Students booed the opening act of Bruin Bash 2015. This year, several students jumped from the upper bleachers in Pauley Pavilion to get closer to the artists midway through the show.
Nearly 10,000 students filled the stadium Monday night, jiving to the pop and hip-hop rhythms of Sweater Beats, Matoma and Ty Dolla $ign on a night that went off with few hitches.
In a jean jacket and grey T-shirt, Sweater Beats strode onto the stage nonchalantly and opened the night with his 2016 single “Hey Ya.”
“I don’t really know what stuff to say, but it’s good to be here,” the Los Angeles-based DJ said to the crowd, grinning beneath thick-rimmed glasses.
Sweaters Beats launched remixes of top pop hits, showing off his talent for pleasing a college crowd. He filled his 45-minute set with takes on “Runaway” by Galantis and “Needed Me” by Rihanna. After a fist-pumping rendition of “Hotline Bling,” Sweater Beats seamlessly transitioned into a seat-shaking Soulja Boy as cries of “yooooo” filled the stadium.
First-year theater student Ava Lalezarzadeh said she enjoyed hearing Sweater Beats’ set and meeting other freshmen during the concert.
“Everybody knew (the songs), but they were mixes that we never heard,” Lalezarzadeh said.
Sweater Beats introduced surprise musical guest Max Schneider, known professionally as MAX. Schneider is a New York pop and soul artist who released his latest album “Hell’s Kitchen Angel” in April.
MAX, wearing a glittering sequin top, debuted his never-before-heard song “Did You Wrong” in collaboration with Sweater Beats on Monday night.
Adding the new single to the Bruin Bash set list was a last-minute decision, Sweater Beats said in an interview after the concert. He said he and Schneider had been working on “Did You Wrong” for the past month and plan to release the single at the end of October.
“We went bowling last week and I said, ‘Hey come swing through UCLA,’” Sweater Beats added. “I wanted to test drive the song and thought it would be a good venue to do it.”
After a 15-minute lull, the Pauley Pavilion screens lit back to life with a single message – “Hakuna Matoma” – announcing the entrance of the second opener Matoma. The Norwegian DJ brought zero week Bruin Bash-goers back to the last moments of summer with his island house-inspired beats, a mix of his signature synthetic flute sounds and turned-down tempos.
The crowd swayed as Matoma dropped rhythmic remixes for songs like “The Next Episode” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg and “Light It Up” by Major Lazer. He also played his own original song “False Alarm” featuring Becky Hill, in addition to his 2015 radio hit “Running Out” with Astrid S.
Fourth-year computer science student Jalaj Punn said he thought the opening artists could have been bigger names, given the size of UCLA.
Ty Dolla $ign emerged to cheers just before 10 p.m. The rapper donned a thick camo hoodie for his opening numbers before tossing the sweater aside to give a clearer view of his toothy white smile and head full of dreadlocks. Crowd members threw their hands up from his first verse, and they were up to stay – Ty Dolla $ign’s set was anything but “Blasé.”
“UCLA is the most turnt-up campus we’ve ever visited in the whole fucking California,” he said, jokingly offering students to come onstage and smoke a joint with him.
The LA rapper played hit songs like “Irie” featuring Wiz Khalifa and Wood & Leather, along with songs where he was the featured artist, such as “Work from Home” by Fifth Harmony.
But Ty Dolla $ign upped the ante by bringing his own featured artists straight to the stage, including Tee Cee 4800, Casey Veggies and Joe Moses, who joined $ign onstage for their collaborative number “Burn Rubber.”
“This is the closest I’m ever gonna be to being a … Bruin,” Ty Dolla $ign said – adding an expletive for emphasis – before rapping his 2013 hit “Or Nah.”
Ty Dolla $ign closed with the song “Campaign,” a pitch for his latest album of the same name to be released Friday.