Review by Jake Goodman
There was something deliciously absurd about Spring Weekend 2016. One could have been violently swaying in a tempest-stricken ocean of slowly sobering Brunonians. One could have seen couples vigorously tongue wrestling mere inches from your semi-shocked, semi-fascinated face. One could have seen formidable porta-potty lines, carnival-esque food, and thousands of college students raising their iPhones skyward to ensure a high-quality snap-story of Fetty. And these are the things we come to expect on Spring Weekend--the youthful madness of it all.
But Spring Weekend is more than a fleeting social-media-chronicled weekend; for most of us, it serves as a point of reflection. As a first-year, my experiences at Brown have been brief. I’ve only begun to recognize all the buildings, engage in campus-wide issues, or even just remember the names of everyone on my floor. Yet, even though I’ve only been here a short time, each moment feels saturated with experience, slowly transferring into memory only as the contrast between the past and present becomes greater.
And yes, the first day wasn’t the best. I couldn’t even tell that FunkinEvil were playing; most people thought they were just filler DJs. Tink was a whirlwind of monologues concerning her dating troubles, reminders that we are in fact in Rhode Island, factual tidbits about her age and her city of origin, and decent-at-best rap-infused R&B. For most of the night, the crowd was largely anxious for the arrival of Fetty Wap. But I think I stand with most people when I say that Fetty was largely disappointing and confusing. The sound system completely malfunctioned in the beginning, and why did he have 16 people from his posse on stage at once? Also, he repeated a couple songs, as if he felt the song was so great that it demanded a second run-through. And Adele and Justin Bieber as a pump-up for Fetty wasn’t the finest idea of the Zoo Gang. I mean, there is only so much you can expect from Fetty Wap, but the ridiculousness of his performance was more than just the weird “what-is-going-on?” moments from Friday night’s concert. It was ridiculous to realize, amid the EMS stretchers wheeling past me and the cirrus of smoke hovering above me, that my first year at Brown is almost over, that college is a crazy, wild, challenging, and meaningful place, and that it’s okay to just fall in love with the insanity of Brown.
It was much easier to enjoy these spectacles on Saturday. On a musical note, the second day was clearly better. Thundercat’s quirky bass-shredding was awesome, and the high volume of Kendrick fans in attendance definitely appreciated his performance of To Pimp A Butterfly track “Complexion (A Zulu Love)”. Tinashe was a peppy, more musical step-up from Tink and definitely a contender for best performance of the weekend - did anyone notice that her drummer was crazy good? Mac DeMarco’s persona was on full display, complete with a rendition of “Feliz Navidad”, multiple shout-outs to East Side Mini-Mart, chain smoking, and a guest appearance by a dildo. He was great and weird, and it was a shame so many people missed his jam-heavy performance (granted, it was getting cold). Overall, the lineup was a bit of an oddball, eclectic and quirky, yet ultimately satisfying. And I think that parallels the feeling that most Brunonians have about their time at Brown.
During both days of Spring Weekend, when the phrase “how are you” was converted to “what are you on/how drunk are you,” there was something gorgeous about the madness of the occasion. It was mesmerizing to see all these students who had gone through the college transition process by nourishing their sense of responsibility sweep aside that precious trait in the name of Dionysian debauchery for an arbitrary April weekend. I felt compelled to join in it, to not question why there was a couch in the middle of Wriston Quad or why Natural Lights were freckling the entirety of Brown’s campus; it was a celebration of our home, a way to feel a tangible bond with our mutual environment when it usually exists intangibly. It’s hard not to get sentimental as the year is reaching its end, but I can’t help feeling a little bit more a part of something cohesive, a member of a campus full of wondrous absurdities.