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Cake to Headline Spring Weekend

By Marie Y. Thibault

The main act of this year’s Spring Weekend concert will be Cake, an alternative band “in the real alternative sense,” said Spring Committee Co-chairman Sisi Zhu ’08. Spring Weekend will be on April 28–30 this year, with the concert being held on Friday, April 28 in Johnson Athletic Center.

Cake was the committee’s fifth choice, with bands Death Cab for Cutie, Franz Ferdinand, and The Strokes being top choices, Zhu said. Other possible bands did not work out either because they were already on tour, are not touring, or are hard to work with, since some bands are known for being “demanding, snooty, or not pleasant to work with,” she said. According to the Web site for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Franz Ferdinand will be performing the same weekend as Spring Weekend.

Cake’s hour to hour-and-a half show will cost $40,000, Zhu said, although no formal contract has been signed yet. Cake’s fee is on the low end of the spectrum as far as concert performers goes, she wrote in an e-mail.

Co-chairman Cindy X. Yuan ’06 said that the entire weekend, funded by the Student Life department, which draws from the $100 Student Life Fee that each student pays per semester, will cost around $95,000. Plans will be finalized around the beginning of April, but based on last year’s prices, student tickets will probably cost around $15, Zhu said.

Included in plans for the weekend are the annual Alpha Chi Omega Lipsync Contest on Saturday night and the I-Fair, the international fair held by cultural student groups, on Friday afternoon, Yuan said. A hip-hop event, Get Sprung, will be held in The Coffeehouse after the lipsync contest Saturday night. The artist for that event is being chosen by SaveTFP, a group of MIT students that “throws free events on campus,” according to the SaveTFP Web site.

Though plans have not been finalized, possibilities for Sunday events are a Habitat for Humanity Campus Build or a Sunday brunch at Sidney-Pacific graduate dormitory. If included, the brunch will be an attempt to involve the graduate student community more, Yuan said.

Fabolous and Lloyd Banks, hip-hop and rap artists, were the performers for last year’s Spring Weekend Concert. Since student surveys always find the MIT population split between hip-hop fans and rock fans, the committee decided that this year’s performer should be a rock or alternative group, Yuan said. The committee sent e-mail lists of possible acts to all the dormitory and independent living group mailing lists, asking students whether they would come to see an artist, Zhu said. Cake received 766 of 2600 votes, she said.

Cake has been around since 1991, when most MIT students were in elementary school. Based in Sacramento, Calif, one of the group’s recent songs is “Short Skirt, Long Jacket,” Zhu said. Others will remember “The Distance” and “Never There,” she said. Yuan said that Cake’s music cannot be compared to any other band’s music. They have a strong MIT following and a strong college following in general, she said.

Elvio Sadun ’05 said that he thought it was cool that Cake was performing this year. He said that he saw them perform live at the Middle East, a restaurant and nightclub in Central Square, and was impressed by the way they sounded live. “They have so many strange sounds in their music and I was surprised that they were able to replicate that,” he said.

Zhu said that the committee is considering matt pond PA as the opening act, though it is their last choice. The New York Times reviewed the band on Feb. 3, and wrote that it “has lots of nicely formed indie-pop songs, none very memorable.” The band is known for having a song on “The OC” sound track, Zhu said. Some of the other opening bands the committee considered were American Hi-Fi and The Forum, she said. Yuan said that those bands were not available.