Byrd's Eye View: Rites of Spring
PICTURED: Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips
FIGHT FOR YOUR RITE!
Vanderbilt's annual end-of-the-semester blow out known as Rites of Spring took place over the weekend, welcoming a sold-out crowd to the outdoor music festival.
On Friday night, Santigold, who was dressed in a fabulous, blue-and-gold lamet onesie, got the party started and even invited folks on stage to dance alongside her militant back-up singer/dancers for a few tunes. Yes, I did try to run up there (I could swear she pointed right at me when she was calling for dancers) and yes, security did stop me. Yes, I am a super fan; you can't blame a girl for trying.
Later, Q-Tip worked his improv routine when his sound unexpectedly went out mid-song. But the legendary member of A Tribe Called Quest remained cool and collected.
"I've been through worse so I can deal with a sound issue," he said from the stage. "I'm fortunate to be here. I don't have a joke but I will do a little beat box for ya."
And with that, he tore into "Bonita Applebaum" just as the sound kicked back on right in time for the bass line to drive the crowd into an absolute frenzy.
T.I. closed the Friday-night festivities with the help of his 30-person entourage that hung out on stage with the rapper throughout his set. Of course, if I were headed off to jail in only a matter of days, I would want to spend as much time with my close pals as possible, too.
On Saturday, the gentlemen of N.E.R.D. seemed to be having a particularly good time, especially when they called all the young, coeds on stage to show off their grinding skills during "Everyone Nose," which they mashed up to The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army."
Lead singer Pharrell Williams stuck around long after the music ended to give an impromptu speech thanking everyone for partying responsibly and encouraging all the creative people in the audience to check out his new Web site, www.Artst.com.
Just as he was about to be yanked off stage so that the next artist could perform, he decided to lead an odd little cheer asking the crowd to shout the name of its school on the count of three. The crowd obliged, although it did come off a bit awkward to say the least.
Backstage, members of a diligent work crew, which had been dressed in head-to-toe, reflective, orange safety suits all day long, were busy gathering confetti cannons, lighting instruments and huge nets full of inflated balloons in preparation for The Flaming Lips to take the stage. Out front, super fans dressed as Teletubbies, giant lizards, Santa Claus and nearly everything in between made a play to get as close to the stage as possible.
Finally, just as the sky was beginning to make good on its promise of rain, the lights went down, the confetti cannons began to explode and Wayne Coyne emerged center stage in a huge, transparent orb, which he used as a vessel to float across the top of the crowd. It was not a new trick for the band, as they had relied on this crowd pleaser several times before, but it was just as delightful as the very first time.
And somehow, despite the torrent of rain that began to fall, the crowd remained united, refusing to give up the party until the very end.