On Saturday, September 6 more than 160 students and music fans came out to The Historic Red Dog on Hunter Street to celebrate a night of local live music as part of the TCSA’s ‘Trent Gives’ campaign, raising $927 for a great local cause.

This is the second year Trent Gives has been run and this year the focus was on fundraising for ‘YES’- the Youth Emergency Shelter on Brock Street.

Said Trent Gives co-chair Zachary Kramer, “‘Yes’ was an important cause for us because it helps the most vulnerable in our community, something which is especially important given the economic difficulties that Peterborough has been struggling with.”

This was the first year that Trent Gives had included a concert, the inspiration for which co-chair Meina Istafanous credited to “a growing number of exciting talent coming out of the Trent student body.”

The show opened with an excellent set by Television Rd (who will be returning to the Red Dog on October 3 to release their first 9-song CD) and was followed by the spacey, psych-laced indie-rockers Severed Feathers.

‘5 Shots to Ragtown’ were probably the fan favourites of the night, their upbeat blues rock drawing the crowd around the stage and inspiring calls for an encore which they happily obliged.

After they finished, Trent alum and Mayoral candidate Maryam Monsef took the stage to address the crowd.

Highlights of her speech included acknowledging the over 300 million dollars that Trent students bring into the local economy and the fact that many small business owners were excited to see the students return to Peterborough.

She also urged students to come out to the polls in October reminding them that “they are counting on you not caring”- an important point that was unfortunately lost on the trio of idiots standing backs to the stage and almost directly beneath her, yammering away completely oblivious to the rest of the room (kids today right?)

The crowd had slowly thinned out by the time Monsef finished her address, which was a shame because Watershed Hour followed the mayoral candidate.

While their set seemed a little short (come to think of it, most of the sets seemed to be on the short side), the garage-rock duo demonstrated just why they’ve been carving out a well-earned reputation for themselves as one of the most exciting and unique acts in Central Ontario.

Definitely check them out as soon as you get a chance.

The final act was a hardcore band called Contender. While they put on a pretty good show, I found their intro kind of off-putting.

Before laying into a blistering set, the band had set up an ipod with the sound engineer, at which point they got into a huddle with their backs to the audience and Ludcris’ ‘You don’t know me like that’ came over the PA.

The band then began to mouth the words and sort of ‘air jam’ to it. I say ‘air jam’ because I’m really not sure how to describe what I was seeing, it was a confusing and muddled way to begin a set and worse, came off a little ‘bro-y’.

As both a genre of music and live performance, hardcore always works best when it’s simplified down to the most direct approach possible: pure bottled energy concentrated at and with the audience, something that an overly elaborate intro prone to technical glitches can take some of the steam out of.

That being said, I would love to see them again because when you take away the cumbersome and somewhat gimmicky introduction there’s a lot of great, infectious energy to both their music and stage presence.

Overall the night was an excellent showcase for the contributions that Trent students are making to the Peterborough’s burgeoning music scene, and a great example of the community spirit that Trent embodies.