New Pornagraphers will play Grand Rapids after all

New Pornagraphers will play Grand Rapids after all

Elijah Brumback

After being cancelled at Calvin College, Canadian pop-group The New Pornographers will play the Orbit Room in Grand Rapids on Friday.

There was so much controversy surrounding the cancellation that the story made a firestorm of articles across the web on blogs, definitive indie-music news and even the Huffington Post website.

The college received many calls in mid-September with questions regarding the band’s name and the relationship to the school, so much that it released a statement cancelling the show and apologizing for the confusion.

According to a statement from the college, “the irony of the band’s name was impossible to explain to many.”

“The band’s name, to some, is mistakenly associated with pornography,” reads Calvin College’s official statement. “Consequently, Calvin, to some, was mistakenly associated with pornography. Neither the college nor the band endorses pornography. The Student Activities Office regrets the way this has happened. We regret the message we have sent to the band and their fans with this cancellation, and any confusion this has caused generally. We have been in contact with the band to explain this regret and the breakdown in our own processes that led us to first invite them and then withdraw that invitation.”

Tom Hardy, program director of WCKS The Whale student radio station and WGVU production assistant, wrote a letter to the Lanthorn on Sept. 20 regarding the cancelled concert.

“Why are we still judging books by their covers? More specifically, why are we dismissing art that is challenging or otherwise contradictory to our own experience? I respect the religious views of all kinds, but really? The New Pornographers have a song called ‘The Spirit of Giving,’ and it’s not sarcastic or ironic,” Hardy wrote. “This decision to cancel the show only adds further frustration within members of my generation who are sick of being hammocked between the artistic playgrounds of Chicago and Detroit.”

Hardy continued to address the conservative stereotype of the greater Grand Rapids area and how this action by the university only reaffirms the closed-minded thinking of the region.

“Censoring art is unacceptable, and in most cases, those doing the censoring are utterly incapable of understanding the message or intent of the artist,” Hardy stated. “But what’s so hard to understand about the band’s 2010 album titled “Together?’ Sounds awfully like promotion of some depraved pornography agenda to me.”

Calvin College had no more comment on the matter, though comments on separate articles called the outcry of harsh reaction to the college’s cancellation a double standard and the entire episode began to turn into more directly a debate over believers and non-believers of the Christian faith.

However, this name controversy did not dissuade the Orbit Room from scheduling the band precisely a month after the stories were posted online.

The show at the Orbit Room has also been made an all-ages show.

Tickets for the event are $20 in advance and $23 the day of the show. Call the Orbit Room at 616-942 1328 for more information or go online at Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

You can read Hardy’s editorial at by searching Tom Hardy.

The New Pornographers album “Together” will be available May 4 on Matador Records.

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