Lights flashed onstage in the HUB patio as the crowd looked up with wide-eyed amazement. On the screen, bright white letters sparkled and faded out, spelling out letters: “P,” “R” and “T”. Soon enough, the audience caught on, as was evident by groups of friends screaming in unison and couples growing jittery with excitement.
“Porter! Porter! Porter!” A mellow buzz flowed from the speakers as a silhouette stepped onto the stage and took the booth. UCR’s final performer on the EDM stage, Porter Robinson, looked out at all the people before him. Spectators squeezed tight next to each other right in front of the stage and stretched all the way back across the dining area, up the lawn and stacked themselves against Coffee Bean. What happened next was nothing short of an explosive, delicious and phenomenal set.
His electro-house music delivered heart-pumping energy to ecstatic fans, who jumped up and down the entire time, yet it was balanced with fading that was easy to fall into. Every time his mix fizzled out, the crowd wanted more. Porter Robinson took the audience through a rollercoaster of ups and downs, never letting the audience linger for too long before he drove up the music and took them through climax after climax.
Richard Nguyen, a third-year mechanical engineering major, was one spectator who stayed throughout the entire set. “The sounds he uses are very, very hard,” he said. “He can capture the euphoria in the songs while still having a hard-hitting set. There’s chemistry to it.”
Nguyen’s favorite moment during the entire performance was when he heard, “My name is Porter Robinson, and I’m never going to release this track.” When he saw Porter Robinson at I.D. Fest in San Diego in August, Nguyen said that this was a tradition: to play an exclusive live track for his fans that he never intends on releasing to the general public, with a little precursor that drives the audience wild with anticipation. “In the whole EDM scene, Porter Robinson is a really big name. He’s as big as David Guetta or Steve Aoki or Afrojack.”
Shayan Amiri, a fourth-year biology major, found Porter Robinson’s flexibility during his set “pretty respectable.” Amiri believes what separates Robinson from other DJ’s is that he isn’t afraid to get flexible, switching back and forth from dubstep to trance. When asked if Robinson was his main reason for attending Heat this year, he replied, “Oh yeah, definitely.”
“I’ve been listening to his music for almost two years and I’ve seen him improve,” said Nguyen, who was grateful for his campus bringing such a well-known artist to Heat. “As a big fan of EDM, UCR impressed me a lot,” he said.
“With artists like Porter Robinson, UCR is moving in a certain direction,” said Amiri. “The school is up and coming, and our events are starting to get on a different level.”