Leo Yue / The Highlander

The unexpected delay to in-person instruction at the beginning of winter quarter created a whirlwind of gloomy emotions for students across campus. Yet, UCR shined brightly once again the second ASPB announced their yearly Winter Soulstice, a smooth R&B concert that had an incredible lineup this year. 

The event itself started in the early morning when many people woke up at the crack of dawn to get their hands on the wristbands that would permit their entry. As expected, several students lined up hours before doors opened at 6 p.m. while ASPB members struggled to organize the lines that would enable check-in. At first it seemed like the members knew what to do, but as time slowly ticked to 5 o’clock, it was clear that there needed to be a bit more organization. Check-in was unfortunately delayed for a few minutes, but students were quick to scurry into the gated line that would soon lead them to an unforgettable night. 

thuy took the stage as the night’s first performer. Her unmatched attitude and soulful vocals introduced the audience to R&B melodies. The Bay Area artist took the opportunity to explain the significance of her songs, including “chances” which shows how some people give too many chances to those who don’t deserve it. Many audience members were thrilled once they heard the familiar tune and the venue was full of screams from practically everyone. The “I love you’s” for the young artist seemed to brighten her happy mood that she gracefully displayed as the night went on. thuy’s eloquent songs were often challenged by audience sing-offs, which she was sure to monitor to keep the energy up. Her song, “vapor rub” allowed the audience to be involved in the singing of this passionate performance. Her final performance of “wanted” also allowed the audience to sing their hearts out before as the artist ended her performance with a bang. 

Yeek, an imaginative and genre-bending artist later took the stage. His name was chanted by audience members as the artist and his right-hand man, Kevin Halasan, set up. Yeek was very quick to engage with the audience, especially when his songs drove him to break out his very funky moves all over the stage. His performance was unfortunately interrupted at various times, but Yeek continued to communicate with the audience to lessen any anxiety over the brief emergency where a student needed medical aid. 

Aside from the couple of technical difficulties, Yeek repeatedly livened the audience. His upbeat song “Shake” led him to encourage a mosh pit that caused a bit of disturbance for students who were near the front of the stage. As Yeek jumped off the stage to sing closely to his beloved fans, several people were pushed towards the gate that separated the artist from his fans. The sudden disturbance led ASPB members to repeatedly tell the audience to step back, yet there was barely any movement as the next performer was getting ready for their explosive performance. 

The two time Grammy award winner’s name was chanted by the audience, welcoming his highly anticipated performance. As this year’s headliner, Thundercat illuminated the stage with his cheeky personality and smooth vocals. The second his fingers strummed the strings to his guitar, his facial expressions highlighted the passion that he felt for his music. The audience swayed to his rhythmic beats as he steadily calmed the entire ambiance of the venue. 

Accompanied by keyboardist DOMi and drummer Justin Brown, the duo perfectly synced with Thundercat’s enigmatic vibe. Their quick beats made everyone bob their heads even as soft droplets of rain fell down. The unexpected invitation of drummer JD Beck hyped the audience up, especially when Beck displayed their outstanding drumming skills. The entire scene felt ethereal in a way as the lights cascaded over the artists. 

Thundercat’s song “Overseas” welcomed the audience into a swoon-worthy mood that could easily make anyone sway. His light voice and passion settled within the hearts of his fans who sang to his lyrics. His most well-known piece, “Funny Thing” ended the night vibrantly. His unmatched energy transferred into the audience who weren’t ready to say their goodbyes. 

When asked about their overall experience, a student said “that the artists were really great at interacting with the audience” and how several “ASPB members were great at reacting and helping” the crowd once an emergency arose. As a senior, they felt that “it was the perfect way to let go and have fun right before the stress of finals hit.” 

Verdict: Winter Soulstice 2022 certainly lived up to its heightened anticipation. Although there could have been more organization at the beginning of the event, the overall performances made everyone forget about the cold and enjoy a soothing experience with hypnotic artists.