Courtesy of ASPB
Courtesy of ASPB

Hoodboi performs club rituals

As a member and co-founder of the LA-based music collective Athletixx, which also features producers Falcons, Kittens and Promnite, DJ Hoodboi brought the West Coast club scene’s signature aggressiveness to UCR. He delivered a live set that was at times both familiar and innovative, switching from Top 40 mixes and flips to his original productions: an amalgam of samples, stellar soundscapes, mind-numbing thumps and bass.
Hoodboi played to a relatively smaller crowd in comparison to the acts that came later on in the day.

Only about a quarter of the Little Hubana stage was filled in addition to the people scattered on the grass. However, that didn’t stop him from commanding the entire crowd to dance. When the bass dropped for each song, people raised their hands and began bouncing. Some people even formed circles off to the side in which others jumped in and started dancing. Even students chilling out on the sidelines couldn’t help but groove out.

As smoke plumed out of the machines above the HUB, Hoodboi unleashed bangers from his EP “Palm Reader” onto students who were gathered around the stage. But the tracks that really got the people going were the ones that took songs like Drake and Future’s “Jumpman” or Rae Sremmurd’s “No Flex Zone” and devolved them into bass heavy compositions that were dripping with a sense of urgency.

Taking cues from the booty-bounce music of Jersey club and the epic productions of artists like Lido and Cashmere Cat, Hoodboi was able to deliver on every single track. He hit the marks that every good producer would hope to, dropping the bass at just the right moment and sending the crowd into an undulating frenzy. Anyone twerking or tutting along to his music was sure to have needed some water and a break after his 45-minute set was over.

Joseph Avila, Senior Staff Writer

Vince Staples’ Spring Splash set left fans thirsty for more

Let’s play a game. Pretend it’s early morning Saturday, May 7 and you’re asked the following: Is electricity visible? No, you say scathingly, of course not. Now, ask yourself the same question only it’s the early evening and Vince Staples just exited the Spring Splash stage. Your answer? Well shit, it might be.

Staples’ music may not have the commercial crossover appeal of headlining acts Ty Dolla $ign and Trey Songz (which likely explains his 4:30 p.m. set time). But believe me, that’s more than OK. What Vince — a “norfside” Long Beach native — has is an avid following, a collective of races, genders and ethnicities who share commonality in reciting even his most inconspicuous lyrics line-by-line and it was those who felt, and all who witnessed the current relayed by Vince’s charged 45-minute set to inaugurate the Miami stage.

As expected, booming tracks such as “Norf Norf,” “Blue Suede” and “Senorita” made it nearly impossible for one not to dance, jump or do whatever falls in between. Standing directly in the middle of the Spring Splash crowd, this became ever so clear.

Yet it was tracks like “Hands Up” and “Fire” — both of which preface his highly successful debut album, “Summertime ‘06” — which further invigorated the crowd. Sure, these verses drew distinction between the head-nodders and the avid listeners who could relay bar after bar, but choruses like “Ima prolly go to hell anyway” (from “Fire”) were impossible for anyone to resist repeating.

Like his music and persona, Staples’ performance prevails a sense of authenticity that is often quite comical. Vince simply, for all intents, keeps it real and not merely through his minimalistic plain white T-shirt, blue jeans and high-top Converse decor. Staples’ dialogue between tracks ranged from offering $500 for a fan to “sleep” the student who called Vince out on Twitter the night before (a tweet, which can be found here) and leading a “Fuck the police” chant while Riverside law enforcement looked on stageside.

Yet, akin to the rest of the evening that followed, it was all in good fun. Sure, the ovation levels varied throughout, but the set was strong, captivating and yes, electric. But, as Vince would (probably) respond to all of that, “who gives a fuck?”

Myles Andrews-Duve, Senior Staff Writer

Anna Lunoe plays luney tunes and traps the house

Coming fresh from a Cinco de Mayo show in El Paso, Texas, Anna Lunoe brought a blend of trap, hip-hop and deep house throughout her 45-minute set to warm up the crowd for RL Grime. Her set had people coming to the stage as the crowd danced its way to the front to get as close to RL Grime as possible, while taking in the positive vibes from the music she provided.

Mixing songs from Jauz, Drake and Big Sean, Lunoe brought a diverse set list as each song blended in perfectly with each other. Her deep house track “Stomper,” had the crowd vibing wildly, yet the image was tame compared to the mosh pits that would form throughout the next performer’s set.

The EDM stage this year arguably became more popular than the main stage, due to the popularity of artists such as DJ Snake, but also because of the fresh talent from DJs such as Lunoe. Compared to the bland indie-pop that played on the main stage during the set, Lunoe delivered plenty of fun moments for the crowd of about 300.

She stuck out for this reason, compared to the trap-heavy lineup that would follow on the Little Hubana stage, her variety brought a relief to the campus. There was enough trap to keep the audience amped while the deep house tunes kept the crowd from tiring out too quickly. Blending in a perfect balance between chill and ratchet, Lunoe kept the stage grounded before it would be torn up by the god that is RL Grime.

Aaron Grech, Senior Staff Writer

The Naked and Famous had their 15 minutes

The Naked and Famous, or, as they would be more aptly named, The Fully Clothed and Relatively Obscure, played the second set on the Miami stage at Spring Splash, their electronic-indie style serenading the twilight.

For the majority of their set, there was a shuffling crowd of about 200 near the stage, filled with all the staples of any UCR concert performance: people smoking poorly rolled blunts, girls holding each other and ugly crying and couples aggressively making out. Most of the people watching stayed away from the stage, standing near the Rockstar tent or on the benches near the Bell Tower, trying to simultaneously watch The Naked and Famous and RL Grime.

Their set, which started a few minutes after 5:30 p.m., was a nice foil to the noisy, chaotic mosh pit that was RL Grime’s set. They played a lot of their more obscure songs for the beginning of their set, the five of them constantly switching off instruments and splitting singing duties between lead singer Alissa Xayalith and guitarist Thom Powers. Aside from the few diehard fans that inevitably crowd their way toward the pit at every concert, many people in the audience, myself included, closed their eyes and swayed in place, this being the first time we’d heard any of these songs.

Things began to perk up toward the end of the set when the band performed “Higher,” a yet-unreleased track off the band’s upcoming album. Aside from the odd breaks that came with the guitarist having to switch guitars after every single song, the band kept up their post-“Higher” momentum for their final three songs: “Hearts Like Ours,” “No Way” and “Young Blood”: their most recognizable song. The audience was at its largest size throughout their final song, with many of the new arrivals crowding forward and yelling with impressive energy.

The loudest cheers of all came with the conclusion of “Young Blood,” leaving The Naked and Famous to leave the stage with smiles of satisfaction on their lips. I wondered though: Was the audience cheering for the conclusion of a successful set or the imminent arrival of Ty Dolla $ign?

Robert Lees, Senior Staff Writer

RL Grime delivers the raunch at Spring Splash 2016

I’m pretty sure I had a trap music spiritual journey for the hour that RL Grime was on the decks, and I wasn’t even in the mosh pit for the majority of it. This set perfectly encapsulated everything Spring Splash 2016 stood for: grimy, obnoxious and fucking lit. Though I had to take three showers in a row because of how dirty I felt afterward, this was the greatest performance I have seen in my four years at UCR.

The LA native performed a variety of his hits such as “Core” and “Aurora” while using hip hop tracks to transition between songs. Each drop was followed by an increase in energy with the crowd singing along as he blended quick R-and-B spots with his “Hills” remix between trap drops that would make our mothers ashamed on their holiday.

About midway through his set, Ty Dolla $ign got on top of RL Grime’s stage and smoked a blunt in front of the crowd as the DJ threw in another bass drop for one of the most iconic moments of the concert. This event blended in with the raunchiness of the evening as people in the audience kept flowing in or passing out from having too good of a time.

Each year the crowd at our music festivals has gotten more rowdy and the music contributed to this feeling. RL Grime’s set drew out the largest crowd I have ever seen at the HUB Stage with thousands of people crowding on the hills behind the HUB Plaza to catch a glimpse of this beautifully lit trap masterpiece.

In addition to the size, the audience was all over the place. Mosh pits developed across the plaza after each major drop. At one point I dropped my water bottle because the feeling was so intense. Despite the cloudy setting the plaza remained on fire which would’ve cancelled out any rain that the forecasters inaccurately predicted.

I apologize immediately for anyone who decided to see the one-hit wonder that is The Naked and Famous instead of RL Grime. You cannot say you attended Spring Splash 2016, because you didn’t. The thousands of people who showed up to the Little Hubana stage outnumbering the mere 200 on the mainstage can attest to this fact. This concert was with RL Grime, who brought the energy, while the crowd as his disciples brought in the debauchery to make this an unforgettable night that we won’t talk to mom about.

Aaron Grech, Senior Trap Writer

DJ Snake makes the audience turn down for what

As DJ Snake began his set as the sun began to set, the rowdy crowd did not fail to maintain their excitement for the French DJ. The extravagant energy drawn up during RL Grime’s performance prior was multiplied throughout the Little Hubana as more and more students flocked over to get a glimpse of one of the most anticipated performances of the night.

The cement steps and grass surrounding the Little Hubana were plastered with students wildly dancing along as the electronic music entered the air. Avoiding the deadly mosh pits that had swarmed the front and middle of the stage, my friend and I remained at the bottom of the steps to enjoy the flood of trap music we were about to further experience.

Toward the middle of the set, the guitar riffs of Oasis’ “Wonderwall” spilled into the welcoming ears of the audience. The scratchy vocals of the song brought the crowd back into the ‘90s intertwining the classic hit with a contemporary electronic spin. Swaying together and bobbing their hands up and down, students sang their hearts out along to the lyrics straight into the next song: Major Lazer’s “Lean On.”

A pixelated straight-faced emoji with sunglasses appeared on the screen as the music shifted into a sped-up and remixed version of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ classic “Heads Will Roll.” Smoke and rapidly flashing lights helped to emulate the rave-like atmosphere that many students desired. Rapidly repeating a quick steady beat, the song’s heavy stabs vibrated through the air.

The set ended with DJ Snake’s most recent hit “Middle,” as the sky hit nightfall. My friend and I looked at each other and sang along with the sad lyrics. The crowd become more hyped than ever and danced together rowdily. As the song sped up and the tune drew to a close, we mourned the end of the spectacular performance we had just witnessed. There was no doubt in our minds that this was one of the most lit performances of the night.

Ixia Johnson, Senior Staff Writer

Ty Dolla $ign rode the wave at Spring Splash

Give Ty Dolla $ign a mic, DJ and a stage and it’s free reign.

This was learned quickly as the LA-native jumped upon the main stage in mid-verse, hair flowing with mic in hand, simultaneously exhilarating and shredding the eardrums of the crowd. As for that latter part, it should not go understated. Ty’s microphone levels were turned all the way up, like beyond 11, to the point of inaudibility. Here’s the the thing, though: So was the crowd.

His performance was a continuous stream of autotune over hard-hitting bass and trickling hi-hats, ridden with hits aplenty. And if Ty got too loud, the audience was sure to match him. They yelled back as he wailed the chorus to “Long Time” and hits like “Saved” and “Or Nah” brought them to an uproar.

Throughout the performance, Ty wore many hats, veering between rapping, singing and even trying his hand at instrumentation as he ripped off a bass solo to close out the heartfelt track, “Stand For.” Oh, and he also surfed, launching his shirtless body into both the left and right sides of the unprepared crowd whilst still managing to croon out vocals.

Beneath hip-hop’s outwardly grating lyricism there is often a deeper, more fulfilling substance at the core. Ty embodies this. Underlining his sex-laden lyrics are motifs of success, motivation and self-empowerment. That is why he can tell a crowd of onlooking college students to work hard and live out their dreams before jumping into the provocative “Or Nah.” Why, in the midst of self-indulged weed smoke, he can preach that “consistency is the key” to our success.

There is a unique quality to Ty Dolla $ign’s appeal. In fact, it is just that: He is not overtly unique. His sound isn’t a progressive excavation through the trap soundscape, nor is his lyricism biting enough to challenge the widely held preconvictions of the genre. That’s fine, though. His music is intended for a good and — depending upon your whereabouts — often sensual time.

“I’m so wavy” is the oft-repeated line in (you guessed it) “Wavy,” and just as Ty rode along the clamoring hands of the raving crowd, the audience rode the wave of his every word during a performance which was as stirring and sensual as it was uplifting.

Myles Andrews-Duve, Senior Rap Writer

Songz dove into the audience’s hearts and made a splash

The long intermission before Trey Songz’s performance created unrest amongst the crowd, for Songz was the most anticipated act of Spring Splash. ASPB even closed the Little Hubana stage during this time because they knew that everyone would want to watch Songz at the Miami stage.

The wait only made the final performance even more exciting and when the first sign of Songz, which was his signature “Yup!” being echoed from the stage, finally arrived, the crowd burst into cheers.

Songz appeared on stage with a casual grey T-shirt and jeans (which went well with his friendly, amiable personality) and opened his set with “Foreign.” It talked about having sexual encounters with women of different nationalities and speaking to them through body motions.

The next song, “I Need a Girl,” was more representative of Songz’s style than “Foreign,” because it was sentimental and discussed finding a companion in someone he could connect with.

Based on the people who were singing, I could tell that most of Songz’s fans were females and the opening songs didn’t receive much reception from male audience members.

But something happened when “Dive In” played. Although the song had sexually charged lyrics, the tender vocals and slow beat made couples appear out of nowhere. All of a sudden, everyone was paired with a significant other and began to slow dance with their arms intertwined with one another.

Songz possessed a power in that he was the only performer who could show off vocal talent. After several of his songs, such as “I Invented Sex” and “Neighbors Know My Name,” he crooned some final words in highly varying pitches and tender vibrato. He put his emotions into his solos and I would argue he was the only singer of the night.

Initially I was having a mediocre time at Spring Splash because I didn’t know any of the other artists or their songs. But when Songz came up, I felt like I connected with everyone in the crowd; we sang along together and poured our feelings out in certain songs such as “Can’t Be Friends” and “Heart Attack.”

At the same time, there were also songs that were too catchy not dance to, even for the males, such as “Say Aah” and “Slow Motion.”

When people think back to Spring Splash 2016, I think they will remember Trey Songz the most because his set not only reached out to the audience’s emotions and romantic desires but also made everyone dance with vitality. He provided something for everyone at Spring Splash and everyone, at some point in the set, felt like they belonged.

Not only did Songz “dive in” to each of his female suitors, but he dove deeper inside each and every one of our hearts.
Jasmine Yamanaka, Staff Writer