UC Riverside’s annual Heat Music Festival continued this year with an incredibly successful show featuring eclectic and highly acclaimed musicians. Three different stages provided ample options for a variety of musical tastes.
The Highland Stage opened with a lively performance by Santa Barbara-based band Iration, who are known for blending reggae, dub and rock. First-year Kaley Pringle-Haymons said that Iration was the artist she enjoyed most. “It was so fun and lively. Heat is very entertaining, and I’m definitely going to come again,” she said. While Iration played on the Highland Stage, Secret Panda Society, a dubstep group, played at the Southland stage. They engaged with audience members by throwing panda masks into the crowd. Individuals could be seen wearing the masks for the rest of the evening.
One of the most anticipated performers of the evening was Mac Miller. Miller, born Malcolm McCormick, rose to fame quite quickly despite being only 20 years old. The crowd heard him before they saw him—the stage was dark when he began rapping and once he built momentum, the beat dropped, the lights turned on and he appeared on stage. Miller proved to be skilled at engaging the audience, who jumped and fist pumped to his music. He said, “This is why events like this are the shit. Y’all (sic) work and study all week and when the weekend comes you just wanna get fucked up!” A crowd favorite was his song, “The Spins,” which sampled music from Empire of the Sun’s “Half Mast.” Though the crowd loved Mac Miller’s performance, it was often difficult to understand what he was saying or rapping. He seemed to graze over his lyrics and he sped through the music. Miller’s energy alone was what redeemed his performance.
Meanwhile, the sensational pop duo Karmin played at Southland Stage. Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonam have enjoyed a quick rise to success, and were recently featured on Saturday Night Live only a few weeks ago. They delivered a great performance with a unique sound that blended many genres-—pop, rap and electronic. Heidemann had an adorable personality on stage and the duo interacted well with each other, the audience and their fellow instrumentalists. After their performances, Amy and Nick spent a lot of time meeting their fans, signing autographs and taking pictures. Amy and Nick are engaged, and met at Berklee College of Music. They rose to fame through making covers and posting them on Youtube, and have appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as well as SNL.
Heat attendees were given a sneak peak from Karmin’s upcoming album. Amy Heidemann said, “Tonight was the first time we performed our album. You guys had the exclusive listen. Half of these songs no one has even heard of yet.” When commenting on the atmosphere of Heat and performing for UCR, Amy Heidemann said, “No other college does it like this. This is huge! We did a couple of performances at other universities, but it wasn’t like this.”
Nick Noonam spoke about how Karmin garnered attention through social media platforms, and for those out there hoping to be discovered he offered advice: “Don’t be cookie-cutter, post as much as you can, and make it quality posts—don’t just post for the sake of posting. But don’t be cookie-cutter. If you don’t have your own space clearly formed out yet, make it.” Nick Noonam commented that what makes Karmin unique was the fact that he raps. Karmin was definitely a friendly duo who went out of their way to add a personal touch to their performance.
Following Karmin’s performance, hip-hop group Chiddy Bang entered the Southland Stage. Most of the crowd at the Southland Stage had dispersed by the time Chiddy Bang took the stage, but those who remained enjoyed the performance. Chiddy Bang spent a fair amount of time freestyling. The duo is well known for creating songs that sample artists such as MGMT, Passion Pit and Radiohead.
Perhaps the most successful performance was delivered by The Airborne Toxic Event, a Los Angeles-based rock band who played at the Highland Stage from 10:50 to midnight. The band’s lead singer and songwriter, Mikel Jollett, had amazing stage presence. He truly connected with the audience. At on point he climbed onto one of the speakers, and at another point he jumped into the audience and began crowd surfing. Once he returned to the stage, Jolett threw water into the crowd, who loved all interactions with the lead singer. The playful and intimate relationship between the band members was clearly seen when they interacted with each other on stage.
The band also did not shy away from making political statements. At one point Jolett called out, “You’re either with us or against us. And I must say, when it comes to preemptive warfare, I’m against it.” The group played many of their songs including ones they’re most well known for, such as, “Changing” and “Sometime After Midnight.” Once they finished preforming and ran off stage, the crowd began chanting for an encore. Needless to say, the group did not disappoint—they returned to the stage at the crowd’s pleas. After they finished, they stayed until the crowds scattered, and made sure to meet every eager fan they could. Each of the band members took the time to speak, take pictures with and sign autographs for the students.
Heat is typically the most musically diverse out of the three UC Riverside music festivals, and draws in attendees from other campuses and the Inland Empire community. UC Riverside student Josh Katz said, “We like that people get to experience the campus through a really open, eclectic environment. Heat has something for everyone.”