Arts & Culture

Performers bring diverse musical skillsets to University

Spring Weekend performers encapsulate collegiate music

By
Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
AlunaGeorge, a London-based duo specializing in electronic music, and Erykah Badu are scheduled to perform Saturday while Young Thug will headline the Friday night lineup.

AlunaGeorge, a London-based duo specializing in electronic music, and Erykah Badu are scheduled to perform Saturday while Young Thug will headline the Friday night lineup.

The 67-year-old Spring Weekend remains an irrefutable highlight of the Brown experience. Culled from a variety of genres, each artist booked for Spring Weekend is sure to bring different displays of creativity to the Main Green this weekend.

Princess Nokia

There’s an extraordinary, almost transfixing quality to Princess Nokia’s hip-hop. Hailing from Spanish Harlem and the Lower East Side of New York, the artist essentially came of age clubbing with New York creatives. This background almost certainly informed her music — heady alternative hip-hop and enchanting R&B seemingly created to soundtrack students’ transcendence of the earthly frame during Spring Weekend. With lyrics that wouldn’t be out of place in an ethnic studies class, Princess Nokia has actual conviction in her intellectualism and black feminism —  tell your snapback wearing, Lil Dicky-listening roommate to stay home for this one.

Empress Of

Lorely Rodriguez, stage name “Empress Of,” was an early devotee to the cult of Icelandic pop star Bjork. And it shows quite evidently in Rodriguez’s own electro-pop, full of vocal undulations and ethereal instrumentation. Rodriguez’s music, like Bjork’s, carries a mythic quality — a secret to be kept in solidarity by the crowd. Her digital recordings might not translate perfectly to a live setting, but Empress Of’s composed, hypnotic electro-pop is sure to provide Friday’s audience with a much-needed respite from the chaos of the weekend.

Young Thug

If Kendrick is the undisputed king of hip-hop, Young Thug is the rightful prince. After ascending to fame in 2014 with the single “Stoner,” Young Thug — best known by fans as “Thugger” —  has enjoyed popular and critical acclaim for his esoteric, heartfelt and just plain fun trap rap. The artist’s distinctive brand of rap, full of swelling brassy beats and overall good vibes, is sure to be a hit at Spring Weekend. Brown students’ sharp humor has never betrayed their nonconformity and social conscience — a quality complimented by Young Thug’s playfulness and defiance of sexuality and gender norms. But don’t laugh at the rapper’s often unintelligible lyrics. His set is Friday’s last, and, after the preceding two artists and a semester’s worth of darties, you’re guaranteed to be slurring your words more than Thugger.

Cherry Glazerr

Cherry Glazerr, a nascent indie rock and noise pop group with an inclination toward harsh sonics and visceral howls, may fail to appeal upon initial listen. But the group’s uniquely acerbic approach to indie pop deserves a chance, at least in a live setting. The outfit’s distorted guitar chords and vocal contortions will demand every ounce of your attention, granting their music an immediacy that’s tolerable if not enjoyable. You don’t have to be a head-banging adolescent to have a good time at Cherry Glazerr’s set. In compliance with the group’s exhortation of the ethos of rock and roll, just sit back and scream along, content to know your Organic Chemistry teaching assistant’s ears will probably start bleeding five seconds into the first song.

AlunaGeorge

Describing AlunaGeorge’s music as “left-field” would be like describing Brown students as “left-wing:” a fitting descriptor for sure, but one that doesn’t go nearly far enough in addressing just how singular the music of duo AlunaGeorge — the amalgam of singer-songwriter Aluna Francis and producer George Reid — really is. “You Know You Like It,” the duo’s break-away single and a dorm party staple, is prototypical of the group’s arresting vocals and spacious instrumentals that create the effect of listening to an alien muse. Transported from the dance floor to the Spring Weekend stage, some of the magic of the act might be lost the moment audiences see Reid awkwardly arched over a keyboard. Good thing a smoke sheen will probably be obscuring him from the audience for the duration of the set.

Erykah Badu

Like co-headliner Young Thug, Erykah Badu is a veritable visionary — albeit one that sings with a more delicate and classically beautiful tonality. Badu, a Los Angeles-based R&B and neo-soul singer, makes music that is anything but contrived. Drawing predictable comparisons to other female R&B singers like Beyoncé and Ciara would be a grave mistake; Badu, rather, recalls D’Angelo in her lush and atmospheric music. The gorgeous and cool Badu, sure to aspire awe in audience members, creates a refined soundscape to get lost in — the perfect panacea for a weekend of unbridled hedonism.