Invasion of Privacy: Behind the curtains of “Awesome Geneseo Shows”

Several of Geneseo's unrecognized student groups hold just as strong a creative pull as the recognized clubs peppered throughout the Union. One group, affectionally called "Awesome Geneseo Shows" by those aware of its existence, offers an underground music venue for independent bands from across the country.

Sophomores Olivia Derella and Aaron Schwartz are the current coordinators of the club, which is still in its infancy.

AGS is the brainchild of Becky Lovell '10. "She was in a band, and had friends in bands, and wanted to give everyone the chance to play in house shows and get their sound out there," Derella said. For the past few years the group has helped arrange house shows off campus and invited students to hear up-and-coming bands.

"Last year the house shows were at a house on Long Point Road. This year they're on 20A," Schwartz said. "It's really just whoever is a part of the group and is gracious enough to open their home for our shows."

The bands are discovered and contacted by Derella and Schwartz through a few different means. "There's a website called Bandcamp that we use, and you can search by city for different bands," Derella said. "That's pretty helpful. We look at schedules for different venues in Buffalo and Rochester, and sometimes we can find new bands through that. We also listen to bands on MySpace."

"Usually, once a band has come and played in a Geneseo house show, they tell their friends who are in other bands about us, and then they'll contact us because they want to play too," Derella said.

AGS has brought in bands from as far away as Georgia, Arizona and even Washington. Though some bands have little live performance experience, others have played in festivals and earned solid reputations before performing in Geneseo.

The shows usually bring in an average of 50 people, and AGS generally hosts a group every three or four weeks. The bands tend to take on an indie-pop/rock persuasion.

"It's much more of an organization than it was last year, when I first got involved," Schwartz said. "It was literally just a group of friends hanging out in a house listening to bands they had found. Now, I'll go to a house show and I may not know everyone there."

Advertising for shows used to be done strictly through word-of-mouth. Today, Facebook is the group's main source of growth. AGS hopes to continue this growth by getting more students involved.

"It would be a lot easier if we could get a few more students helping us out. It's just a lot for two people to handle," Derella said. She and Schwartz said they hope that more involvement in the organization will bring better advertising, better bands and more recommendations from a broader audience.

"We just want to provide this experience for as many people that want it," Derella said. "We don't offer anything but music. The people coming know that it's just about the music, and the shared experience. They aren't looking for anything else."