University Productions announced that its fall Block Party event will feature performers Griz and Vic Mensa. The event will take place at 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2 during homecoming weekend as part of Lehigh’s sesquicentennial year celebration.
The Block Party is a full weekend of events hosted by Zoellner Arts Center and when planning the fall concert, University Productions felt that the Friday evening of the weekend was their best opportunity to put on an event for students during the semester.
“UP is constantly re-evaluating how we want to deliver music entertainment to campus and this year the block party is the strongest opportunity we had,” said Ross Camiel, the director of concerts for UP. “Zoellner is a fantastic organization to be partnering with, and we hope to continue working with them on future events”.
Last year University Productions brought Chance the Rapper and Sweater Beats to Stabler Arena in the fall through the Verge Campus Tour, and Big Sean to ArtsQuest for QUEST in the spring.
This year’s show will take place outside of Zoellner Arts Center on the Tamerler Courtyard — the quad between Rauch and Zoellner — under a 1,000 person tent. This will provide students with an entirely different experience. According to Minni Kim, co-executive director of concerts for UP, the outdoor venue played a major role in determining what type of music to bring for the fall concert.
“We recognize the importance of balancing different genres in accordance with Lehigh’s tastes… We also consider the context of the concert itself: an outdoor, night concert is a very unique opportunity to provide a very high energy, festival vibe to our own campus,” he said. “Based on these factors, we chose two extremely talented and trending names in the hip-hop and electronic world.”
Griz is an electronic funk producer based out of Colorado, known for doing something a little different than most electronic DJs today. While keeping true to electronic music’s heavy bass element, Griz is also an expert saxophonist and adds an element of live sax to every set. He is known for collaborations with various artists including The Floozies, Talib Kweli and Gramatik. Aside from his unique live music, Griz is also known for his energy on stage.
Vic Mensa, on the other hand, is a young hip-hop artist from Chicago who has commonly been compared to Lehigh’s fall performer, Chance the Rapper, as a result of his soulful sound. However, lately Mensa’s sound has developed to something with more of a darker rock influence, signifying the artist’s new direction. Though Mensa has yet to release a debut album, he has already collaborated with major artists such as Kaytranada, Chance the Rapper and even Kanye West. Mensa also toured with Disclosure in 2013-14.
University Productions felt the need to bring a variety of musical genres for the show, but also wanted to ensure that both acts had sounds similar enough to fit together smoothly.
“As a committee, we felt that we were covering two extremely popular genres for college students while also making sure the show as a whole was a coherent vibe,” Kim said. “We didn’t want to have two artists whose sound conflicted, so that fans of one artist would not enjoy the other artist performing.”
Camiel guaranteed that if nothing else, students could expect a high energy experience with both artists bringing strong stage presences and performances, with Kim referring to it as “the most exciting show that Lehigh has seen in years, even more so than Big Sean.”
University Productions is known for bringing artists to Lehigh who are talented, underground artists on the plethora of breaking into the mainstream. This is made evident with past performers such as, now major hip-hop star Wiz Khalifa. As a result, it is common for some students to be unfamiliar with these performers before the show, but to hear about them after.
For students unfamiliar with Griz or Vic Mensa, UP has created a SoundCloud playlist featuring the most important songs from both artists.
Student tickets go on sale Sept. 14 at 4 p.m. for $10 each and can be purchased at: upblockparty.eventbrite.com.