Thousands of students and visitors packed into Harder Stadium Saturday to hear the hip hop beats and unique trance rhythms featured at the 31st annual UCSB Extravaganza concert.
The free event — hosted by Associated Students Program Board — featured rap sensation Drake, who performed with special guest Birdman. Indie sensations Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as well as Soul Minded, Super Mash Bros. and Chromeo also rocked Harder Stadium.
[media-credit id=20037 align=”alignleft” width=”166″][/media-credit]Despite encountering a few production problems, A.S. Program Board Deputy Commissioner Jillanne Porter, a fourth-year communication major, said this year’s concert was a success.
“Last year’s acts were more mainstream, but this year we went with more up-and-coming artists,” Porter said. “I think all the artists performed well.”
Drake’s performance, which included his hits “Best I Ever Had” and “Bedrock,” received mixed reviews from attendees. “Drizzy” Drake — as fans know him — spent much of his time onstage advocating for the release of fellow rapper Lil Wayne, who is serving a prison sentence after his July 2007 conviction of possessing illegal firearms.
Mona Saghri, a second-year political science major, said she enjoyed Drake’s performance but was disappointed that he did not play his hit song “Forever.”
“He was better than I expected him to be,” Saghri said. “I liked that he engaged with the crowd and it was awesome when he came onstage wearing a UCSB sweater.”
The rap star raised eyebrows when he put the moves on one lucky fan during his performance. After calling the girl up to the stage, Drake kissed her on the neck and forehead and proceeded to serenade her with a love ballad.
Mickey Lapidus, a third-year psychology major, said he was not impressed with Saturday’s headliner.
“Drake is cool, but I like his music when I’m dancing in the club, not at an outdoor concert,” Lapidus said.
Alternative folk band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros drastically changed the atmosphere about halfway through the concert with their hit song “Home.”
Unfortunately, much of their performance was marred by sound issues due to malfunctioning microphones.
UCSB band Soul Minded performed a number of the laid-back, soulful songs that won them A.S. Program Board’s 2010 Battle of the Bands. Four of the band’s six members are current UCSB students, while one of the musicians graduated last year.
Following Soul Minded, mash-up trio Super Mash Bros. took the stage, mixing modern radio hits with classic pop songs.
The last act before Drake closed out the show was the Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo, whose performance included an eclectic mix of guitar, vocals, synthesizer and a talk box.
A.S. Program Board has been organizing Extravaganza since 1980. Previous acts in recent years have included Ludacris, Nas, Busta Rhymes, Jack Johnson, No Doubt, Girl Talk, Cold War Kids and T.I.