Student response to the Spring Weekend lineup has been mixed. Many students have complained that they are not familiar with the performers, while some who know the bands have expressed enthusiasm. The lineup includes electronic acts the Glitch Mob, Sepalcure and Twin Shadow, hip hop artists Childish Gambino and Cam'ron and rock band the Walkmen.
The Brown Concert Agency's addition of the Walkmen to Saturday's set two nights ago happened to respond to a common complaint among students that there was not enough rock music in the original lineup, said BCA Co-Chair Gillian Brassil '12. But some students said the addition of the Walkmen is meaningless to them because they had never heard of the band. The relative obscurity of most of the acts was a common complaint among students.
"I'm not really super excited about going to a show with performers I've never heard of," said Yotam Tubul '14. "Instead of getting three indie bands, (BCA) could have pooled their money and gotten one well-known band."
Emily Goldman '14 agreed. But she added that Diddy-Dirty Money, a headliner at last year's Spring Weekend, "is pretty mainstream, and he kind of sucked. Maybe it's for the best."
BCA has posted a playlist of songs from Spring Weekend performers on its website in previous years to allow students to familiarize themselves with the music. This year, the agency decided not to post a playlist because BlogDailyHerald "had already done such a good job getting the music out there," said BCA Public Relations Chair Emma Ramadan '13.
"We felt that if we posted a playlist on our website, it would be redundant and mimicky," Ramadan said, adding that the blog receives more traffic than the BCA website.
Though the reaction to the lineup as a whole has not been wholly enthusiastic, many students are excited to see Childish Gambino, also known as Donald Glover, an actor on the hit TV series "Community" and a former "30 Rock" writer. Childish Gambino was one of seven artists students said they most wanted to see at Spring Weekend, according to a fall poll conducted by BCA and the Undergraduate Council of Students.
Korama Danquah '13 said when she heard Childish Gambino was performing, she "had a panic attack."
"I was breathing so fast I needed to take a puff on my inhaler," she said. "It's like a dream come true for me."
"He says that he makes music for 'whack blacks to blast back,'" she said. "And me - I identify with that. I am a whack black. Discovering him made me love rap music again."
A smaller but no less vocal group of students said they are especially excited to see the Glitch Mob Saturday night.
"The Glitch Mob are incredibly engaging performers," said Dan Jacobson '14. He added that when he saw them in concert, he was especially impressed by their "complex, multi-layered" light show and their use of touch screens that faced the audience to cue samples.
"That helped connect the performance with the audience in a way that I think is really unique in this kind of music," he said.
Many students also lauded the agency for taking student opinion into consideration when deciding the lineup. In the past, students have complained that the booking process was not transparent and that the group picked bands based on personal preference. While similar criticisms were not uncommon this year, they were tempered by praise for the agency's efforts.
Eddie Grystar '14 said the fact that the lineup has so much electronic music "signifies not only the growth in the popularity of electronic music over the past few years, but also the fact that the BCA is responding to that popularity."
The concert agency set up a table on the Main Green this year the day after the lineup was announced to respond to student questions and comments. Ramadan estimated roughly 30 students visited the table throughout the course of the day.
Jacobson, who spoke to BCA members at the table, said he could not imagine a way to make the booking process more transparent without sacrificing that "awesome moment where everyone's super excited, everyone's texting and calling their friends, because they just found out the lineup."
And though they may not know many of the bands slated to perform, students say Spring Weekend is about more than just the music.
"It's about the experience," Goldman said. "It's about going and having fun with your friends and being in a huge crowd with other Brown students."