As the sun poked its head out from behind the clouds Saturday afternoon, students flocked to the fields behind the Rec Center to enjoy the day full of music, mud, and memories known affectionately as Spring Concert. The concert, now in its 30th year, featured a total of seven bands, ranging from Carleton student bands to well-known DJs to almost every music genre in between.
With weather forecasts calling for rain nearly all day, students and Spring Concert staff alike prepared for the worst. Large tents were assembled, rain jackets were donned, and rain boots were again brought out of the closet in an attempt to minimize the effects of the weather. Fortunately, none of these would be necessary, as the clouds parted in the early afternoon and stayed that way, with the exception of a brief shower early on in the day.
Carleton’s two Battle of the Bands placewinners, Throwin’ Bones and Ova Yonder, began the festivities with two half-hour sets. Throwin’ Bones, the second place band, rocked out with some classic rock hits, as well as new material, under the vocal lead of Jack Frechette ’11 and the shredding guitar riffs of Will Tynan ‘11. Ova Yonder, the Battle of the Bands winner, sported a rocking brass section while playing crowd favorites like “All of the Lights” by Kanye West and closing out their set with a rousing cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”
Other than through placing at Battle of the Bands, Carleton students made their way to the stage to try their luck as student DJs throughout the day and in between band sets. Despite not being household names, these DJs at times brought just as many people to the mud pit in front of the stage to dance as the bands themselves. There was no shortage of muddy feet and muddy faces, another lasting impression of this year’s concert.
Following the two Carleton bands was Los Angeles-based yOya. With only two members, yOya relied on the catchy melodies of Alex Pfender on guitar and Noah Dietterich on the keyboard and beat machine. After just a few songs, the crowd began to take notice and gathered at the stage to watch the duo perform up close. yOya quickly became a fan favorite, prompting cries of “One more song!” after they played “Fireworks” to close out their set. Unfortunately, said Pfender, “We don’t have any more songs!” I imagine we’ll be seeing more of yOya at Carleton in the not-too-distant future.
Up next was Yukon Blonde. Traveling all the way from Vancouver, British Columbia, Yukon Blonde impressed with rocking melodies, recognizable lyrics, and awesome tattoos. While able to contain the heckles from a few members of the crowd yelling for “Freebird,” Yukon Blonde tossed out some Rapture jokes, which were met with resounding cheers. Most importantly, they were happy to be at Spring Concert, and it definitely showed with their infectious tunes.
After the show, Brandon Scott, guitarist and vocalist for Yukon Blonde, explained the derivation of many of his tattoos, which were admired by many in the audience. Of the Spring Concert atmosphere, he said, “This is great. It’s a sweet environment and there are some bands here that I’m really excited to see.”
As the sun beat down and the mud pit steadily grew to encompass much of the spectator area, Dawes came onstage to perform their classic rock-inspired songs and prepare for the release of their new album on June 7. As one of the most highly anticipated bands to see at Spring Concert according to many Carleton students, Dawes did not disappoint. Those in attendance crowded the stage to croon along with the band to their most recognizable song, “When My Time Comes.”
Next up, and sporting a Hawaiian that could have easily signaled his allegiance to GOP, RJD2 got the crowd pumped up with his catchy mashups and incredibly precise skills on the turntables. With aspiring student DJs in the crowd watching on with excitement, RJD2 pleased all with good music to either mosh along with or enjoy as you played hacky-sack with friends. Despite only being equipped with a backpack full of records, a computer, and some turntables, RJD2 nevertheless gained momentum as the show went on, and left many in the crowd cheering for more.
But alas, the time had come for the main act, Blue Scholars, to take the stage. From the first pulsing bassnote of “Lumiere,” their opening song, the crowd was entranced. As DJ Geologic began to rap the first few verses offstage, members of the audience crowded the stage and threw their hands in the air to the beat. The crowd followed Blue Scholars’ every command, clapping, waving their hands back and forth, and even finishing the lyrics for them. It was clear that Blue Scholars was the most well-known among the bands, and the large Seattle contingent at the concert was proud to finally introduce their local hip hop duo to more widespread fame at Carleton.
Opinions following the concert and the fireworks show expressed an unbelievable fondness for the day. Alex Walker ’12, one of the many Spring Concert volunteers, said, “What made this year so great was that it seemed like every band playing actually wanted to give us their best stuff, and they definitely enjoyed themselves on stage.” “I was just happy that the weather turned out like it did. Everything else was icing on the cake,” said Laura Newcombe ’13. Whatever your memories are of this year’s Spring Concert, there is no doubt that it will be the paragon to which all other Spring Concerts will inevitably be compared.