The YCC was given $140,000 dollars for Spring Fling; Wesleyan was given $56,000 for theirs. But Wesleyan is getting a lot more with their dirty liberal arts dollar. Instead of trying to check a whole lot of boxes – like our mix of pop-punk bullshit (Jimmy Eat World), legitimate hip-hop (The Roots), and unattractive/untalented crooning (Sean Kingston) – Wesleyan assembled a line-up, that while not homogenous, works harmoniously together. They aimed to create an event that flows. The Wesleyan line-up includes GZA, The Hold Steady and Cool Kids, plus The Hood Internet spinning between sets. While these names aren’t as recognized commercially as ours, they all are respected for their abilities to perform live.
Now, if I were in 7th grade again, and had a lifetime supply of white and black sweat bands and Dep hair gel, I might be down with Jimmy Eat World playing at Spring Fling. But even Jimmy Eat World fans didn’t listen to any song other than “The Middle.” Its inspirational lyrics — “It’s only in your head / You feel left out” — quickly make 7th grade listeners realize, “Hey, I am not really left out. There are 12 other kids who bought the same awesome Jimmy Eat World t-shirt from Hot Topic that I’m wearing.”
But while Jimmy Eat World has some redeemable qualities as a live act, Sean Kingston has none. I’d imagine Rebecca Taber and the YCC were thinking, “Yo’ people listen to that ‘Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh’ shit on weekends, so Sean Kingston would be dope live.” Not even, kid. Sean Kingston is currently the worst live act in America. For $20 – $30k, he’ll throw down the CD recording of his 2-3 hit songs and yell, “Yeah… C’mon… Where my beautiful girls at… Yale 2008… Where are those beautiful girls?” However, that bullshit banter is at least better than Sean Kingston singing with a live band. While his record may indicate that Kingston has a smooth, rich, Rasta-sounding voice, his live act stinks of off-pitch imitation Jamaican jerky.
Why are we giving Sean Kingston a 45-minute set? “Beautiful Girls,” “Me Love,” and “Take You There” together clock in at about ten minutes. So most likely we’re going to hear Kingston yell “Yeah, c’mon” over tracks on which he was “featured.” Maybe the remix of “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie, or “That’s Gangsta” by Bun B. Hell, he may even recognize that he does not have enough solid material to put on a 45-minute set, and just do 4 reprises of “Beautiful Girls” and “Take You There.” I don’t even think Sean Kingston has the stamina to stand for 45-minutes. He looks like he’s going to collapse under the weight of his unnecessary massive necklace, while struggling through rudimentary Mo-Town dance moves. Our massive budget is partly being used to acquire a musician who was deemed “amateurish” in concert by the New York Times.
Well, at least we have The Roots. The Grammy-award winners from Philly consistently put on live shows that are just as appealing to Mingus lovers as lovers of all things grindable. The only bad thing to say about The Roots coming to campus is that everyone’s had The Roots. They came to Penn in the fall, and have tapped into nearly every Ivy League Spring Concert in recent years. The Roots can be viewed in the same light as a high-class prostitute. Sure, everyone gets a ride, but at least it’s a good one.
Zachary Fuhrer is grindable.