Durham isn't the suburbs, but a bevy of local and national artists will be rocking the Gothic Wonderland this LDOC. Music begins on the Plaza Stage at 12:30 p.m., with folksy Ithaca, N.Y. band the Makepeace Brothers kicking off the festivities. Fresh from touring with Jason Mraz, the Brothers' acoustic sound emulates Mraz's shambling, relaxed style.
Next up at 2 p.m. is Nate Fowler, Trinity '08. Fowler, the frontman of Stella by Starlight, also performs under the alias Pseudofed and is a fixture in the Duke music scene as a DJ and performer. His sound is a hooky take on the synth-based pop song, and he's also made a habit of rendering tracks like Ricky Martin's "La Vida Loca" in electro dressings.
Starting a block of Durham hip-hop is L@w at 2:45 p.m., with Durham rapper Toon, aka Kurrell Rice, going on at 3:15 p.m. If Toon looks familiar, it's because he probably is-Rice works at the Subway on campus.
Following Toon is Duke's own funk-infused blues band Soulless Dogs, whose MySpace boasts of "The Best Damn Rhythm Section in Durham." The final Plaza Stage performance is at 4:45 p.m., with a set by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pop four-piece the Huguenots, making a triumphant return to Duke after their victory in the annual Duke-UNC Battle of the Bands.
The action then shifts to the Main Quad. Duke's own Mike Posner and the Brain Trust are slated for 6 p.m., where they'll be performing with rapper and Posner friend Big Sean. Sean's signing to Kanye West's G.O.O.D Music label and, more recently, Island Def Jam make him one of hip-hop's up-and-coming talents; his unreleased full-length debut, Finally Famous, is said to feature West as well as superstars Pharell and The-Dream. Students should make a point on LDOC of catching him live before he blows up.
The hotly anticipated set from DJ/mash-up master Girl Talk, aka Gregg Gillis, will follow Posner and Sean. Girl Talk's last two LPs, 2006's Night Ripper and 2008's Feed the Animals, have catapulted the former biomedical engineer to widespread acclaim. His exhaustive, enthusiastic live show hasn't hurt either; Gillis is known for bringing the crowd on-stage and stripping down to his boxers over the course of his dance-party performance. His style centers around stringing together samples on the fly, making for a spontaneous and streamlined experience.
At 7:45 p.m., concertgoers will see a slight change of pace, with rap-rock outfit Gym Class Heroes scheduled to perform. The group is fronted by 6'5" MC Travis McCoy, who until recently dated songstress Katy Perry. The group is best known for "Cupid's Chokehold," their 2006 single, which reached as high as No. 4 on Billboard's Hot 100 and features Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy. Stump, a frequent collaborator, produced much of 2008's The Quilt LP which saw the band branching out and embracing punk and '80s influences in addition to their hip-hop and alternative roots.
The grand finale arrives at 9:15 p.m., when singer-songwriter Ben Folds, one of the Triangle's most famous musical products, headlines the day. Folds got his start in a band called Majosha that won Duke's Battle of the Bands way back in 1988, and his revered Ben Folds Five formed in Chapel Hill in 1994. Since then, Folds has made a name for himself as part of the misleadingly named three-piece and, after its break-up in 2000, as a solo artist. Folds is known for his unique brand of emotional, piano-heavy alt-rock, and his six solo releases have made him one of music's foremost champions of the everyman. Expect a nostalgiic reaction from the large proportion of Duke's student body that grew up with Folds' suburban anthems.
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