At a small liberal arts college, having a major artist come to campus always creates a buzz and calls for students from all corners of campus to unite at a single venue.
Solange’s performance last semester made for a huge turnout from students of all four years. The spring concert, however, will host not just one major name, but two: Lunice and Danny Brown.
In years past, the annual Spring Concert has featured artists such as Le1f, Titus Andronicus and Das Racist, but this year’s lineup calls for a level of exhilaration previously unattained. Rather than having a single main artist, the Spring Concert will feature Danny Brown and Lunice co-headlining with MC Grizzz, who will start off the show. All three artists brings their own approach to entertainment, and the Vassar community is already abuzz.
Rolling Stone recently named Danny Brown’s album “Old” as being one of the 50 best albums of the year, proving that Brown’s appeal expanded beyond being that of a purely niche artist. Due to recent and frequent media coverage, Brown has become mainstream within the hip-hop community.
Known for his tongue-twisting wit and unflinchingly honest portrayal of life in Detroit, Brown seems to have matured and come into his own stylistically with the release of his latest album “Old.” His latest album sets its focus on the challenge of balancing the duality of playful absurdity and crushing reality. Brown has been acclaimed as a recording artist many times over, but his onstage persona may be what has brought him the most fame. Beyond the onstage antics and controversy, he is known for consistently bringing an unrivaled energy to his live performances. Brown’s performance at Vassar is a part of “The Old Danny Brown Tour”, and is sure to maintain the energy that Danny Brown brings to larger venues in a more intimate setting.
Hailing from Montréal, Lunice is a producer and DJ who proves himself to be a talented collaborator time and time again, but his solo endeavors prove to be the best expression of his creativity. Well-known for being half of the production duo TNGHT with Hudson Mohawk, Lunice has also worked with artists such as Kanye West and Azealia Banks. He is an artist whose style can be described, at its best, as infectiously energizing and, at worst, as grimy beyond belief in terms of his lyrics and sound. Within the electronic music scene, Lunice has paid his dues with the release of 11 mixtapes in the last 8 years and multiple EPs by himself, as well as with TNGHT. Beyond the quality of the set Lunice will be playing, the venue itself will further ensure that attendees enjoy the event to the fullest extent. The Spring Concert will combine the jam-packed attendance of Mug nights with the palatial space of the Villard Room.
MC Grizzz is a hip-hop artist who mirrors Danny Brown in his ability to have fun with his music while possessing the lyrical chops to maintain a laser-like focus on serious subject-matter. MC Grizzz also happens to be a Vassar alum, so it’s undoubtable that he’ll be able to bring his best performance to a venue to which he has such a significant and direct connection. Aggressively real at times and immeasurably fun always, MC Grizzz’s set will showcase his distinct and individualized lyrical flow and avant-garde beats.
For a period, it seemed that concerts at Vassar did not feature very much diversity in terms of genre or style, but anyone who looks at recent lineups can see this has been the subject of significant change in recent years. This change is attributed to both a conscious effort to expand the focus of concerts and a natural shift resulting from the influence of new members within ViCE. Director of ViCE Maya Toler ’16 summarized this point of view by saying, “It just didn’t make sense to have an unknown headliner with such a large budget…students want to go see concerts by artists they’ve heard of.” This attitude is invaluable when one realizes that the ultimate goal of the Spring Concert is to provide the Vassar community with entertainment that it’ll enjoy. Because the budget doesn’t allow for artists like Kanye West and Drake, artists featured in the Spring Concert are oftentimes starting on their rise to fame, which makes for an incredible opportunity to see world-class artists in a comfortable, intimate environment.
An important thing to consider when picking the artists for the Spring Concert is the fact that not everyone on campus will enjoy the lineup, no matter the genre or individual artist. To combat this, the ViCE general body instilled certain goals when brainstorming which bands to have perform. Maya Toler said, “[We chose] artists [that] we knew would put on a great show whether [attendees] were familiar with hip-hop or not.” It seems that this endeavor has been successful, for WVKR DJ of Planet Tropicalia Gordon Schmidt ’17, said, “I never really heard of Danny Brown or Lunice before the concert announcement… [but I] imagine having fun dancing to and vibing out to [them] with friends in the moment.”
The artists featured in this year’s Spring Concert are all lauded in both the media and on campus as incredibly talented and more than capable of putting on an electrifying performance. According to Brian O’Connor ’16, “A walk through the Retreat can’t be completed without hearing someone talking about whether or not they’ll bring a blanket to Ballantine or seeing someone watching the video for ‘Dip.’” The overall attitude toward this coming weekend can best be summed up by O’Connor’s succinct statement: “Honestly, the concert is gonna be dope.”