented move that would set the stage for campuses nationwide, we could host an earth-shattering U2-like rock concert in Professor Estes’ 11:00-12:15 Media Arts producing class. I’ve been researching this particular venue for roughly a semester now, and after evaluating acoustics and inherent rockability, I can’t think of a better venue for stadium rockers. I don’t need to explain any more why this is a brilliant and precedent setting idea, so tell your local Shelton about it as soon as possible.

Let’s push for Thursday — it’s my group project and I’m pretty sure “”the Foo Fighters’ set interrupted my third PowerPoint slide”” is the only valid excuse left in college.


— Johnny McKay is the multimedia editor for the Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at

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