Section: Arts

Mount Vermin is Kenyon’s new eclectic all-girl punk band

Mount Vermin is Kenyon’s new eclectic all-girl punk band

Mount Vermin, Kenyon’s resident first-year girl band, assembled one weekend night in October. The band members, Sarah Tomasi, Jennifer Jantzen and Sophie Wise, all happened to be at the same party on the weekend before Halloween. One of them managed to get the aux cord, and promptly started to play songs by the band Weezer. Subsequently, Tomasi, Jantzen, and Wise were loudly harmonizing together. That evening, they tossed around the idea of starting a band for the first time. Despite being an off-hand joke at the time, the trio agreed to pursue it seriously in the weeks that followed.

Mount Vermin performed for the first time at Sisterhood’s Femme Open Mic Night in November. Their punk music stood out in stark contrast to other performers’ serious poetry readings and quiet songs. According to Wise, Jantzen and Tomasi, the audience members at the open mic seemed jarred by their style, self-described as “goofy punk.”

Despite the muddled reactions, listeners came back for more. Several people who had attended the open mic showed up to Mount Vermin’s next performance at the Horn Gallery in January to dance and even sing along to the band’s original songs. Hearing audience members belt out the lyrics they had written was a surreal experience for the band. Jantzen described it as “hilarious.”

Mount Vermin’s performance at the Horn was monumental for the band. It was not only their first official show together, but also an opportunity to open for Screaming Females, a band that Tomasi herself had admired since high school. Although they were very nervous before the performance that night, the thrill and adrenaline of the audience quickly won over once they began to play.

“Honestly, just seeing people mosh during our songs was so reassuring. I was like ‘okay, people like this enough that they’re going to smack each other together,’” Tomasi said.

For Wise, Jantzen and Tomasi, being in a band at Kenyon is a deeply rewarding experience. Being close friends in addition to band members, they love spending time together. They also agree that it is refreshing to be able to share the style of music that they genuinely want to play. In high school, Tomasi and Wise both focused on musical theater because it was one of the few readily accessible options for music at their schools. Wise was also part of her high school orchestra, though she wasn’t as passionate about her classical music endeavors as she now is about punk.

Jantzen had a different high school experience from her bandmates. “I come from a really tiny town, but they had a really good music scene and it was always really supportive people,” she said. Jantzen’s high school also had a recording studio where she spent a significant portion of her time. Going by the artist name “Jenny J.,” she released a solo album on Spotify titled Glitter Glue. Later this semester, Mount Vermin is looking forward to recording and releasing their own music as well.

Mount Vermin has several more performances planned for the months ahead. Among these may be shows with specific themes. They are especially excited about the prospect of a robot-themed performance featuring cardboard box costumes.

In addition to a shared passion for music, the members of Mount Vermin also share a love for the movie School of Rock, London Fog tea lattes and, of course, Weezer. Their musical presence on campus is rapidly unfolding, but for them it is as much about the music as it is about the close friendships they have formed in creating it.

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