When met by a whispered reply of “paar…ty…” from the audience, The People asked, “Y’all go to a university, right?” Such was the case for this year’s Wayzgoose. What The People Under the Stairs didn’t recognize was that they were playing at not just any university, but the University of California, Irvine, where any kind of audience response in a half-filled field should be seen as a form of encouragement.
The People Under the Stairs, the second act of headliner performers, bravely powered through the rest of its set, despite lackluster audience participation. From time to time, it would get a dozen or so excited fans to wave their left hands in the air, but the waves quickly faded, and eventually withered into a handful of students’ left hands frozen in the air in what looked more like a Heil Hitler salute than any token of musical appreciation.
The group’s performance actually represented the height of audience enjoyment for big-money acts at this year’s Wayzgoose. The one group that UCI really got into this year was KABA Modern, filling a 10-minute spot between The People Under the Stairs and Del tha Funky Homosapien. It became obvious that much of TPUTS’s audience was paying lip service to the rappers once KABA Modern was introduced.
For the duration of its very short performance, the UCI dance favorite showed its choreographed skills to the tune of all kinds of music, including Rage Against the Machine and Sublime. Although the diversity was lost on UCI’s student body, as someone commented during Sublime’s Santeria, “This is the Red Hot Chili Peppers.” KABA Modern managed to garner the most unsolicited cheers of any act at Wayzgoose 2008, but as soon as the music stopped, the troupe quietly, militarily, left the stage, causing one audience member to understate, “That was anti-climatic.”
While KABA Modern was onstage, Aldrich Park was almost full. As soon as KABA finished, a handful of students remained for Del tha Funky Homosapien, the hip-hop group that should have been the star of the show.
This would not have happened in Northern California, where Del comes from. In fact, most of the audience seemed to be made up of Nor-Cal folk who had ended up at UCI. Del’s rhymes and beats were by far the most creative of the day, and to add icing to the cake, tha Funky Homosapien’s son was dancing on stage the whole time, in celebration of his birthday. Del even had the audience wish his son a “Happy Berfday” (that’s hip-hop-ese for “birthday,” a language which leaves little room for the more common English “th” sound), repeatedly.
The other band worth mentioning at this year’s Wayzgoose was Socratic, but it took the stage a little after noon, before most UCI students had gotten up and made it into the outside world that Wayzgoose had set up for them. Socratic is a pop-punk band that, as the band proudly declared, has had its latest album produced by Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus. If you hear the words “Warped Tour,” the first sound that instantly pops into your head probably adequately summarizes Socratic. But at Wayzgoose, at this point in the day, a couple dozen fans were into the music. At Warped Tour, it would have been at least a few hundred.
Student interest at the stages was conspicuous in its absence. Until two in the afternoon, Aldrich Park was a maze of booths selling all kinds of delicious food, but by the time slot in between lunch and dinner that many college students utilize for eating, the student vendors were sold out. This was a clear indication that while there was a big turnout for this year’s Wayzgoose, students were not impressed by the musical lineup, and killed time eating food instead. Some blamed the poor attendance on the weather, which was admittedly cooler than the rest of the week’s.
But this year’s Wayzgoose appeared disorganized and disjointed. The main sign announcing Wayzgoose was painted in psychedelically shaded balloon letters, but none of the artists reflected this spirit.
No matter what, for those who chose to stay for the day and enjoy the variety of food available on a campus as inherently diverse as UCI’s, and hang out for the free music, Wayzgoose 2008 was not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Maybe next year, the festival’s formula can be perfected even further.