Your Guide to A&O Blowout 2013: Grouplove and Childish Gambino

This Friday, October 11, A&O Productions is bringing Grouplove and Childish Gambino to Northwestern’s own Welsh-Ryan Arena. Sticking to its tried and true “indie band opener + solo hip-hop artist headliner” combination (see: 2011’s Matt & Kim and Lupe Fiasco, 2012’s Young the Giant and Nas), this year’s Blowout promises to be a super high-energy show that students of all musical tastes will enjoy.

If you’re not already a fan of one or both of the artists and are suddenly scrambling to familiarize yourself with their greatest hits in an effort to fit in with the hardcore fans, have no fear! Here’s all you need to know about each performer to prepare for the concert, best if read while shuffling through their respective Spotify pages. But don’t worry about having every lyric memorized by Friday – whether or not you know “Ways to Go” and “Bonfire” by heart, with two such talented and exciting acts it’ll basically be impossible not to enjoy the show!

Grouplove: This indie pop group, consisting of Hannah Hooper, Christian Zucconi, Sean Gadd, Ryan Rabin and Andrew Wessen, was formed in 2009 during an artists’ retreat in Crete. Their single “Tongue Tied” was featured in a 2011 iPod commercial, which, as is usually the case, caused a massive surge in the band’s popularity: the song was later certified Platinum, covered on Glee and used in a Coca-Cola commercial. Grouplove’s most recent album, “Spreading Rumours,” was released on September 17 of this year, and “Ways to Go,” the first single off the album, has already found great success on the US Alternative chart. They have toured with artists like Florence + the Machine, Joy Formidable and Foster the People. Other similar artists include Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire and The Pixies. Take a listen to their two biggest hits, but don’t overlook lesser-known yet equally irresistibly catchy and fun tunes like “Naked Kids” and “Schoolboy.”

Childish Gambino: One day, Donald Glover, who you may know as a stand-up comedian, writer for 30 Rock or actor on Community, put his name into a Wu-Tang Clan name generator, and Childish Gambino was born (I’m now going by Slumbering Pierrot, find your new name here!). Glover started self-producing mixtapes and full-length albums packed with his signature pop culture reference- and sex joke-filled nerdy-cool rhymes in 2008. He released “Camp,” his first album on a major record label, in 2011, and recently revealed via Twitter that he has officially completed his next album. Like his opener, Childish Gambino was also thrust somewhat into the mainstream after his song “Freaks and Geeks” was used in an Adidas commercial. He has been featured on tracks with Leona Lewis, Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, Heems from Das Racist and many others. You may have already heard his latest single “Heartbeat” but make sure you check out his cover of “Rolling in the Deep” and older songs like “I Be On That,” in which he references everything from Dunder Mifflin to Kermit the Frog to Sandra Bullock.