Story & Photos by Raven Harmon // Contributing Writer
From the soft rock ‘n’ roll sounds of local bands to the hype of mainstream headliners, Vanderbilt’s Rites of Spring festival meshed the perfect blend of genres to create a lineup that was impossible to disappoint.
Lil Dicky, the comedic rapper who went viral on YouTube after the release of his music video “Ex-Boyfriend,” was the headliner of Friday night’s festivities. Because this artist has been seemingly problematic in a number of ways, it was not my original intent to cover his set, however, the intensity from the fans that filled Alumni Lawn was undeniable. I reciprocated their anticipation and was convinced to watch one of the best performances of the weekend.
As my list of festivals and concerts progresses over time, I experience something significantly more epic with each show. Lil Dicky’s stage presence was more than enough to keep me reminiscing days after the event. He encompasses the advantage of being both a rapper and a comedian, meaning his interaction with the audience was multifaceted in its nature, creating the perfect fan experience.
Erratic chants proclaiming, “Abortion, pro choice,” singing the national anthem and Snapchatting from fans’ phones in the crowd were incomparable to the most mentionable moments of his set.
Normally, Lil Dicky handpicks an interested lady from the audience to serenade. However, Rites of Spring strictly prohibited this portion of his set. As an improvisation, Dicky’s hype man was lucky enough to accompany him in the passionate performance of “Lemme freak,” which has almost 20 million views on YouTube. Along with this entertaining, yet bizarre, interaction between hype man and artist, Dicky performed his hit single “Save That Money” which was seemingly the most awaited song of the night.
Dicky being able to entertain with dope music that entails detailed story lines is one thing; when paired along with a personality that keeps the crowd engaged and attentive regardless of familiarity with the songs is impressive, especially in early stages of fame.
Saving the best for last, Rites of Spring booked an artist with clout that dominates the attention of listeners from every genre: Future. Future has been on a festival tour and has graced several stages with a nostalgic transformation of each era of his career that provokes a range of emotions. With that being said, a physical presence is necessary for the full experience.
Future begins his set at full throttle as he performed recently buzzed about club bangers such as “Thought It Was a Drought” then humbly reminded us why he has earned his spot in hip-hop royalty as he took the crowd through each stage of his career within an hour-long set. Radio singles like “Move That Dope” and “Karate” hyped the crowd up as he progressed through his musical projects. Mixtapes such as EVOL, Dirty Sprite 1 and 2 and several others were honored during his set as well as songs featuring Future himself.
It has been said numerous times that Future is not a good performer. Although this may be true, there will be no Future slander in my presence. Future could stand still on a stage with his hits playing straight from an aux cord and the crowd would be just as hype. His countless records effortlessly make up for whatever performance abilities he may lack.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story included the mentioned chant as “Abortion, wrong choice” instead of the correct phrasing, “Abortion, pro choice.” We were unable to verify this at the time.
To contact Lifestyles editor Tanner Dedmon email email@example.com.