Since students’ return from spring break, Vassar College Entertainment (ViCE) posters announcing their annual Spring Concert have been placed all over campus. The performers, however, were kept a secret until today. ViCE is excited to announce that this year’s concert will feature Titus Andronicus, a punk/indie rock band. Le1f, a New York City rapper signed by Camp & Street // Greedhead, has also accepted ViCE’s invitation. Finally, the winner of of ViCE’s student DJ contest will be given the opportunity to perform.
The ViCE Spring Concert will take place on Saturday, April 20 at 7 pm on Ballantine Field. It is free and open to both students and Poughkeepsie community members.
The theme of this year’s spring concert, “ViCE/Versa,” plays on both the student organization’s name and the seemingly opposite styles of music the performers boast. “We’ve got a little bit of something for everyone,” said Head of ViCE Music, Andrew Rovner ’13.
Rovner continued, noting, “We’re going to have a student DJ kick things off, move on to some hip-hop and finish up with some amped-up rock’n’roll.”
Instead of selecting one artist to headline and another to open the show, as the organization has done in the past, ViCE opted for Le1f and Titus Andronicus to co-headline. ViCE hopes this shared state will highlight the performers’ different styles.
While the concept of “ViCE/Versa” and the co-headlining honor are new, the organization utilized its previous model for its concerts. ViCE booked these artists the same way they booked the Fall Concert, which featured Vassar’s funk/soul band SOL and St. Lucia as openers, and Ra Ra Riot as the headliner.
ViCE concert planning consists of a three part system. Members of ViCE first break into a music committee that decides upon a reasonable budget and date. Then, according to an emailed statement by ViCE member Dan Flynn ’13 “[The Music committee] look at available artists within a price range and see what we are [most] interested, then use a power-rankings system to choose.” Upon reaching a decision on their favorite performers, the committee then approaches individual artists, before deals are finally made with willing artists.
Le1f, born Khalif Diouf, is an openly gay rapper who studied dance at Wesleyan University. His style has been classified as reminicent of Tunnel bangers. The Tunnel banger style grew out of the combination of house and techno music that was played in Peter Gatien’s New York City nightclub, the Tunnel, in the 1990s.
According to Le1f’s official bio on The Windish Agency website, Le1f’s musical style does not easily settle into a single category like “rap” or “dance.” Aside from the Tunnel banger influence, Le1f is partly loyal to the Bling Era rap that he grew up on and partly dedicated to the downtown electronic scene where he developed as an artist.
Le1f is also famous for his career in producing. Most notably, Le1f produced the beat behind last year’s Spring Concert performer and fellow Wesleyan alums, Das Racist’s “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.” Since it’s release in April, Le1f’s album “Dark York” has gained popularity.
His music video for “Wut,” showcasing his twerking skills, went viral, and several blogs have considered him “an example of the direction hip-hop’s evolving towards.” (Things to Do In Brooklyn, “LE1F, Labyrinth Ear, High Highs, American Royalty in Brooklyn,” 10.02.2012)
Named after the Shakespeare play of the same title, co-headliner Titus Andronicus proclaims “specializing in punk solutions since 2005,” according to their official Tumblr page. The band consists of five men: singer-songwriter Patrick Stickles, Eric Harm on the drums, bassist Julian Veronesi, Liam Betson on guitar, and another guitarist, Adam Reich.
Although the group originated in New Jersey, they have recently fostered ties with the Hudson Valley. The band produced their latest LP, “Local Business,” in a converted barn in New Paltz.
“Local Buisness” made several ‘Best Albums of 2012’ lists, including #3 in Paste Magazine, #38 in Rolling Stone, and #39 in Complex—and was even called “the Most Important Band of 2012” by Collapse Board.
Their previous albums The Airing of Grievances and The Monitor were well received, obtaining praise from music critics and landing on “best album” lists as well.
The student DJ set to perform has not been agreed upon. The ViCE Music Committee will select finalists that the student body will then vote on.
The day of the concert coincides with both “420” and Record Store Day, a globally celebrated day designed six years ago to honor music. Rovner encourages students to watch out for celebrations of record stores both before and during the concert.
“Even though Titus and Le1f may sound totally different, they’re both spectacular performers,” Rovner said. Both Le1f and Titus Andronicus have been applauded for their live performances, and ViCE hopes they will live up to expectations at the Spring Concert.
Both Flynn and Rovner are more than enthusiastic at the event.
“I think it is going to be one of the best shows Vassar has ever seen,” Flynn noted.
Rovner echoed this sentiment, saying, “I wish Ballantine Field had a roof so we could blow it right off. The show’s going to be electric. Faces will melt. Booties will shake. Fists will pump. Feet will jump.”