Friday, May 6, 2011

Rites of Spring 2011

A bit late in posting, but here's a quick recap of Vanderbilt's Rites of Spring. Got to cover it again for the Belmont Vision. Here's an extended version of what ran in the paper. If you're interested in sweet photos, check out my friend Ben's site.

Rain boots on Friday and a parka on Saturday. This year’s Rites of Spring at Vanderbilt University was not for the faint of heart, yet folks still came out en mass for the annual end-of-semester musical catharsis. The Vision braved the rain and the cold weather to bring you some notable moments from the festival.


- At 10:30 p.m., the skies open up for one final burst before clearing up for the evening. All acts but the headliners are canceled.

- Piano songstress Sara Bareilles delivers an unexpected cover of Mumford and Sons’s “Little Lion Man.”

- Public Enemy takes the stage. The audience notices Flavor Flav’s distinct lack of clock. Minutes later, he takes off his sweatshirt and all is well with the world.

- The Vision wonders how about the transition from 80s-90s rap to orchestral pop/rock will go.

- The National play a solid set comprised of songs from their 2010 album High Violet and its predecessor Boxer, including “Mistaken for Strangers” and “Blood Buzz Ohio.”

- Starring down a 1:30 a.m. shutdown time, front man Matt Berninger tries to squeeze one more song into The National’s abbreviated set and has his mic cut off three fourths of the way through “Terrible Love.”


- David Mayfield Parade takes Rites to church with a rousing cover of “A Little Talk with Jesus.” Quote of the evening: “Do you want to kick the Devil in the junk?”

- Madi Diaz and her band do Nashville proud by bringing their brand of excellent indie pop to the Alumni Lawn. Songs like “It’s Only a Kiss,” “Johnny” and the effervescent “Let’s Go,” make it one of the best sets of the festival.

- Kim of Matt and Kim convinces a surprising number of guys in the crowd to take off their shirts in 46 degree weather and swing them above their heads. She spends a good chunk of the set riling up the crowd from a top her drum kit. Energetic barely describes the situation.

- After an hour-long wait, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s Alex Ebert looks as messianic as ever fronting his musical collective. “Home” gets a big response.

- The crowd swells and packs in for rapper Kid Cudi. With the temperature bottoming out at 45 degrees, Rites hangs it up for another year.

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