In a boldly democratic move, the Yale College Council has opened up the Spring Fling band selection process to the student body for the second year in a row.
Attempting to absolve themselves from culpability, the YCC can now tell disgruntled Yalies to blame their fellow students if they dislike whatever we end up with. After a general survey conducted in October, a survey which many freshmen claim not to have known about, the YCC has narrowed down the list of possible bands to 12 — bands that were popular in the survey, that will be available in April, and that are supposedly within Yale’s price range.
Avril Lavigne — with her affinity for menswear and “SK8TR Boi”s — is a tempting choice for her top-20 bubble gum grunge. She might be a hit in middle schools across America, but her spelling and her “edge” could be too much for Yalies to handle. Ani DiFranco, on the other hand, probably does not appeal to a large enough portion of the population to top this week’s survey. And Ludacris, well, Yale just doesn’t seem to be his usual scene. The Georgia Dome on the 50-yard line, yes. In front of Durfee Hall, yards away from the statue of Nathan Hale, no.
But The Strokes, part of the rock ‘n’ roll revival, could provide a good bridge between previous light rock acts and the hip-hop and rap acts often requested by Yalies. Young New York prep schoolers, The Strokes would blend in nicely at Yale. And they put on a great live show, stripped down to the bare essentials — music and Marlboros. Apparently other people think so, too. Recently named “Band of the Year” by Spin magazine, it seems The Strokes probably will be too pricey and most likely too popular to deign to grace our makeshift Old Campus stage come April.
After several years of folksy rock acts, Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott could bring a different tone to Spring Fling. After all-male acts Ben Harper, Counting Crows and Guster, it would be nice to have a strong female performer. Incidentally, none of the other acts sing about shaving their “cha-cha”s. Her new album, Under Construction, has been well-received, and Miss E would be an undoubtably dynamic live performer. Purported to have a Mensa-level IQ, Elliott might just be bright enough to get her freak on with the best of us. The chances she’ll make a spring pit-stop in New Haven? Slim, we imagine.
Realistically, it seems more likely that the YCC would be able to secure the modest band Wilco for Spring Fling. Wilco’s unique sound, drawing on its lead singer Jeff Tweedy’s roots in punk and country, is both critically acclaimed and accessible. Formed from the remnants of the disbanded band Uncle Tupelo, Wilco falls under the category of indie/alternative — Spring Fling’s usual fare. Feel-good and a little bit country, Wilco would probably offend the smallest number of people.
Compared to Missy Elliott and The Strokes, Wilco is relatively undiscovered — and therefore attainable. They would also most closely approximate the atmosphere of last year’s Guster concert on Old Campus. Oh wait, that never happened. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain this year.