The ‘Next Big Thing’ at Spring Weekend

The Scoop on Up-And-Coming Bands at MIT on Saturday

Man, don’t you wish you could have been at South by Southwest (SXSW) last month? While you were sitting in class, the Next Big Things were stamping out names for themselves, playing free shows in backyards at all hours of the day. Yeah, SXSW, the focal point of the entire music industry, is a pretty friggin’ sweet deal for any music fan.

Fortunately, the Student Activities Office (SAO) and WMBR are bringing some of the biggest buzz-makers of SXSW to campus for the Spring Weekend Festival. From noon to seven on Saturday, you can find +/- (plus/minus), The Harlem Shakes, CaUSE Co-MOTION!, and a host of other quality musical offerings on the far side of Kresge Auditorium. And unlike those other lame college Spring Fests, this one is free and open to the public. Read on for a full preview of the bands performing.

Supa Dupa, MIT — noon

A merry troupe of MIT students who play gypsy-tinted pop songs. Their originals are infectious, and a short list of their (always well-done) covers give you an idea of their sound — Neutral Milk Hotel, Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens.

Bustin Timberfakes, Boston — 1 p.m.

They cover Justin Timberlake songs. Live, with a full band. Get your sexy on.

Space Faces, ex-MIT, VNR — 2 p.m.

Comprised of MIT graduates Katherine E. Dalis ’05, Dugan K. Hayes ’08, and James Sannino ’07, Space Faces are no stranger to the MIT music scene. They ride the edge of noise, but never lose track of an underlying rock sensibility.

Sleepyhead, Boston, Slumberland/Homestead/Sealed Fate — 3 p.m.

Sleepyhead was part of the early-90s reinvigoration of underground pop music in the States. They’ve been putting out essential albums of catchy and melodic pop-rock for 20 years, and their influence is all over one of the biggest hits among the rock community this year, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. They’re great, they’re important, and they’re playing right here at MIT.

Cause Co-Motion!, NYC, Slumberland Records — 4 p.m.

Really, deep down, what is a pop song? Its all about the hook, man. caUSE co-MOTION! take this to the extreme — they find a hook, ride it for a minute and change, then jump ship before you get sick of it. Sounds simple, but it’s a powerful formula. If you wanna do the sounds-like thing, imagine the Boy’s Don’t Cry-era Cure (before Robert Smith became a zombie or goth or whatever), but recorded in a bathroom.

The Harlem Shakes, NYC, Gigantic Music — 5 p.m

The blogs are aflutter for the Harlem Shakes, in a way they haven’t been since their scene-mates and past tour-mates, Vampire Weekend, hit it big. Truth be told, they share a lot of similarities with last year’s sensation — African-infused and catchy-as-hell. Go to their MySpace page and listen to “Nothing But Change Part II,” and you’ll be hooked. The Village Voice, which is the newspaper of record for music review, declared them a top NYC act, and Rolling Stone and Pitchfork have both sung their praises.

+/-, New York City, Absolutely Kosher Records — 6 p.m

These guys are best known for their track “All I Do,” otherwise known as that song in the movie Wicker Park, but have put out four records which have been well received by critics. They fuse the beeps and boops of electronica with an indie rock structure, making them pioneers of a great genre with a terrible name — indietronic. +/- is fronted by James Baluyut, who was the lead guitarist for seminal 90s indie rock band Versus (check them out if you haven’t). Chris Deaner, their drummer, is the touring drummer for Kelly Clarkson, although I am pretty sure they won’t be playing “Since U Been Gone.”

Also, they are total rock stars in Japan and Taiwan. Seriously, they’re huge.