Moving Units. At UCSB’s Hub, Friday, February 2.
Reviewed by Drew Mackie
Not to knock Moving Units, but the success of their concert at UCSB’s student hangout spot, the Hub, could mostly be attributed to the event’s planners and not the musicians themselves. The Hub, for the uninitiated, occupies the bottom story of UCSB’s University Center. Associated Students Program Board, however, realized the Hub’s potential as an event space and launched AfterHours@theHub, a concert series that utilizes the area in a way it should have been years ago.
Last Friday night about 400 people — mostly UCSB students with scattered non-collegiate music fans in tow — flooded the Hub, and for many of them it would be the most time they had ever spent there. Program Board smartly installed a beer garden in the space, as well as a decent stage and sound system, transforming the formerly sterile environment into one where students could feel comfortable and have fun.
But the bands and opening acts put on a good show. From I.V.’s own Young Turks — who kicked off the night and showed promise as indie rockers in their own right — to the slightly more grown-up sound of SoCal band Test Your Reflex, the musicians proved my theory that the best dance music isn’t spawned from any form of techno or electronica.
Moving Units was clearly the night’s main draw, as ticket holders streamed into the Hub for the band’s set. Vocalist Blake Miller took command of the stage — which, admittedly, was probably smaller than the ones he’s used to strutting around — and gave the crowd his all. Deep down, Miller probably knew he was playing for a crowd of tipsy college students, but his yowls and shouts sounded every bit as rock star-professional as they would have in a “real” concert hall.
It’s doubtful Moving Units fans expected anything less from the band than its sleek L.A. style and a dead-on performance of signature songs. This reviewer would say those expectations were met. Good job, Moving Units. But in the end, the real thanks should go to Program Board. They didn’t just pull off a good show; they gave students a reason to embrace a space that is rightfully theirs.