Shins, O.A.R., Rahzel to play at Fling

The Yale College Council has selected three acts to play this year’s Spring Fling on Old Campus on April 26 and expects to sign contracts next week with the performers — The Shins, O.A.R. and beatboxer Rahzel, a member of The Roots — YCC President Andrew Cedar ’06.

“I think there’s something for everyone,” Cedar said. “Nearly every Yale student is going to be excited about one of these bands.”

Negotiations with the acts began last semester and have been completed, although the contracts still must be executed by the University and the artists, Cedar said. The YCC chose the three acts last fall after deciding to forego the traditional process of surveying student opinion online because the council thought the process was ineffective, Cedar said.

Aided by an extra $30,000 provided by the President’s Office and the Yale College Dean’s Office around winter break, the YCC will likely spend just under $70,000 on talent, YCC Treasurer Andrew Schram ’06 said. Last year, the YCC spent $45,000 to book Third Eye Blind, the only Spring Fling act that year. Schram said he thinks the extra money will be well-spent.

“We’ve got a great combination of big names and a variety of genres,” he said. “And from what we’ve heard, all the bands are supposed to be great live.”

The Shins, a quartet that hails from Albuquerque, N.M., is an indie-rock band whose music was recently featured in the soundtrack to the film “Garden State.” The group’s debut album in 2001, “Oh, Inverted World,” established The Shins as one of indie rock’s defining bands with such singles as “New Slang” and “The Past and Pending.”

The Shins’ sophomore album, “Chutes Too Narrow,” has sold 250,000 copies and was hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as making each minute matter “without strain or lapsing into fake mellowness.”

“Getting intimate without giving away their secrets, The Shins walk a fine line between familiarity and mystery,” Rolling Stone wrote.

O.A.R., which stands for Of A Revolution, is known for its upbeat rock with influences of folk, ska and reggae, as epitomized by the group’s biggest hit, “A Crazy Game of Poker.” The band, which first began as a few college students in Columbus, Ohio, and quickly developed a grassroots following, is known for soulful imagery of everyday life.

After five releases, O.A.R. made the transition from indie to the big leagues with its major-label debut in 2003, “In Between Now and Then.” The band worked on the album with producer John Alagia, who has produced for Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer and Ben Folds.

“The sound of the band is smooth, folk-flavored pop, songs that would fit comfortably beside the Dave Matthews Band,” according to a review in the Los Angeles Times.

Hip-hop artist Rahzel specializes in beatboxing, a form of vocal percussion. Rahzel grew up in Queens, N.Y., and was already established as a solo artist when The Roots asked him to join their group. Based in Philadelphia, The Roots is a pioneering group of the live-rap movement and uses traditional instrumentation in lieu of samples and drum machines, according to Rolling Stone.

Rahzel is known for his trademark Star Wars segment, his vocal acrobatics and his personalized brand of beat-box percussion, the magazine wrote.

“Rahzel brings fresh sensibilities — and new possibilities — to the vocal realm,” Rolling Stone wrote. “On stage, Rahzel puts his money where his mouth is. He simulates sounds urban and natural: A bulldozer, beating pigeon wings, traffic and helicopters — a landscape MC-mixed with funk/jazz sensibilities that defies easy categorization.”

The increase in the number of acts is not the only change students will find at Spring Fling. Whereas last year, Third Eye Blind played during the day, this year’s show will start at dusk. The YCC concluded that a nighttime concert would be a more enjoyable experience for students.

“It’s fun to have a rock show and have lights,” Cedar said.

Several students reached last night said they were excited about the lineup for the event, all saying they were fans of at least one of the groups.

“I think it’s a pretty diverse lineup,” Lauren Fine ’06 said. “It should appeal to a lot of people.”

Daniel Clemens ’05 said he is a fan of The Shins.

“I think The Shins will be a pretty good act,” Clemens said. “I think it’ll be a pretty good show.”

Allison Jones ’08 said she is excited to see Rahzel perform because she is a fan of The Roots.

“I love the Shins … and O.A.R. is really popular,” Jones added.

The students’ reactions are a marked departure from the lukewarm reception that met the announcement of Third Eye Blind for last year’s Spring Fling.

“It’s a big step in the right direction,” Cedar said.

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