Designed in part as an alternative, safe event for Deltopia weekend, AS Program Board presented “The Warm Up,” Vol. IV, an impressive concert with popular artists in UCSB’s own Thunderdome on Saturday night. This year’s concert highlighted Vince Staples and featured Baauer.
Vince Staples, 24, is a California-born rapper who started his career in 2010 dazzling listeners with his striking talent, mesmerizing cadence, and incredible narratives. He has collaborated with rappers Mac Miller (in the album Stolen Youth), Mike G and Earl Sweatshirt (in Odd Future), and Aston Matthews and Joey Fatts (in the band Cutthroat Boyz.) Perhaps most famously, his hit single “BagBak” plays in the trailer for Marvel Studios’ 2018 film, “Black Panther.”
Specializing in dance, techno, and electro music, Baauer, 28, is most famous for producing and mixing 2012’s “Harlem Shake,” which received awards for both Dance Song of the Year and EDM Song of the Year at the 2013 Billboards Music Awards. From the opposite coast, Baauer was born in Philadelphia and has been experimenting with music since he was 13. He has worked with other famous artists such as Jay-Z and M.I.A.
Unfortunately, the students’ opinion seemed to be that Vince Staples was not the ideal choice for “The Warm Up” as he was not famous enough. Despite the 30-minute line to get inside and the thousands of people that attended the UCSB-only event, hundreds left early. The audience appeared significantly bigger for Baauer’s performance than it did for the main event.
Third year, chemical engineering major Kirk Jensen who attended the show said, “Baauer was pretty lit, but Vince Staples probably wasn’t big enough to be a headliner.”
Adam Kodor, an economics and accounting major, said, after the concert, “It was alright. It was what you expected from an EDM show.” He also agreed that much of the disappointment with the concert stemmed from unfamiliarity with Staples’ catalog.
Another general consensus emerged that the event did not in any way discourage people from participating in Deltopia — as the parties during the day generally ended at 6 p.m. in accordance with the County’s “Festival Ordinance” noise ban, while the concert did not begin until 9:45 p.m.
The day’s worth of partying only caused people to leave the concert early. One student suggested that if Associated Students actually wanted the concert to lure people away from Deltopia activities, then they would have to schedule it during the day.
Nonetheless, the concert provided an entertaining Electronic Dance Music (EDM) concert complete with state-of-the-art production value, characterized by intensely colorful lighting, synchronized strobes, fog machines, and music at deafening volumes from massive speakers. The audience was so large (and I suppose the stage so small — or I, so short) that I never actually got to see Baauer or Staples, but I have good reason to believe that they were actually there.
Baauer mixed some of his own work with other popular songs, including his hit “Harlem Shake.” After an extended build up, the crowd went wild at the song’s “drop.” Baauer’s music and accompanying lighted visuals were upbeat and intoxicating, appealing better to college dancers and partiers than the more pensive Vince Staples. His show ran for an hour, after which revelers were disappointed he had to leave.
Next, Staples hit the stage. Staples addressed the specific, UCSB audience many more times than Baauer, to which the college students went crazy. His music was fun but not as recognizable. No one could sing along to much of it. His performance was also weakened by awkward transitions between songs and, oftentimes, outright cessations of music. He is clearly talented, however, since his live performance sounded nearly as good as his pre-recorded songs.
Despite a few setbacks, UCSB students enjoyed “The Warm Up” concert that their school cared to provide them. It was a large event which generated considerable hype. It enticed students to practice safer partying — by banning alcohol and drugs inside — but still gave them an outlet to dance, socialize, and relax, perhaps at the cost of their eardrums rather than their livers.