It was hot, sweaty, and sinful in the Bren Events Center this past Friday, Oct. 16, 2009. The fourth annual Shocktoberfest was particularly successful this year, featuring performances from Shwayze and Gym Class Heroes, as well as a pre-show in which UC Irvine’s women’s and men’s basketball duked it out for the title of shoot out champion.
During the costume contest, where an incredible Optimus Prime won two tickets to Europe, the superhero anteater was about to slink offstage when her significant other surprisingly proposed. The crowd went wild with approval while Anteater girl turned red and humbly accepted, laughing and tearing up with excitement.
After much anticipation, Shwayze, sidekick—cum—singer Cisco Adler stormed the stage, clad in stock LA hipster apparel: Cisco in a fedora, maroon sweater with leather elbows, and homemade cutoff shorts, while Aaron opted for sunglasses and super tight skinny jeans. The two pumped up the crowd with new songs off of their upcoming album “Let it Beat” but fell slightly short, as attendees were somewhat oblivious to lyrics and unable to sing along. Classics like “Buzzin’” and “Corona and Lime” managed to excite many, and new tracks such as “Get U Home,” came with a solid performance, along with questionable but still funny input from the two performers. Both Adler and Jones kept the energy high, bouncing all over stage spitting verses fast and hard. Truly embodying the spirit of their white boy club banger hip-hop, the two were a cohesive opening act and fully prepped the congregation for the headliners: Gym Class Heroes.
Front man vocalist Travis McCoy, guitarist Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo, bassist Eric Roberts, drummer Matt McGiney, and some guy with an afro and a tambourine achieved what most artists strive for in a performance. The crowd was energetic throughout, the set was a coherent combination of the old, the new, and the unknown, the band looked as if they were truly having a good time on stage, and — much to the joy of many-a concertgoer — there was an encore.
In addition to popular jams like “Cupid’s Chokehold” (which was preceded by a quick a-capella version of Sam Cooke’s “Cupid”), GCH also chose to feature more unknown tracks such as “Viva La White Girl,” a shameless account of cocaine dreams in the music business. A rousing remake of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” managed to animate the slight number of students that knew what McCoy was actually singing.
Septum-pierced McCoy gave a particularly heartwarming account of his own educational experiences, urging students to do “whatever you want to do — on your own time!” before bursting into “On My Own Time,” the last song of the set.
After chants for an encore, GCH returned to the stage to sing their last hit, “Cookie Jar,” as massive multi-colored balloons appeared and bounced on the heads of crowd surfers and fired up concertgoers.
Despite severe opposition from security guards, some ASUCI affiliates and selected press got a chance to meet and take pictures with GCH, although a tired and sweaty McCoy seemed a bit hesitant to pose for photos.
This year’s Shocktoberfest stands in stark contrast to last year’s in more ways than one. First, this year’s lineup made sense, rather than 2008’s Matt Costa and Three Six Mafia show. Shwayze and Gym Class Heroes go somewhat hand in hand; those that are Shwayze fans will probably enjoy GCH, as both artists follow similar veins of music. Sleepy, guitarist Matt Costa was a strange and unexciting precursor for gangster Southern rappers Three Six Mafia, who were clearly completely inebriated throughout their entire set.
Instead, this year, both performers complemented each other, and created more than enough fun, thrilling energy that permeated throughout.Second, ASUCI assembled the show in a much more orderly, organized fashion. Starting early, ASUCI made sure that most aspects of the show went smoothly, and as a result, the overall feeling of the concert was more solid.
The show was an entertaining combination of school spirit, marriage surprises, Europe-bound Transformers, ridiculous costumes, crowd surfing, and the always important after party. ASUCI, Shwayze, and GCH demonstrated their unwavering ability in this year’s event, and we anxiously await an equally good, if not better, Shocktoberfest next year.