By Kyle Coombs

Friday night, Macalester hosted Iowa’s Poison Control Center (PCC) in a follow-up high-energy and high-volume show. The group returned eager for another memorable show, having “preached the gospel of Mac all around the country since [their] last visit,” front man Patrick proclaimed at the start of their set. Their energy alone saved a show that was lacking in both sound quality and attendance. PCC came out swinging, with the two guitarists and bassists leaping down to play in the crowd during their opener, “Monument.” Blazing distortion and pure volume completely blocked out the vocals, but the band didn’t seem to care, keeping up their energy throughout the show. Drenched in sweat by the end of the first song, they took turns jolting into the crowd in all kinds of positions, from a signature leg-split to rolling on their backs. Their energy is what makes them distinct in the concert scene. Style-wise, they didn’t differ any from most indie rock bands. In fact Maps & Atlases, who played here earlier this year, had a similar style and much better chops in their songs; alas, they were nowhere near the same energy as PCC. Their upbeat attitude saved their set from the awful sound issues of the venue. The Hill Ballroom in Kagin is not the place for a rock show. The speakers for vocals run across the ceiling, in a setup that is ideal for speeches and dances, but not full-blown music shows. The instrumentation blasting from the amps on stage completely drowned out the comparably minimal volume of the speakers. The opening group, Macalester’s Bear, who played admirably, had a more well-attended set than PCC because people left complaining of the sound. By the end of the show, there were less than 50 people left, but PCC wasn’t put off. They thrived in a show setting with technical glitches and low attendance. They joked about the sound quality throughout the show and used the more intimate crowd setting to work in their favor. Within the first chorus, everyone in Kagin was singing along, “Love, love is the answer, until we get cancer, when we’re lying, dying, dead. Oh, please sing what I just said!” There was something genuine about the members and their desire to play a good show no matter the number of fans or the tech quality. Most critiques of the show come back to Mac. Attendance suffered almost explicitly because of sound quality and this comes back to the resources Macalester has. Kagin was too big of a space for this type of concert. This could change in the future, but for now, Kagin is a bad spot for bands like PCC who provide the instruments and the talent, but not the PA system. PCC came to perform and connect with the group and they succeeded on both counts. During the encore they brought up three Mac students to sing the words to a cover song throwing musicality out the window in favor of spontaneity and spirit. If you missed the show, I’m sure they’ll come again, they seem to love it here.