The Bruin Bash audience wanted to be entertained – no less than that was accepted.
Students moved chairs out of their way to dance to Madeon. Some booed and moved out of Pauley Pavilion completely when NxWorries failed to energize the crowd.
The crowd was justifiably tough, given the concert’s chaotic build up and its reputation as one of UCLA’s highly anticipated events.
Co-hosted by Campus Events Commission and Cultural Affairs Commission, this year’s show featured French electro-pop DJ Madeon and alternative R&B duo NxWorries. New and returning Bruins packed into Pauley Pavilion Monday night to experience the annual concert.
The sets were a rollercoaster of emotions and energy, much like the experience Bruins faced to gain admission earlier in the day.
Despite its efforts, NxWorries left the audience cold, failing to spark energy in the crowd for Madeon to build on. However, Madeon acted as a saving grace, pumping up Pauley Pavilion well into the night.
A first glimpse inside Pauley Pavilion yielded a surprise – the floor section was covered in chairs, which seemed to be an odd choice since it was difficult for students to move around during the primarily electronic dance music concert.
Screens on either side of the stage displayed Twitter and Instagram photos tagged with #BruinBash. The posts varied from excited students looking forward to the concert, to students tired of waiting outside who posted complaints about the crowd and the line.
ACA Hip Hop took the stage first.
The group brought a somber mood to Pauley Pavilion – its performance was dedicated to Tracy Nguyen, a member who died at HARD Summer Music Festival in August. The crowd of sorority sisters in the front of the auditorium also contributed to the sad atmosphere, their maroon ribbons honoring a Pi Beta Phi member who died in an apartment fire Monday morning.
During a moment of silence, the excitement in Pauley Pavilion vanished, with solemn murmurs replacing cheers.
The crowd returned to its vibe as Knxwledge, half of opener NxWorries, appeared on stage. The duo’s attempts to pump up the atmosphere failed for the most part – as the duo played mostly covers of gangsta rap with little to no heavy beats or drops to raise audience engagement.
The duo yelled “Are y’all still with us tonight?,” but some audience members responded by leaving Pauley and hardly mustering any cheers.
“(The concert) was a little bit too long considering that the opener kind of bored me,” said first-year nursing student Hailey Marie Leach, though she said she was ecstatic to see an EDM artist later in the concert.
The end of NxWorries’ mellow performance, which mostly consisted of rap, was met with boos and chants for them to leave. Knxwledge, seemingly oblivious to the crowd’s displeasure, asked the audience for permission to play more but left the stage after receiving angry roars instead.
During the interlude between opener and headliner, audience members in the floor area attempted to remove the chairs that stopped them from dancing. The atmosphere was further dampened when a CEC staff member appeared on stage yelling for the audience to cooperate with security about rearranging the chairs.
Finally, Madeon appeared on stage and began performing with gusto. Madeon’s vitality was strong enough to cut through the audience’s underlying weariness though the chairs hindered their mobility to dance.
The audience regained their energy as the DJ played “Lean On” by Major Lazer. The show of lights and dancing students made the floor pulse with the beat of the song.
First-year political science student Georgia Perris said she wished the headliner would’ve been a lyricist so she could sing along, but noticed students closer to the pit enjoyed the performance.
Madeon continued fluctuating between hard-hitting EDM drops that pumped up the crowd and ethereal beats that calmed it back down. Many audience members absorbed the music’s energy and remained on their feet until the show ended around 11 p.m.
“I didn’t like the first half – it hadn’t kicked off yet, but when Madeon came on it just went mental,” said third-year political science student Behrouz Amirbadvy. “His drops were kicking all night.”
After the high energy of Chance the Rapper’s performance last year, CEC and CAC faced high expectations for this year’s lineup but encountered many missteps along the way. The ticket distribution system, general concert atmosphere and opening act failed to win over many audience members, but Madeon’s upbeat temperament allowed Bruins to forget their troubles earlier in the day and enjoy the remainder of the evening.
Evelynn Chun, a third-year international development studies student, was not interested in EDM before the concert, yet said she still enjoyed the show.
“The first part was all right, but Madeon definitely made the night,” Chun said. “Everybody was pretty hyped up. I thought it was definitely worth it to come.”