At Summer Breeze, Illmatic is the move

Nas, Damian Marley, and the Dirty Projectors are set to perform at the May 15 concert, which will this year feature a DJ and a Fire Escape film.

By Asher Klein

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Summer Breeze will look and sound a little different this year. Nas, Damian Marley, and the Dirty Projectors are set to perform at the May 15 concert, which will this year feature a DJ and a Fire Escape film.

The Major Activities Board (MAB), which organizes the show, was careful when finding artists after complaints that last year’s show was too indie—Voxtrot, Santigold, and Broken Social Scene performed, all of which are known as indie acts.

Only one indie act will play this year: the Dirty Projectors. Nas gained widespread acclaim for his 1994 rap album, Illmatic, and Damian Marley, Bob Marley’s youngest son, incorporates hip-hop and reggae into his music.

“I think Summer Breeze this year is going to appeal to a lot of different people, both graduates and undergraduates,” third-year MAB Board member Marie Joh said.

Fourth-year MAB Chair Liat Bird said the last Summer Breeze’s indie bent wasn’t deliberate. “MAB always tries to go for as diverse a lineup as possible. Last year was kind of a rough year for us in terms of who was available,” she said. “There’s always an element of luck to it.”

The Board did its best to find a wide range of artists, Bird said. “We had broken it down into three genres: rock and indie, rap and hip-hop, and if possible, dance and electronica,” she said. The group tried to find an act from each genre, but Nas and Damian Marley, who have a joint album coming out May 18 and will go on tour together soon after that, came as a kind of “package deal,” Bird said.

“When Nas and Damian came along, they were at such a good price and such a good act that we decided to go for them,” Bird said. “It was a great opportunity for us.”

The two are slated to play individual sets, then finish the show together, as they did in March at South by Southwest.

The line-up isn’t the only change to this year’s Summer Breeze. DJ OCD Automatic will spin between Pidgin Patch, the winner of the Battle of the bands, and the Dirty Projectors, Bird said, and Fire Escape Films is putting together “a fun little MTV-esque type collection of images” to play between Nas’s and Marley’s sets. “This is something we’ve talked about a lot in the past,” she said. “Just because it’s kind of boring for people to watch us moving things on stage, and another criticism we’ve heard is that it takes too long on the set changes.”

The beer garden will also move, to Snell-Hitchcock quad, and Bird suggested outdoor furniture might be brought in to allow for more casual drinking.

Bird said she was “super stoked” for the show, and Joh said, “As a fan, it’s actually going to be ridiculous.”

First-year Henry Ginna said the line-up was “prime meat” and surpassed his expectations for a college concert.

“I was really impressed that they were able to pull a line-up like that together, with a well known artist like Nas and a more independent band like the Dirty Projectors,” Ginna said.Tickets are on sale at the Reynolds Club; in a number of graduate schools; and, also for the first time, about one thousand will be available on Student Government's uBazaar Web site.