UCSB students seeking a little girl-on-girl action found some last night in the Hub, as Russian pop sensation t.A.T.u. brought its danceable hits from Russia with love.
The “are they or aren’t they lesbian” – they’re not, by the way – Russian duo, comprised of Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova, has released several albums in English and Russian, and became a sensation in the United States several years ago with their catchy Europop sound, racy videos and supposed relationship.
Currently, the band is awaiting the release of its third English album, Waste Management, which will likely coincide with the premiere of their feature film, “Finding t.A.T.u.” starring Mischa Barton.
Last night’s show marked the band’s first-ever headlining concert in the United States. In an interview following the show, Katina said they were initially nervous, but then were swept up by the crowd’s enthusiasm.
“When we get on the stage, we feel this energy, and we want to give back that energy,” Katina said.
Both ladies said they loved playing at UCSB and were amazed by the Santa Barbara area.
“I today came first time [sic] [to SB] and looked around and said, ‘Oh my God, people live here?'” Volkova said. “It’s so beautiful!”
Students arrived at the Associated Students ticket office as early as 6 a.m. yesterday – playing chess and Sudoku to pass the time – in order to receive one of the 800 tickets doled out at 10 a.m. for the free show.
During their hour-long performance, put together by the UCSB Russian Club and co-sponsored by A.S. Finance and Program Boards, the Europop sensations dazzled the at-capacity Hub with a set list that included selections from their most popular hits such as “All the Things She Said” and “Not Gonna Get Us,” as well as a series of new songs.
The doors opened at 9 p.m., and although t.A.T.u. did not grace the stage until about 10:30 p.m, students were treated to a DJ set of popular techno beats.
The moment the duo emerged from backstage, the attendees surged forward as cries of “you’re hot” emanated from both sexes.
A Euro club atmosphere reigned throughout the night, as t.A.T.u. performed its most danceable songs, even accompanied by strobe lighting at one point to drive the crowd further into a t.A.T.u.-induced frenzy.
The band spent little time on banter between songs, but showed the crowd its love by frequently saying “thank you” and revealing that they plan to return to the U.S. for future concerts.
t.A.T.u.’s last performance in the U.S. was in 2003 at the MTV Music Awards. UCSB Russian Club Treasurer Corinne Seals, who helped organize the event, said the band requested a small venue in order to create an atmosphere of a European nightspot.
“They wanted something that was a club environment,” Seals said.
Elizabeth Felix, a second-year electrical engineering major, said she had not slept for almost two days in anticipation for the show. Felix, the first person in line for the performance, said she has been a fan of the group for more than six years.
“They have such a cool sound,” Felix said. “I don’t know how you get that high-pitched voice, but believe me, I’ve tried.”
According to Katina, UCSB students lucky enough to have t.A.T.u.’s songs run through their heads for the night had a more intimate look into the lives of the pop stars.
“All of our songs are favorites [to perform], because we’re singing about our feelings, our problems,” Katina said. “Every song is part of us.”