Old Campus played host Saturday afternoon to a rare, wondrous phenomenon, perplexing passersby and leaving them staring transfixed at the shiny objects and loud noises emitting from a two-foot raised platform erected in front of Durfee’s.
No, the aliens have not finally landed—although that would have been even funnier than the open-mouthed gapes of said passersby. No, the phenomenon I speak of, friends, is Yale music. And yes, it’s rare—you know that Spring Fling is not music.
An eclectic group of seven student bands and performers gathered on Saturday in a WYBC and YSEC collaboration to bring Yale-a-Palooza to Old Campus, with music ranging from shoegaze to hip hop, and from jazz to experimental.
First to take the stage were the Battlekites, who, after overcoming several minutes of giggling fits, played their pleasant indie/shoegaze tunes to a moderately sized audience consisting of band members’ friends, an equal spattering of upper and lowerclassmen, and the occasional cluster of skinny jeans and scarves—the latter group looking carefully nonchalant, preferring, of course, to divide their attention with cell phones and the occasional cigarette.
The second band to come onstage was called…well, Onstage. Their energetic covers of various jazz and latin beats featured beautiful vocals from Tina Colon ’09 and expertly played saxophone, keyboard, and drums, for a set that brought both the stage and audience to life, and a finale that featured some impressive beatboxing from the saxophone player.
The third act consisted of solo rapper Mustafo’s shameless self-promotion, soul-baring transitions, and worldly knowledge-sharing in between songs. Oh, and he rapped too.
Next up was Unripe Avocado with their experimental blends of guitar, saxophone, and drums, impressive for only a two-person act. Following this, came Strobings, another experimental two-man act, featuring menacing drumbeats and screeching vocals.
Yale-a-Palooza’s sixth act was another solo performance, this time by Noah Lawrence, who together with an acoustic guitar and endearingly sweet sincerity that carried all the way through his set, managed to leave several of his songs stuck in my head throughout the rest of the day.
Last to take the stage were the Flaming Snake Bears, a duo whose steady guitars and vocals, sometimes bordering on blues-rock with the addition of a harmonica, belied their insane name. “Flaming Snake Bears,” I ask you…
Filling in the occasional time gaps between acts was Eddie Quinones ‘08 who, together with an acoustic guitar, vastly amusing facial expressions, and lyrics about “being a wuss” as he once put it, was a suitable and pleasant filler act.
At the end of the day, the four-hour long Yale-a-Palooza was a worthy attempt at bringing good music to an Ivy League campus and a pleasant way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon for the modest audience that showed up to sit, watch, and rob themselves of any sleep the next night thanks to four hours of not working on those thousand and a half problems sets due this week. Or maybe that was just me.