Arts & Culture

Spring Weekend to feature Erykah Badu, AlunaGeorge, Young Thug

Lineup also spotlights Cherry Glazerr, Empress Of, Princess Nokia, What Cheer? Brigade

Arts & Culture Editor
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Following snow day-related delays and mistakenly disclosed spoilers by artist Young Thug, rumors were finally put to rest Tuesday night as the Brown Concert Agency announced the 2017 Spring Weekend lineup at its annual Whiskey Republic release party.

The pub was electric with anticipation in the final hours, minutes and seconds preceding the midnight announcement. Slated for April 28 and 29, the zenith of on-campus live music and performance culture will blend a gamut of musical genres and highlight a variety of gifted artists. Friday night will showcase performances by Young Thug, Princess Nokia and Empress Of, while set lists from Erykah Badu, AlunaGeorge and Cherry Glazerr will follow on Saturday.

As previous BCA co-chair Emily Maenner ’16 told The Herald last year, the organization strives to include “as many women as possible in our lineup.” This year BCA prefaced their annual release video with the statement that “in 2016 and 2017 under 30 percent of artists at major festivals were women or people of color.”

Like Waka Flocka Flame, who performed at Spring Weekend in 2015, the reveal of Young Thug’s appearance sparked early excitement. The artist is characterized by his sui generis, mumbling vocals that quiver on mixtapes and his LP “Jeffery,” recognized by Rolling Stone Magazine as the 10th best album of 2016. Recent hits like “Wyclef Jean” and “pick up the phone” with Travis Scott featuring Quavo represent just two snippets of the massive archives the hip-hop and trap-influenced artist has released during his career.

Princess Nokia’s echoing, vocal-centric tracks boast an intoxicating bass that reverberates against R&B-inspired accompaniment. In her latest album, “1992,” which showcases “Tomboy” and “Brujas,” the Nuyorican artist draws on her Spanish Harlem and Lower East side roots, gravitating toward empowering content that reflects intellectual liberation, boundless perseverance, female authority and black feminism.

Synth-inspired artist Empress Of diversifies Friday’s lineup with upbeat experimental electronic and dream pop vibes. With a stage name inspired by a tarot card reading, Lorely Rodriguez has toured with the likes of Florence and the Machine and draws audiences with bilingual tracks on her 2013 EP “Systems.”

Singer-songwriter Erykah Badu will continue Empress Of’s genre shift to bring psychedelic, surreal vibes to the Main Green. Badu’s ethereal voice — made prominent by her 2010 LP “New Amerykah Part Two: Return Of the Ankh” and her trippy 2015 mixtape “But You Caint Use My Phone” — carries tunes that could likely make anyone “put (their) phone down.”

Sounds of the British electro-pop duo AlunaGeorge and American indie-influenced garage rock band Cherry Glazerr offer contrasts to Badu’s chromatic tracks on Saturday. Nominated for Critic’s Choice at the BRIT Awards and placing second in the BBC’s annual rising artist poll in 2013, AlunaGeorge offers feel-good dance music influenced by garage genre themes while Cherry Glazerr’s angsty, percussive sound evident on “Apocalypstick” is prime for a day concert scene. Providence’s staple brass band What Cheer? Brigade will return on Saturday for their annual setlist.

— Additional reporting by Connor Sullivan

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