Spring Fling ’12: If You Book It, They Will Come

Yes, Virginia, there is a Spring Fling. Read on for the acts.

It’s almost May, and the rumors are flooding campus.

“I heard Spring Fling was canceled.” “No one is booked.” “Anwar was gonna headline, but then he backed out.” “We could only afford Afroman. It’ll be in the ice rink.” “Maybe it’ll be a Tupac hologram.” “Lightning Bolt is gonna play all three sets, but only if we dig a 6’x6’x6′ pit on Foss Hill for them to perform in.” Where’s the announcement?

You’ve been patient, so here’s what’s up. Yes, Virginia, there is a Spring Fling this year. The acts have been booked, the lineup confirmed—and despite popular belief, it’s not going to be a 3-D hologram of Tupac (though sources report that was M. Roth’s first choice for a headliner). Spring Fling Committee has compensated for the slight delay by including an extra act—four instead of the usual three—and the list looks pretty fantastically diverse to me: a minimalist producer-turned-critical darling, a fun synthpop duo, a Cali-based DJ, and a dirty south rapper. Thanks to the gruff-voiced FBI informant who whispered these names to me in the Court Street parking garage late last night.

In the order they’ll be performing in, here’s what we got:

Kablaam! As I said, diverse. Spring Fling Committee decided to go for more of a festival format rather than the typical opener-opener-headliner template this time around, and it paid off well: we have four acts, each bringing its own singular vibe to the show. Here’s the statement I’ve gotten from the committee:

Thanks for waiting so patiently to hear this year’s lineup! We worked very hard to plan a well-rounded event with a decreased budget in an attempt to appeal to a wide variety of music fans. This year we’ve extended the duration of Spring Fling to make the show feel more like a festival, showcasing great live talent in a more diverse, four-band lineup.

Spring Fling is on and we’re very excited about it, thanks again for your patience. So come out to the hill early on May 10th for over 5 hours of live music!

In brief, Jaar is a hugely acclaimed electronic producer presently attending Brown, Chairlift is an infectious electro-pop duo straight outta (can you guess?) Brooklyn, MiMoSa is a dubstep producer based in LA, and Big K.R.I.T. a supremely talented up-and-coming southern fried rapper from Mississippi (and it shows). For lengthier descriptions, read on.

If Spring Fling 2010 taught us anything, let it be this: Dirty South rappers do well on Foss, especially when their rap name starts with “Big.” Headlining the show this time around is Big K.R.I.T. (that’s short for “King Remembered in Time”), a much-blogged-about burgeoning rap sensation straight outta Meridian, Mississippi. K.R.I.T. first garnered mainstream praise with mixtape K.R.I.T. Wuz Here in 2010 and his subsequent minor hit “Country Shit.” He signed to Def Jams later that year—and drew the attention of XXL Magazine‘s Freshman Class of 2011. More like Big L.E.G.I.T. See what I did there?

Both a talented emcee and producer, K.R.I.T. has worked (in both roles) with a colorful list of artists, including but not limited to Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y, Ludacris, and Chamillionaire. His upcoming release is Live From The Underground, a debut studio album (the rapper has already released a handful of online mixtapes) featuring Big Sean, 2 Chainz, 8Ball & MJG, Anthony Hamilton and—bizarrely enough—B.B. King. His music merges thoughtful rhymes with a ’90s Dirty South vibe—think Goodie Mob updated for today’s blog rap set. Given this campus’s propensity for hip hop headliners, K.R.I.T. should be a real fun set.

Next up, MiMOSA (real name: Tigran Mkhitaryan), a dubstep/grime DJ from LA who has been concocting beats in his lair since the tender age of 17. As his MySpace succinctly points, this dude gets around: “this summer saw MiMOSA globetrotting from festival sites everywhere—including his headlining slot and Lightning in a Bottle, to triumphant performances at Detroit Electronic Music Festival, Shambhala festival, Red Rocks, Electric Zoo, Summer Camp, and Burning Man.” This time around, he’s en route to Bonnaroo—and just dropped a collaboration release with Sleepyhead under the moniker “Sexytime,” which was released on 4/20. As one press release puts it, “Interestingly danceable rhythms, hip-hop samples, and lots of synthy bass is what makes MiMOSA’s music distinct.”

Unquestionably, this is the most exclusively dubsteppy/dance-happy Fling act in recent memory, so here’s hoping it gets Wes’ homegrown DJ crowd’s motor running at full throttle.  For more, here’s MiMOSA’s September 2011 mix.

Chairlift, not to be confused with the popular elevated skiing and snowboarding ropeway of the same name, looks like a clear crowd-pleaser, especially if Tanlines’ bounce-happy set at Zonker Harris Day earlier this month gives indication. (Hell, what other act has covered Beyonce with Wes’ very own Kool A.D.?) Like Tanlines, Chairlift is a stupidly catchy Brooklyn-based synthpop duo with a penchant for sleek ’80s synths and irresistibly bubbly hooks. Unlike Tanlines, Chairlift brings a female lead vocalist, a rarity in recent Spring Fling lineups, into the mix. I’ve been spinning the duo’s sophomore effort, 2012’s mostly acclaimed Something, for about a week now, and I’m sold: this is as infectious as ’80s electro-pop nostalgia gets, and, as the Washington Post testifies (choice excerpt: “as Polachek’s breathy bellows floated over sharp-edged synthesizers, one couldn’t help but hear echoes of Human League, Eurythmics and late-’80s Fleetwood Mac”), it’s a helluva good time live.

For further empirical evidence, scope out Something highlights “Ghost Tonight,” “Wrong Opinion,” and “Met Before.” If my experience is any indication, they won’t leave your head for a month. [Edit: Adrien DeFonswanky ’13 implores me to point out that Chairlift actually performs as a five-person band live, not a duo. Additionally, they’ve appeared on this campus at least twice before—opening for MGMT in 2008 and performing in a “benefit concert for America” the following October. Most current students weren’t around for either gig, but I’d be glad for senior perspectives.)

Then there’s Nicolas Jaar, arguably the wildcard candidate on this lineup—for one thing, he’s certainly the only Spring Fling act in recent memory to garner phrases like “sound design” and “minimalism composer” in critical write-ups.  Jaar is a comparative literature major at Brown, which is all you need to know.  He’s also the significantly hyped minimalist electronic producer behind 2011’s haunting Space Is Only Noise, which was released a few weeks after his 21st birthday. As Nico himself writes on his website,

NICOLAS JAAR was born on the 10th of January 1990 in New York but spent most of his childhood in Santiago de chile. Haunted by Mulatu Astatke and Erik Satie, he started making electronic music in 2004. At the age of 17, he made his debut on Wolf + Lamb records. Now 21 years old, Nico runs his own label clown & sunset and just released his debut album “space is only noise.”

Jaar, who hails from New York by way of his family’s native Chile, describes his music as “blue-wave.” What that means, I think, is that this is a heady, cerebral fusion of styles—minimalist techno, sparse trip hop beats, lingering ambient passages, empty spaces galore—pieced together with what TinyMixtapes identifies as “a bricolage of submerged beats, French Impressionist-sounding piano squiggles, musique concrète doodads, and the occasional glum vocal.” It’s a wonderful record, too (my favorites cuts include the pulsing “Too Many Kids Finding Rain in the Dust” and the glitchy, piano-driven “Specters of the Future”), and if it may seem more suited to headphones at night than a very drunk Foss, consider that Jaar is bringing a live band with him to perform it. I, for one, am intrigued. (And yes, Jaar goes to Brown, which makes some sort of cosmic sense when you consider that our own Das Racist co-headlined Brown’s Spring Weekend a year ago this week. Thanks for the shout-out, BlogDailyHerald.)

This is what it sounds like during interstellar travel:

And there you go. It’s later than normal, but on the bright side—sheeeit, this is happening in two freaking weeks. Attend on Last.fm!


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49 thoughts on “Spring Fling ’12: If You Book It, They Will Come

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  4. 2013

    Whatever, they tried on what I’m sure is a sorry excuse for a budget. At least we have a spring fling.

  5. Yeahbut

    Peace museum will be fairly rock heavy, so there will be that aspect within the overall lineup. I know it’s not a highly paid ‘professional’ band, but they’ll be good.

  6. Abroad'12

    glad im not at Spring Fling this year. Last year’s wasn’t that great and this year seems to be following in that tradition. when will the spring fling committee choose people that not just a smidgen of the Wesleyan population have heard of? #wasteofmystudentactivitiesfee

    1. Zach

       I’m not on Spring Fling Committee but do have a bit of experience in booking shows at Wes, so I’m curious: what are some “people that not just a smidgen of the Wesleyan population have heard of” given the budget constraints imposed on the committee? #obligatoryhashtagtoendmycomment

  7. Vexed '12

    While I’d say I’m okay/pleased with most of the line-up, the one act that REALLY makes no sense to me is Nicolas Jaar. The current Brown student/musician’s shtick is more intimate/claustrophobic/non-danceable, and is  more suitable for a dance party in my bedroom, where I am alone, listening to headphones, and not dancing. This music was not meant for a live venue–its sonically interesting, but its way too slow.

    See here for a clip of Jaar live w/ a backing band: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvVWE8kf3SQ

    This is what we can expect at Spring Fling. It’s nice music for chilling with some friends, burning bud, but for a large outdoor venue. 

    TLDR: Jaar? WTF was the committee thinking? Whoever brought in Jaar needs to be slapped in the face. I’d actually rather listen to any Wesleyan jam band.

  8. Fuck Me

    Here’s hoping the committee actually tries next year not to get a rapper to headline/any headliner that people semi-know/doesn’t suck cock. Yeah, we’ll all be shitfaced, so who cares? Still, fucking come on.

  9. Rethinking_Spring_Fling

    lets as a community choose to spend this money on something more worthy and collectively supported… like financial aid for students to come to wesleyan! 

    1. giant joint

      this doesn’t make much sense because spring fling budget comes from our student activities fee, which is specifically designated for this purpose. you can always point to something that we spend money on and say “wouldn’t it be better spent on financial aid?” getting rid of spring fling is not going to ensure our ability to maintain our financial aid policies. 
      but feel free to make a donation yourself. 

  10. Minkles

    Just because you haven’t heard of someone doesn’t mean they suck!  I’m grateful that we have a spring fling at all, and it’s going to be awesome.  You have to be really spoiled to complain that the incredibly talented musicians coming to play in your backyard for free not famous enough.  

  11. SBCtoBlame

    Aside from the lineup, the SBC also messed up by handing out money in the sum of $5000 to ONE designer in the Fashion Show this year, while the rest (TEN) received $500 to SPLIT. This allowed for no money for pretty much any activity including Spring Fling for the rest of the year, since SBC ran out of all money at the beginning of April, uhm SIX weeks before school ends. 

    Everyone who is currently on the SBC NEEDS to be fired from their positions for all of this. 

    1. chair to blame

      they were entirely frosh/sophs, it wasnt their fault.  the chair alone is responsible for this end-of-the-year shitshow.

    2. BLURGH

      The SBC doesn’t pay for the fashion show.  Admissions does.  This group came to the SBC independently, & a lot of these costs are going towards clothes-making supplies that are being donated to the UOC.

      Also: if someone “blames” the SBC for Spring Fling’s lineup, then they clearly don’t know what they’re saying.

      1. Former SBC Member '10

        As a former SBC member, I can assure that they are just as, if not more responsible for social committee’s fuckups, simply by virtue of reducing the amount of funds allocated for talent, which directly led to headlining acts falling through.  I can’t speak to the openers though.

      2. SBCmessingupp

        The SBC admitted to giving this money to the fashion show and to that specific designer, the designer also admitted it, and everyone else in the fashion show knew as well. The designer in question used a lot of the money to buy too much fabric, showed the SBC these receipts, then returned the extra fabric in order to use the money to fund her alcohol supplies for her afterparty. Soo, yeah I think that shows some pretty major messups on the part of the SBC, and the SBC only. 

        In response to “chair to blame” if one is on the SBC in the first place, the year of the person should not be an excuse for their inablility to allocate funds and handle the budget properly for their student body. If that is the case, then they shouldn’t be on the committee in the first place. It has nothing to do with the grade one is in, but the ability to actually  do what needs to be done on the committee. Clearly not a single person on the committee has this ability. 

        1. !!!

          It is a fact that the SBC does NOT give money to fashion show, but they did give a lot of money to one designer. And while I completely share your sentiments of frustration with this whole situation, the rest of what you said are allegations. 

  12. In the know.

    Nobody mentioned that Chairlift already played Wes, and for a hell of a lot less money.  I’m not trying to see them again….  And the decreased budget is only in comparison to last year where the SBC had to give more money because of cost overruns.  (But also because this year’s SBC chair apparently doesn’t know how to budget and reduced the amount of funding promised in fall.)

    1. Also Knows

      chairlift also got a lot better at playing live and are making better music. they also played almost 4 years ago, when 75% of campus didn’t attend this school yet. to complain about one of the cheap acts makes no sense.

  13. 'nother 2012

    Yeah… where’s the rock? Not that I’m necessarily opposed to electronica and or dubstep on principle, but they’re not my thing, and that’s certainly NOT a diverse lineup. Pretty fucking disappointing lineup in general. KRIT will be ok, he’s no big boi. Oh well. It’s mostly about sitting on the hill all afternoon while drinking anyway. 

    1. Zach

      I definitely feel you on the lack of rock—it’s my biggest gripe; Walkmen were one of my fave Fling acts ever—but grouping these acts into the same stupidly broad category of “electronica” seems too reductive. Chairlift plays bright, bouncy synthpop; Jaar (my fave act on this lineup) is pretty much the direct opposite.

      There’s no rock, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a wide stylistic range.

    2. Creed

      WTF is “rock”? Like creed? Like is Wavves “rock”? Are the Dirty Projectors “rock”? Or is it only bands who cling to tired notions of music? couldn’t Chairlift be counted in our contemporary understanding of “rock?” (i.e. people playing instruments one of which being a guitar). I mean they’ve got more in common with The Walkmen than Skrillex. While they can be compared, they are not the fucking Eurythmics and play “real” instruments. 

      Rock is a dead term that can’t really describe any music being made today (or it just describes a really small sub category that doesn’t necessarily need inclusion in Spring Fling). So you should really be saying “wheres the Kings of Leon?” Great fucking line up (minus Jaar’s “I go to Brown and dont know how to party” music).

  14. aw hell naw

    I hate everyone hating on this lineup. Krit could be awesome, chairlift’s new album is great and jaar is amazing. fuck y’all

    1. Ah hell naw naw

      The point of the hating is that it’s really fucking um… non-diverse. There’s no actual rock acts (which there have been the last few years, and they’ve been awesome). Not everyone wants three hours of an outdoor rave. 

      1. think

        yea but consider  all the years there haven’t been any electronic acts and THEN consider how this IS diverse IN RELATION to the live music at wesleyan more generally

  15. Asdf

    So there’s only one actual, you know, band? What the fuck, Wesleyan. Most disappointing lineup in the last three years.

  16. Disgusted

    “Spring Fling Committee decided to go for more of a festival format rather than the typical opener-opener-headliner template this time around, and it paid off well:”

    Why don’t you suck Eclectic’s dick a little more? Maybe give they’ll give you a reach-around one day. Cronyism at its finest.

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