Spring Fling Saved By the Originality of its Opening Acts

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Photo Credit: Author
Photo Credit: Author

To say that the build-up to Spring Fling was anticlimactic would be an understatement. If the tweets mocking Program Board’s choice of a headliner and the general confusion as to who Jay Sean was didn’t already spell bad news for Spring Fling, Jay Sean’s cheesy act cemented it as a flop. Spring Fling’s only saving grace were the two opening acts–who, although both well known amongst avid indie fans, weren’t choices that were expected for a concert that has hosted the likes of the more mainstream Diplo, Walk the Moon, and Macklemore. Despite their obscurity, the two opening bands channeled the energy of the audience into their performances, engaging them with their two distinctly different attitudes.

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Bands to Watch: The North, "Broken"

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The North haven’t disappointed with their newest song, “Broken”. With its grainy white and black footage and its haunting tune, it’s the perfect followup to their previous release, “Violent Heart“.


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Rudimental at U St Music Hall

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Photo credit: cheeseontoast.co.nz
Photo credit: cheeseontoast.co.nz

Saumya Gulati: Rudimental’s concert was interesting right off the bat because there were no openers. I liked the idea that if you’re going to see Rudimental, that’s exactly what you’re going to get—nothing more and nothing less. That being said, we did have to wait close to an hour for them to come out and there was an awkward vibe because people didn’t know what to do with themselves. Some people were awkwardly bobbing their heads up and down while others stood around and there was a group of guys raging to the background music. Despite an awkward wait while the band hadn’t arrived yet, you could still tell that the crowd was hyped.

Si Chen: Rudimental definitely knew how to create an entrance. After flashing lights and tribal rhythms gave way to darkness and an almost military fanfare (not unlike Vampire Weekend’s setup), they filed onto U St Music Hall’s small stage. Their live performance was much larger than the original quartet–featuring two female vocalists, another male vocalist, trumpet, drums, a synth and a keyboard, guitar, and a talkbox. Once they came on stage, they started the concert with “Give You Up”, creating a very R&B vibe that continued throughout the concert. They spanned several different genres, which would have been difficult to tie together, but the R&B quality of the singer’s voices and the familiar DnB rhythm tied the atmosphere together nicely.

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San Fermin at DC9

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San Fermin
This rad photo was not taken by the author. Photo credit to the band.

Although San Fermin is often described as falling under the incredibly vague and often misleading genre “baroque-pop”, their sound is much more expansive than the narrow scope encapsulated by the phrase. Flowing through their album Thursday night, San Fermin put on an almost operatic performance as they lead the crowd through their concept album (eponymously named San Fermin), which follows a melodramatic male character and an aloof female character through discussions of their relationship, hitting both notes of wistfulness and freneticism. Written by contemporary classical composer, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, the album utilizes his background to tell a lush musical story of the insecurities faced in relationships while the live performance is an ultimately cathartic experience. Continue reading “San Fermin at DC9”

Bands to Watch: The North

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The North is a fairly new London-based duo who have already been able to put out an impressive self-produced demo of their song, “Violent Heart.” With a wide range of musicians involved, such as guitarist Phil Renna (has gigged with Mumford and Sons) and the London Youth Gospel Choir, their sound is self-described as “dark ambient pop.” An apt description, this demo is definitely catchy, but it’s also tinged with tones of despair and the expectation of an optimistic future, giving the song a fullness that most pop songs can’t capture. Check out the demo in the video above or visit them on Facebook–with a new music video coming out in a few weeks and upcoming demos, they’ll definitely be on my radar.

Si Chen