Andy Knox, Incoming A&E Editor
Extravaganza, the Associated Students (AS) Program Board’s annual mini-music festival, gave students four concerts this year at Harder Stadium. The guest list — featuring Valentino Khan, Audrey Nuna, Dayglow, and A$AP Ferg — makes it no surprise that Extravaganza is consistently one of the most anticipated events of the school year. Though anticipators got their reward in a great performance at the end, the event was far from living up to expectations.
The aspects that most accurately sum up Extravaganza 2022 were weak organization and embarrassingly poor execution. With those reporting on the event having been let in 15 minutes before the planned 1 p.m. door opening, I was surprised to see the gates only begin to open around 1:35 p.m. Though the organizers shifted the blame of each failure to ambiguous “technical difficulties,” the fact that the basic sound check did not even begin until the time that the event was supposed to open to the public makes AS Program Board’s definition of the term quite liberal. For the organizers, “technical difficulties” translated less from “technological malfunctions” and more to, “the crew started late late and thought the technology was difficult.”
After an hour-long set by a warm-up DJ as the crowd filed in, they announced that Audrey Nuna could not come on, again due to “technical difficulties.” Though a speaker assured the audience that this was not the performer’s fault, the fact that the microphone was demonstrated to be perfectly functioning as well as the DJ’s setup raised eyebrows. How much of these “technical difficulties” was actually the unwillingness to adapt to the slightest difficulties, whether it be the organizers or the artist?
Valentino Khan’s performance was a mixed bag. A dance pop DJ with a goofy image, he came onto the stage with a lot of energy — dancing, smiling, and fist pumping. Though a skilled DJ and who appeared to be having a great time early on, Khan rarely kept the crowd’s hands in the air for more than ten seconds after a bass drop, whose buildups seemed to get progressively shorter throughout his hour-long set. Though he adapted well with time, he seemed disappointed that the crowd was by far much more responsive when he played minimally-edited nostalgic hits like “All I Do is Win” and “Thotiana,” than when he was improvising. Judging by the reactions of both the crowd and the DJ, who seemed to be forcing his smiles and fist pumps by the end, one hour was more than enough.
After Khan’s set was finished, the hour-long wait for anyone to come back onstage made it clear that the organizers had no backup plan and did not intend to improvise. When indie pop sensation Dayglow came on, however, the band washed away the bad vibes with their warm, fuzzy, happy music. Lead singer, Sloan Struble, who is the same age as many of the attending students, gave the impression that he was a normal guy happy to be here. Though there was a bit of off-pitch singing during a few verses, Dayglow’s appeal was much more about providing an uplifting vibe than musical perfection, and Sloan rolled with any and all punches in stride. He had fun interacting with the crowd, and a good time was had by all.
Sadly, the technical difficulties had one last hurrah after Dayglow, with A$AP Ferg’s minimal setup — needing just a DJ with a controller, two microphones, and his own presence, his set up still took up a whopping 45 minutes to complete. Regardless, his performance was stellar. Ferg began his performance by announcing that the crowd was currently at a 6, and his goal was to bring it to a 10. He brought intense, hype energy with each performance and tried to teach the relatively inexperienced crowd how to mosh between each song, prodding the more timid current generation to go wild. His DJ was a perfect wingman, smoothly filling in for him when he ran out of breath and spinning some exciting music when Ferg announced his intent to high-five as many audience members as he could. While Dayglow was a great performance for who they were, Ferg was the first artist to bring out the crowd’s dormant energy. People moshed, jumped, danced, and paid attention like Valentino Khan had tried and failed to get them to do.
While Dayglow was good and A$AP Ferg was amazing, the event as a whole was an embarrassment for the school and the event’s organizers. Nebulous “technical difficulties” and the lack of a backup plan made the event closer to a disaster than a success.