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Crazy and loud, weekend concerts generally a hit

By
Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Weekend Slideshow

The concerts may have been indoors, the crowds raucous, the sound quality poor during M.I.A.’s performance, but Spring Weekend concert attendees seemed to thoroughly enjoy the weekend’s performances.

The number of transports by Emergency Medical Services were higher than during last year’s Spring Weekend. On Friday and Saturday, EMS transported 10 people because of alcohol or drug use – six on Friday and four on Saturday, according to Associate Vice President of Campus Life and Dean for Student Life Margaret Klawunn. Last year, only four people were transported over all of Spring Weekend. In 2006, EMS transported 10 individuals for alcohol and drug use over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

No information was available on yesterday’s EMS activity, how many calls EMS fielded last weekend or how many people were treated overall, though Klawunn added that some people were treated by paramedic foot patrols.

Students having a few drinks with friends also enjoyed largely cooperative weather, though the concerts were still moved to Meehan Auditorium because of rain forecasts. Though Brown Concert Agency managers didn’t know exactly how many people attended the concerts, they did think Meehan Auditorium was full to its 3,500 capacity at some point during both shows, according to BCA board member Elliot Colbert ’09.

Rapper Lupe Fiasco and dancehall powerhouse M.I.A. headlined the concerts. Hipster, Indie-darlings Vampire Weekend also played Friday, and grunge jam band Umphrey’s McGee and mash-up DJ Girl Talk took the stage before M.I.A. on Saturday.

During her performance, M.I.A. amped up the audience by crowd surfing, bringing people on stage to dance around her and jumping up to sing and dance on top of enormous speakers.

During “Galang,” Brown’s African dance company “New Works” performed a self-choreographed dance along with M.I.A. and her dancers.

Horn said the group choreographed the entire dance and got to practice with M.I.A., who was “super excited about the collaboration,” the day before the show.

“We essentially left it to them and they created something awesome,” said Colbert, who called the dance one of his favorite parts of the show.

Bringing students on stage was one of the more exhilarating elements of the concert.

“M.I.A was amazing – she’s a really great performer,” said Monica Garcia ’11, who got to Meehan at 11 a.m. to be close to the stage during M.I.A.’s performance and who also danced on stage during her set.

“She’s so small but she really took control of the whole stage. I was really impressed.”

Garcia said the experience topped her year at Brown so far. “It was a lot of fun – an incredible experience and also really nerve wracking,” she said.

“I was so excited (to be on stage) that I didn’t care how I was dancing, so I probably danced oddly.”

Saturday’s concert started off slowly with a long set from Umphrey’s McGee. Crowds swelled when Girl Talk took the stage. Girl Talk spent most of his time on stage dancing, crowd surfing and yelling out to the audience.

“It was fun, like a really big dance party,” said Adam Suzan ’08.

And the dance party didn’t stay on the floor. During some songs, students packed the stage to dance with Girl Talk himself.

Attendees in the front rows also had the pleasure of carrying the DJ back and forth in front of the stage.

“He was covered in sweat so he just slid across our hands,” Garcia said. “My friend had his crotch in her face.”

Vampire Weekend opened the two-day concert on Friday with a clean and smooth, if uneventful, set. The band played new songs and turned “One (Blake’s Got a New Face)” into a call and repeat number with an enthusiastic audience.

“I loved them all, but Vampire Weekend is like my new favorite band, so it was amazing that they came,” said Jackie Davey ’11, who added that he saw people looking bored during M.I.A.’s performance. “A lot of people left in the middle (of her performance),” he said.

Following Vampire Weekend’s crisp pop sound, hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco took the stage. Taking a short break between his lively sets, Fiasco talked politics – speaking against President George Bush and encouraging students to take the lead for change in the country.

“Lupe was the shiznits,” said Dami Olatunji ’11, who said she was less impressed by the other artists she saw during the concert. “He’s so fly. I just love him.”

While the performances garnered high praise from many attendees, there were some complaints.

“I almost died during the first band (Vampire Weekend) – the crowd was so intense,” Olatunji said.

Nam Pham ’11 agreed that “the crowd was wild,” and that at points during the concert he saw people “lodged between people. I left after a while, it was so crowded.”

Horn noticed the crazy crowd, but added “it really just comes with the territory of 3,500 people trying to get close to the stage.”

Another issue was the sound volume during M.I.A.’s set. At times, her voice was drowned out by the music, gun shots and air sirens that riddled her show.

“Sound quality was pretty compromised,” Colbert said, adding that the show was too loud, but that the sound was totally in M.I.A.’s creative control. “We spent the better part of M.I.A.’s set trying to get her sound man to turn down the master levels. She likes it loud. But when it’s loud everything gets washed out.”

Despite these few issues, Horn and Colbert thought the concert ran smoothly.

“Usually little things come up here and there, but this year this went without a hitch,” Horn said. “I am extremely happy with both shows.”

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