While Coachella, Bonnaroo, and other music festival giants rage in the outside world, the UCSB Associated Students Program Board has worked to bring a taste of the festival season madness to UCSB’s campus, resulting in the delightfully eclectic Extravaganza 2007. The lineup may not have been as big, but the tiny festival boasted three things Bonnaroo and Coachella never could: free admission, free water, and genuine hospitality.
The day began with a performance by local funk outfit Boombox Orchestra, which was their prize for winning the UCSB Battle of the Bands in March. Then the orchestra’s string section was swapped out for brass as ska-squad Suburban Legends took over the stage. Sometimes all a band needs is heart to get people to move, but these Orange County kids had the talent to boot.
The punk and ska sets were a success, but-judging from the restlessness of the crowd-something was still missing. Enter Mickey Avalon. Much like a superhero, he arrived to prove that no college outing is complete without shameless rap lyrics. Known for the unusual obscenity of his words, the former male prostitute turned things PG-13 as he taught UCSB to “Jane Fonda.” Looking eerily like Scott Weiland, Avalon paused between songs to tell the audience that he had just spent a week in the hospital and had gotten himself out just to be at the show. Thanks, Mickey.
What could be more appropriate to follow an icon of obscenity than the romantic folk stylings of New York’s Ben Kweller? Kweller continues to tour in support of his 2006 eponymous release, to which the crowd responded lovingly. The hits he played included “Penny on the Train,” “Sundress,” and even a cover of “Today” by the Smashing Pumpkins.
Closing out the fest was another rapper, this time by the name of T.I. The Atlanta native has no shortage of accolades in his case: an American Grammy, his own film production company, a personal clothing line, and co-ownership of Grand Hustle Records, to name a few. Needless to say, T.I.’s stage presence was off the charts as he showed off new material from his upcoming release in July. He was a fitting mini-headliner for a festival of equal proportions.