As part of CAB week, Raining Jane played an eclectic mixture of rock and folk music in Founders Auditorium Tuesday. This all woman band got together in 1999 and has opened for artists such as Vanessa Carlton and Reel Big Fish. Mai Bloomfield sings back-up vocals and also plays the cello and guitar. Bloomfield began playing the cello when she was only 10 years old.
Rain drenched the campus all day Tuesday, and at 10 p.m. it was raining in the Founders Auditorium. Raining Jane, that is. The four-piece band continued its nationwide tour with a concert at the University of La Verne.
Mai Bloomfield, Becky Gebhardt, Chaska Potter and Mona Tavakoli completed the group that described themselves as indie folk-rock. Based in Los Angeles, the group came together in 1999, creating a small fan base from the UCLA music scene. Seven years and two albums down the line, Raining Jane now spends its time touring the United States, performing its own shows as well as opening for artists like Vanessa Carlton, Reel Big Fish and Guster.
Bloomfield plays the cello and guitar. She also sings in the band.
“It’s hard to categorize us,” she said. “We appeal to music lovers because we’re so eclectic. We go from hip-hop to cello ballads, so people who are open-minded would enjoy our music.”
The group released its second album, “Diamond Lane,” in 2005. It was produced with the help of Grammy-award winning producer Mark Johnson and was the quartet’s first major studio album.
“It’s a collection of songs we’ve been writing over the last couple of years,” said Tavakoli, on drums, percussion and backup vocals. “Next year’s album will be more eclectic.”
The concert included tracks from “Diamond Lane,” as well as new songs from their forthcoming album. The band also performed an acoustic rendition of Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” which was a big hit with the crowd.
Amanda Stapleton, a sophomore business administration major, attended the concert.
“I’d never heard of Raining Jane before, and I’m not really into chick bands, but I loved them,” Stapleton said. “They were fun. They were sassy. They were really great musicians. I bought their album afterwards.”
Because of the bad weather on Tuesday it took the group four hours to drive to La Verne from Los Angeles.
“The worst thing about touring is how much time we have to spend sitting in the van. It’s a pain in the butt,” said Potter, on guitar and vocals. “But we get to work for our passion, our love of music.”
Tavakoli agreed that the best thing about touring is being able to do what they love.
“We’re living day to day playing music,” she said. “We don’t have to sit in an office. We’re getting to see the country and we get to see the craziest stuff and meet the craziest people.”
The group put on an excellent performance, and although the turn-out was not spectacular, the crowd had nothing but positive things to say about them. In between songs the band would talk to the audience and make jokes. They were very entertaining and down to earth and had the auditorium in fits of laughter on numerous occasions.
The song, “Follow Me” referred to the World Trade Center disaster and the movie “Bowling for Columbine.” It expressed sentiments of world peace, while other songs talked about finding love on the Internet and included lyrics like “I put my profile up on display/ I’m waiting patiently to see what he’ll say.”
Campus Activities Board, helped organize the event.
“We chose Raining Jane after seeing them in Portland, Ore., and they blew us away,” she said. “The concert at ULV was a great way for students to get away from it all. Everyone that went had a great time, it’s just a shame that the rain kept some people away.”
Raining Jane has tapped into the MySpace market and currently has a page where you can listen to some of their tracks: www.myspace.com/rainingjane.
The group had mixed reactions about the increasing online presence of the music scene.
“I like the idea that people can get music anyway they can, but when you download, be selective – buy direct from the artist’s Web site,” Bloomfield said.
Gebhardt, who plays bass, electric guitar and sitar, disagreed.
“Burning CDs is wrong. I think it’s ridiculous. It’s so cheap – it’s like $1 a song to buy online,” she said. “It’s a matter of valuing art. There’s no appreciation of music as art. It’s devalued.”
Tavakoli saw both sides of the argument.
“As independent artists we feel it when we’re not selling music, but at the same time we want people to be able to listen to us,” she said.
The group remains optimistic about what the future holds. Gebhardt said that the important thing is to develop musically, and Bloomfield said they would love to tour with an artist they all really love.
“We want to put out a new album, get radio airplay and a more consistent fan base,” Tavakoli added. “Whether or not we’ll hit the big time… anything is possible.”
Raining Jane will be continuing its five month tour with a concert at 11:30 tonight at The Temple Bar on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.
Rhian Morgan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.