Kweli rocks the Greek Bowl

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In its first time as a true festival, SpringFest 2014 brought together the Occidental community during a period of low social activity at the school. With the issues currently plaguing the college, this event proved a great community-builder and provided an alternative to the usual quiet on-campus weekend.

The pre-show began at 3 p.m. and featured three hours of food and music, among other attractions. Reggae band The Lions performed on the KOXY stage at Stewie Beach, and were well-received by the crowd. Besides watching The Lions perform, students on the beach had the option of getting a henna tattoo, having their faces painted or pitching softballs at the dunk tank, the latter of which was hosted by Greek Organizations Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Delta Omicron Tau.

Just up the Braun Hall stairs in the Norris Yellow parking lot, SpringFest attendees climbed a rock wall while student artists showcased their skillsin front of their peers on the RAW Records stage. Food trucks surrounding both areas offered an array of cuisines including Mexican, Indian and Greek food.

“The pre-show had a great turn out with nearly 1,000 in attendance,” Programming Board (PB) manager and politics major David Cotton (senior) said via email. “The Lions on KOXY’s stage played a fantastic set, giving the whole festival a great feel. We hope to continue growing the size of the pre-show in the future.”

According to PB event staffer Tristan Cooper (sophomore), the pre-show ended with no major issues and set a good tone for the rest of the event.

After a few quieter hours on campus, female artist Res began the concert portion of the festival, performing in front of a relatively small crowd in the Greek Bowl. The talented singer provided a mellow start for the more intense style of Talib Kweli.

DJ Spintelect, Kweli’s DJ, then performed a short interlude between the sets of Res and Kweli. His set provided the musical tone for the the headliner’s performance, hyping up the crowd and asking them to raise the noise level if they wanted to see Kweli.

When he finally did appear onstage, Kweli performed a lengthy set that began around 10:30 p.m. — one hour after the advertised 9:30 p.m. start time, and lasted until nearly 11:45 p.m. He performed some of his most well-known songs such as “Definition” and “Get By” to the crowd’s enjoyment, followed by an encore consisting of tracks off his “Reflection Eternal” project’s album including “Move Something” and “Love Language”.

Kweli was clearly feeling the crowd, and the feeling was reciprocated. The native New Yorker improvised over several West Coast Dr. Dre beats like “Still Dre,” and restyled some of his songs using unconventional beats created by his band and DJ, providing a unique performance even to active Kweli fans.

“It was refreshing to see a rapper spit these lines, have a a live band and do a good job,” Daily Flava music critic and former Occidental student Nathaniel Heller said. “Performing that well over a live band was really impressive.”

Economics major Aseem Mangaokar (junior) of the DJ duo Hotel Garuda closed the show but had minimal time to perform due to the length of Kweli’s set.

Overall, the event was a hit and will ideally provide a template for on-campus events in the future.

“I hope the success of these events will remind the administration of the important role campus-wide events play in reinvigorating student life and ensuring that the close-knit community that defines our institution lives on,” Diplomacy and World Affairs (DWA) major Rachel Cohn (sophomore) said.