By: Daisy Murguia and Oriana Gonzalez
Update 10/1/2019: The article previously mistakenly stated that free Monster energy drinks were offered, this has been corrected to state that free Rockstar energy drinks were offered. The name for Student Services VP was previously misspelled as “Izhadshenas” and is now corrected to “Izadshenas.”
Last Tuesday, ASUCI hosted this year’s Aldrich Park After Dark (APAD) concert, which featured performances from Cheat Codes, YBN Cordae, Marc E. Bassy and Shaboozey. The concert was a Welcome Week treat for students, as it offered free Rockstar energy drinks, free merchandise, free music and a plethora of port-a-potties. The concert was held in the Commencement Lawn—where APAD is held every year—located in front of the Infinity Fountain. It has a capacity of 7,000 people, and this year the attendance hit its maximum capacity.
Around 7,200 people attended the concert. “This is the largest concert that’s ever happened at UCI, it’s the first time we’ve ever been over maximum capacity,” said Student Services Vice President Niki Izadshenas. In comparison, 5,500 people attended last year’s APAD—which counted with performances from Phantoms, Party Pupils and Party Favors. Izadshenas also explained that ASUCI was allowed to accept more people than the capacity because of the amount of people exiting the event.
Nigerian rapper Shaboozey opened APAD. He performed “Start a Riot,” a song that appeared in collaboration with Duckwrth on the “Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse” soundtrack. Shaboozey also performed “Dream” and “Break the Band (How Could She?);” introducing the latter as a song he wrote to mourn The Beatles’ break-up. He ended his set by dancing to “In The Street,” That 70’s Show’s theme song.
The first midliner to take the stage was Bay Area native Marc E. Bassy, whose music falls under the hip-hop, pop, and contemporary R&B genres. He sang some of his most popular songs, including “You & Me” and “Love Her Too.”
One female audience member passed out during his set. “That’s our first pass out, we’re doing great!” Bassy exclaimed, he followed this by saying, “is she okay forreal?” The girl was pulled out of the audience by security and she was then met by a paramedic. As she walked off, Bassy said, “make some noise, she’s going to be alright!” and continued his set.
“There’s always students who come disoriented,” said Student Services VP Izadshenas. “I think that’s always the norm with these types of events, so we’re always prepared for that.” There was a first aid tent located inside the venue to check on those who needed it.
Throughout the night, students had to be pulled out of the crowd for their own safety. ASUCI students were also consistently seen running to give free water to dehydrated students in the barricade and throughout the large crowd.
The second midliner was YBN Cordae, who was a student-favorite from the start. YBN Cordae came with an infectious energy. He sang “Have Mercy,” “Thousand Words” and ended with “RNP.” The crowd shouted his lyrics enthusiastically while dancing and jumping. Cordae’s set was well-reserved, and caused a buzzing of excitement within students. As his set came to a close, students shouted “Encore!” but alas, Cordae’s set was over, at around 8:40 pm.
The amount of excitement surrounding YBN Cordae’s performance paralleled that for YG’s performance in 2018’s Shocktoberfest, which was cancelled after midliner Famous Dex jumped into the crowd and prompted the students to rush to the floor, causing a stampede.
Last year’s Shocktoberfest—also the last Shocktoberfest, as ASUCI decided to cancel the concert overall—was held in the Bren Events Center, which has a capacity of around 5,000 people. This year’s APAD surpassed this number by 2,000 people, despite the fact that the Commencement Lawn is actually smaller than the Bren Events Center.
“I would assume [that the Commencement Lawn is smaller than the Bren Events Center],” Student Services VP Izadshenas admitted. “I don’t know if it’s easy to compare the two space-wise because [the Commencement Lawn] is an open lawn versus a stadium.” Izadshenas clarified that APAD was organized with the understanding that the Commencement Lawn has a maximum capacity of 7,000 people.
The last performers of the night were Cheat Codes, an electronic music DJ trio based in Los Angeles who were this year’s headliners. They fall under the dancehall, tropical house and EDM genres of music. For students who enjoy electronic dance music, this act was enjoyable, but by this time of the night, the energy of the crowd began gradually dwindling. After hours of dancing, singing and jumping, students looked tired and the scent of sweat was prominent. Still, on the last few songs of Cheat Codes’ set, many students still found enough energy to jump up and down and bop their heads to the music. A particular crowd favorite was “No Promises” which features vocals from Demi Lovato. “Pretty Girl” and “Shed a Light” were other standouts from their performance.
Overall, APAD garnered student interest from the beginning, with students tweeting that “UCI finally did something right” and referring to the lineup as “sick.” The concert had a mixture of multiple genres of music as well as a variety of artists and performers. There was something in it for everybody, and students seemed to enjoy the Welcome Week concert. Now that Aldrich Park After Dark is over, students have Summerlands to look forward to in May.