“I see no Black, or White, or Asian or Hispanic… all I see is purple!” A$AP Rocky yells before he dives into one of his most “turnt up” songs, “Purple Swag.” The hyped crowd that filled the darkly lit stands of the Bren Events Center to its max capacity, 6,000 people, is peppered with floating, neon glow sticks. At the front center of the gym floor, closest to the famed Bren stage, is a partially filled pit, a sea of arms trying to reach out and grab a little bit of “purple.”
UC Irvine undergraduates and outside visitors flood the Bren each year for the annual Shocktoberfest also known as Shockfest or even just Shock. The annual tradition usually involves a few big name artists and one long, sweaty night. After 15 weeks of planning, ASUCI Student Services contracted famed rap artist A$AP Rocky and the lesser-known YG to perform on Friday, Oct. 18th, 2013. For third-year electrical engineering major Woo Jin Kim, “Shocktoberfest is a great concert… it’s not really often we get high name artists out to UCI, so it is a great celebration. A way to kick off the new year.”
There were many changes made to Shocktoberfest 2013, including a pit limit and an all new after party that replaced the normal “Aftershock,” which was instead renamed “Electrify” Street Festival, with food trucks, carnival rides, bounce houses and a photo booth. These things were rumored to be completely free, but the people had to pay a pretty penny at the food trucks to satisfy their appetites.
A huge controversy over the pit was created this year. The UCI Police Department and ASUCI agreed that they had to limit the amount of pit dwellers for safety purposes. The magic number was said to be 300 on first come first served basis, this was later confirmed by ASUCI’s Tann Lien, a part of the Festivals Commissions office.
Finally the announcement was made that the concert would not begin until the masses moved, and that they needed to clear the aisles due to the fire marshals. “If I was an artist and came to UCI and saw a pit half full, I would be kind of mad,” Matt Ramson, a second-year literary journalism major, spoke out. “Last year it was packed on the ground and people were allowed to flank the sides. It was tight.”
The concert kicked off with YG finally making an appearance with a sound of crashing glass and his sound-bit YG four hundred that was replayed after every song. YG had an above-average performance. He had family on stage, even his baby, which he brought out for a quick cameo in one of his songs. His standout songs were “RIP,” and “Up,” all of which contained numerous explicit lyrics and adult themes. YG engaged the crowd by asking them to “stick their middle finger up, and get turnt up!”
During the changeover process from YG to A$AP Rocky, the crowd seemed to be less angry about the pit situation and more engaged in the artist’s performance. It wasn’t until 11:10 p.m. that A$AP Rocky finally hit the stage, with his smooth, sleek, “pretty motherf**ker swag.”
A standout moment included the water and water bottles thrown into the “thirsty” crowd, and the four up-and-coming freestylers that were selected from the audience, which were received with some mixed boos and cheers through their string of unimaginative, and overused lyrics. The ASUCI also had their own surprise for the crowd as they braved the sketchy steel rafters at the top of the Bren for an awesome balloon drop, consisted of hundreds of smaller balloons and a few large ones. To A$AP’s surprise as he commented, “I just want to party with you guys… you make me feel like I am in college or something… by the way that large f*cking balloon.”
A$AP’s most popular songs were, “Purple Swag,” “Goldie,” “Peso” and “Live Long A$AP.” A$AP ended his performance with a bang as he invited girls to rush the stage and help him sing his closing song, “F*cking Problems.” Girls that were not in the pit mad-dogged the stage in fury and girls in the pit made a daring jump onto the stage, the stage was soon filled and security again had to get pushy.
Walking through the Electrify Street Festival, asking people’s opinion of the show, it was pretty positive. Second-year Charity Lyons was happy she was able to hug A$AP, although she was bitter about the pit constriction, as was everyone. Many ASUCI students were disappointed that the pit limit was not better advertised to students, although they felt it was a lot safer. It seemed also to be a consensus that while this year’s line-up was awesome, it did not compare to last year’s hard-hitters Tyga and Kendrick Lamar, but that’s the normal cycle, because this time next year, UCI students will be reminiscing about their Shock 2013 when they rocked out to “Live Long A$AP.”