Extravaganza at UCSB’s Harder Stadium

Ludacris Draws Thousands to Annual Free Concert

UCSB’s Associated Students’ (AS) annual concert has attracted thousands throughout the years, and this past Saturday the show outdid itself, drawing in mixed crowds of students and community music lovers that topped out at more than 11,000 people. Thanks to a stellar lineup that featured rap star-cum-actor Ludacris-who’s won an array of awards during his 11-year career-2009 proved to be the year Extravaganza crossed over from freebie college concert to bona fide mini music festival.

As the headlining act, Ludacris was without question the most sought-out performer of the day; students waited hours for him to take the stage, and when he did, he didn’t disappoint. Delivering a hearty sample from his entire catalogue (including “Pimpin’ All Over the World” and “Area Codes”), the rapper kept fans both rapt and rhyming along throughout the set.

Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman


Also on the bill were Girl Talk, Cold War Kids, The Cool Kids, and locals Boombox Orchestra. Not enough can be said about Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis), who was perhaps the underdog of the day. A performer who’s known for his mash-ups of popular hip-hop beats and generation-spanning pop songs, Gillis’s one-man show delivered a set of thundering bass to the masses. He also kept most of the crowd dancing and moving with ease, despite the late-day heat Santa Barbara is known for come May.

Following Gillis’s set, unexpected guest rapper Asher Roth, who interestingly was discovered via MySpace back in 2006, appeared decked out in a UCSB sweatshirt, and enthusiastically rapped his suburban-inspired hip-hop lyrics to a sea of relating fans.

This go-around, AS proved that not only can they pull a solid lineup, they can pull off what is probably the largest hip-hop-based concert the Santa Barbara area has ever seen. And with the 2009 edition now behind us, one can only speculate what 2010 will bring to the music world, and what that will mean for the next Extravaganza.

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