UCSB’s 35th annual Extravaganza music festival lived up to his name this past Sunday, thanks to a star-studded lineup of artists from all genres and origins. The acts ranged from Alpha Phunk, who won the university’s 2013 battle of the bands, to psychedelic surf rockers The Growlers, Hawaiian reggae artist J Boog, electronic duo Dada Life, and hip-hop sensation Kendrick Lamar.
For Alpha Phunk, the eclectic seven-piece that includes vocalist Sofia Melo, rapper Larcy Hall, trumpeter Bobby Beresford, guitarist Blake Bennet, keyboardist Ben Pearse, and drummer Vincent Loris, the chance to perform in front of their friends and peers at the annual festival was a step-up from the venues they have been accustomed to. “Hearing professionals on stage you always take it for granted, but when you play little shows like us being up there is so nice,” bassist Miller Wrenn said after the band’s afternoon set. “Everything was so perfect, we had no problems. And they made us sandwiches, too.”
The beach town scene was nothing new to the event’s second act, Orange County surfers and rockers The Growlers, whose hits from their newest studio album, Hung at Heart, brought a welcome dose of rock to the event. Extravaganza has become known for showcasing both established and rising artists, and the event’s ability to draw new crowds for growing bands is something Growlers vocalist Brooks Nielsen said can be useful for those trying to make it big in today’s music industry: “There’s a lot involved in it. I’d say just do it cause it’s fun — that’s what we’re doing. [Nowadays it’s about] creating something and doing it on your own.”
J Boog, who was spotted in the crowd post-set enjoying the show, followed the Growlers with his signature mix of reggae and R&B, while Dada Life sprung the crowd back to their feet with their high-energy set. During the pair’s remix of Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl,” numerous banana-donned audience members charged the stage in excitement.
Kendrick Lamar closed out the event with a bass-blaring set of his most popular tracks from his 2012 album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, as well as select singles from his older mixtapes. The Top Dawg Entertainment artist audibly rallied the crowd from his opening chant, “Did ya’all come out here ready to party?,” and energizing delivery of his top-selling singles “B*tch Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Money Trees,” and, “Poetic Justice.”