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Indie band Grouplove to raise environmental awareness with Campus Consciousness Tour

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Grouplove is scheduled to play Oct. 30 at the Bluestone as part of the Campus Consciousness Tour.  Credit: Courtesy of Ilana Gold

Grouplove is scheduled to play Oct. 30 at the Bluestone as part of the Campus Consciousness Tour.
Credit: Courtesy of Ilana Gold

The band’s name is Grouplove, but along with a few other bands, they also aim to ignite love for the environment.

The Campus Consciousness Tour is set to stop at the Bluestone in Columbus Wednesday, featuring alternative band Grouplove with special guests The Knocks and Saints of Valory.

The tour, which aspires to entertain and also educate students, has been around “a good five years,” said Howard Cusack, a producer and booking agent who helped start the initiative.

“We wanted to stimulate discussion about improving environmental issues on campuses as well as social issues facing college students,” he said.

The tour is powered by Reverb, a nonprofit organization based in Maine that works to make concert tours as environmentally friendly as possible.

“It is a concert with a cause,” Cusack said. “We discuss everything from gay rights to getting out the vote.”

Booths are to be set up during the day in high-traffic areas of Columbus and manned by student volunteers, he said. At these booths, students can receive handouts and awareness information on this year’s focuses, environmental sustainability and preserving rainforests.

The bands that are invited on the tour, Cusack explained, are groups that “put on good shows” and “help students get excited about these issues.”

Grouplove, the tour’s headliner, is a “very (environmentally) aware band” that is “into reducing their carbon footprint on their tours,” Cusack said.

“The most important part of the tour is raising awareness about all of the things that we can do daily to create a greener environment, particularly at our colleges where we can use education to bring eco-issues to the forefront,” Grouplove drummer Ryan Rabin said in an email. “If we can use our music to bring students out to have a good time, and help raise their awareness about their environment at the same time, then that is a successful show that we can be proud of.”

The members of Grouplove met at an artist retreat on the island of Crete, Greece, about four years ago, Rabin said.

“There were a lot of artists in the village but the five of us were drawn to each other instantly and we became our own little group within the village,” he said.

Members of the band include keyboardist Hannah Hooper, guitarists Christian Zucconi and Andrew Wessen and bassist Sean Gadd.

A year after the retreat, the five reunited in Los Angeles to work on their first EP as a group.

“Even then, we didn’t plan on being in a band, but ultimately we couldn’t deny it anymore and made the decision to do it for real,” Rabin said.

The band released its second full-length album “Spreading Rumors” in September.

“We wanted to make a collection of songs that could continually change for fans in the same way that they change for us,” Rabin said.

Saints of Valory is also set to play at the Bluestone Wednesday.

“College kids are really alive,” lead vocalist and bassist Gavin Jasper said. “Playing for an alive audience is any band’s dream.”

Other members of Saints of Valory include guitarist Godfrey Thomson, drummer Gerard Bouvier and keyboardist Stephen Buckle.

Members of both bands expressed they were looking forward to returning to Columbus for the CCT.

“We played at the LC before,” Jasper said. “It was one of the best shows. But this is our first time playing for the university. I think it will be a big party with great energy.”

Rabin said the members of Grouplove have had similar experiences in Columbus.

“We’ve done a few shows in Columbus and love the crowds in Ohio,” Rabin said. “One memorable show was with Cage the Elephant in Columbus. We’d never played there before, but the crowd was so amazing and we’ve been close friends with Cage ever since.”

General admission for the concert is $25, and there is a $3 surcharge for those under 21 years of age. The Bluestone is located at 583 E. Broad St and doors open at 7 p.m.

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