A compilation of random and interesting things, musings, musics, videos, and more. Brought to you by a UChicago student with a penchant for procrastination.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Summer Breeze 2008


This Saturday the University of Chicago hosted it's annual carnival & evening concert, tantalizingly titled Summer Breeze, despite the fact that finals are still several weeks away. I have to say I probably enjoyed this year's event more than last year's. The carnival, which lasts from noon to four, really only differed in that free Jamba Juice was involved and in the fact that I got to man the cotton candy machine (pretty sweet). The biggest difference came in the organization and line-up of the concert.

Cool Kids > Andrew Bird > Talib Kweli > Cake

Whereas last year the main acts were The Roots and Spoon (in that order), this year we had four acts which were arranged in a bit more logical fashion. The Cool Kids kicked off the concert, followed by Andrew Bird - who played until dusk. I didn't actually get to Hutch Courtyard until Talib Kweli was due to start but it seemed like people were enjoying themselves, there was a beer garden and Kraft was giving away some sort of microwavable sandwich, plus there had been some slight rain, but it had passed for the time being ...


Either way, Talib Kweli had a pretty great show, he was really going for the crowd reaction and if you can tell by the giant mass of people above, it worked pretty well. The Roots were able to do this especially well last year, but thankfully instead of putting on the equivalent of Spoon after them - they got the show topper - Cake!

The wait for Cake to set up was petty long, something like 30 minutes, in which time the rain really began to be a problem. While Mandell Hall was apparently designated the back-up location in this event, no one wanted to leave their spots in front of the stage. As the rain intensified the crowd began to grow restless and started chanting "Cake, Cake, Cake" (which the lead singer later remarked sounded like "KKK"). Ah, Cake and fascism.

Well, the band ultimately came onstage, and as the rain was now pouring down in sheets they opened with an all too appropriate It's Coming Down


It's raining outside, you've nowhere to hide ...

The first couple of songs were rather mellow since it turned out some of their electrical equipment had malfunctioned. But soon enough, they were back up and pandering to the loving, wet, and completely muddy crowd.

My camera essentially broke at this point, so if I can find any YouTube clips I'll post them, but needless to say it was a remarkably memorable night. The stage was at the top of a slope, so either you were packed together at the top, or sliding down what was now a mud incline. What's more the temperature had dropped by something like 15 degrees, but the packed crowd and loud music were enough to keep everyone cheering.

Eventually, lightning caused the show to be cut short but not before Cake played Frank Sinatra -- with a perfectly placed thunderclap adding to the wailing trumpet. It was pretty fantastic.

The end of the show came all too soon and I was sort of bummed that they hadn't played Symphony in C or the requisite Short Skirt, Long Jacket. Though we'd cheered loudly for one more song, and the frontman did come back on he only did so to give away a peach tree ... to the person who could guess the number of sharks killed each year. Yes, sort of weird. But by that point I was covered in mud & freezing, so I didn't much question my sanity. It was still a great night overall and seemingly worth the cold I'm now trying to stymie.

Listen to the Summer Breeze muxtape here