Scholars and Giants take over Willi-Wonderland

My friends and I were some of the first people to arrive at the Spring Fling concert in Lasell on Friday night, which was a bit frustrating seeing as we were there within 10 minutes of when the performance was supposed to begin. I suppose having been to many of the live shows put on at the College, I shouldn’t be all that surprised when concerts (even free ones like this!) are not all that well attended. What keeps people from coming? Sure, I’m willing to bet that a good portion of the College community hadn’t heard of Blue Scholars or Young the Giant before reading that they were the Spring Fling acts provided by All Campus Entertainmeant (ACE). But after quickly listening to their samples online, it seemed obvious to me that the two very different groups would be pretty capable of providing enjoyment to most of the campus. What is it that holds people back from attending such great opportunities? At the very least, you would think students would show up at first and leave if they weren’t having a good time. As it were, Blue Scholars had to wait over half an hour past the advertised start time to begin – who wants to rap to any empty room?
Blue Scholars, a DJ and MC duo who are extremely proud of their Seattle roots, already had a small group of enthusiastic fans in the crowd who clearly had been following them for a while – they sang along to lyrics and shouted out requests. The pair surprised me with incredibly meaningful, intelligent lyrics in their songs. They also played to the crowd well, amping them up and continually interacting with them between and during songs. It wasn’t particularly my cup of tea: The type of rap I listen to is really only when it’s mixed in with hip-hop or pop and is good for dancing. Most of their songs were too mellow to be played at a dance party or club.
On the other hand, I think Blue Scholars could really become a huge deal. They have interesting lyrics and a good sound. They have performed with some of the biggest names in music and they relate well to a crowd. Everyone was clearly excited by their performance and was left wanting more. They definitely have the sound that would be liked by a wide variety of people. It will be interesting to see if they catch on.
There was a short break after Blue Scholars. Of course, Lasell wasn’t filled to say the least but there was still a decent crowd developing. While Young the Giant set up, most people milled around, though a small portion did leave. It wasn’t long before the band was ready to go.
Wildly different from Blue Scholars, Young the Giant is an alternative band from California. They looked the part – a bit grungy and unkempt. The crowd, while seemingly less familiar with them than they were with Blue Scholars, was very enthusiastic about the group. They cheered along with the songs and swayed to the beats. They were obviously a hit, as everyone in the audience seemed engaged.
I didn’t find the band particularly exciting. Yes, they did sound good. They had a clean, nice sound and perfectly good lyrics from what I could discern. But I didn’t see anything original or different about them. When talking to people after the show, they said in pretty wishy-washy terms that the band was good but not anything special. By the time they had played three or four songs, it had gotten pretty late and if I hadn’t felt obligated to stay I probably would have headed off to Snack Bar.
Overall, it was a worthwhile performance. I got to hear new artists that I never would have found on my own, and it was a pretty fun to watch the crowd react to each performance. Would I go out of my way to see either of these groups on my own time? Probably not. But as a free concert provided by ACE, I think that showcasing two very different rising groups successfully created a show that would appeal to a large portion of music lovers on campus.