Ludacris to perform at A&O Ball

Updated April 8, 9 p.m.

Rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges will perform at Patten Gym for the annual A&O Ball on April 24, A&O Productions announced Wednesday.

This year’s event will most likely sell out, said Forrest Wickman, A&O’s director of concerts. Although fewer than 70 NU students list Ludacris as one of their favorite artists on Facebook, Wickman said he is not concerned whether students will turn out for the concert.

“We think every student has heard at least 10 different hits of his,” the Weinberg senior said. “He’s been unavoidable for the last 10 years – students will be excited to hear all the songs they’ve been dancing to for years.”

In 2006, Ludacris came to Northwestern for an HIV/AIDS awareness event sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement and the HIV/AIDS Literacy Organization.

Although more than 300 students were invited to the CSI/HALO event, only about half attended.

Still, Ludacris’ popularity and diversity of music made him an obvious choice, Wickman said.

“We decided on him because he’s an award-winning actor and Grammy-winning artist and he’s been one of the biggest names in hip-hop for as long as we’ve been listening to hip-hop,” he said. “Although Mayfest has brought hip-hop artists in the past, A&O hasn’t brought one recently so we’re excited to add diversity to our programs.”

Tickets will go on sale on the Norris Box Office Web site at 10 a.m. on April 15 for undergraduates; any remaining tickets will be available April 16 for all of the NU community. Tickets will cost $15 and students will be able to purchase two tickets per NetID.

Despite students’ complaints about the Norris Box Office online ticketing system, A&O Chairwoman Syd Cohen said the organization was satisfied with the service when it was used to sell tickets to Demetri Martin’s performance in February.

“It was created as a direct response to a majority of students saying they needed a better way to get tickets and that waiting in line wasn’t the best option for them,” the Music senior said. “The administration worked in response to that, and A&O feels it’s the best answer.”

Although A&O would not release the number of tickets that will go on sale Wednesday, more tickets will be released later when the event’s staging is determined, Cohen said.

The doors will open at 7 p.m. and the concert will start at 8 p.m. Two hip-hop bands will open the show: The Knux, an up-and-coming hip-hop artist from New Orleans, and another artist yet to be named, Wickman said.

“(The Knux) are exciting in part to their musical innovation and the fact that they play their own instruments,” he said. “They’re often considered to be a slightly nerdier brand of hip-hop but they still like to have fun. We think that’s a perfect fit for NU.”

Many students said they were surprised at A&O’s choice of performer since past A&O performers have included bands such as the New Pornographers, My Morning Jacket, Wilco and Counting Crows.

“We are Northwestern – why the heck is he coming here?” said McCormick freshman Neal Ehardt. “He’s a big shot rapper – shouldn’t he be performing at major venues?”

Ehardt said even though he was excited, he didn’t know how other students would react.

“This is great for me,” he said. “But I don’t know if the rest of the student population shares my appreciation of Luda.”

This will be Cohen’s last show as A&O chairwoman.

“My first production that I did was a hip-hop artist,” she said. “I find working with hip-hop artists and seeing them perform is really thrilling. I’m excited to bring it full circle and have both artists as bookends of my career with A&O.”

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