Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

29 October 2007: ‘Peace and Love’ at Antstock

Posted by Christina on March 9, 2009

Antstock is one of the three competitions put on my the UCI Bookstore and spearheaded by two UCI students, now alumni. They’re in charge of Photolympics and the Mad Film Dash, bring full circle the tripartite media competition on campus.

New University Newspaper: ‘Peace and Love’ at Antstock

‘Peace and Love’ at Antstock
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 41, Issue 6 | Oct 29 2007

Not all of last week’s Student Center grand-opening events were quelled by the impending doom of smoke and ash that surrounded us. Sure, we lost our parade of golf carts, and the tables at the new Student Center were all pushed aside for the birds. Determined to celebrate these efforts that have brought our school a long way, Antstock and Shocktoberfest persevered right on schedule.

What should have been a mock-Woodstock – outdoors and under the Orange County starlight – transformed into an indoor music festival with patrons rocking back and forth in the comfy chairs of Crystal Cove Auditorium. No lighters to heartfelt rock ballads in here, just tapping toes to the blaring sound system that probably was designed to handle lecture slides instead of the sonic tirade four entry-participants had to offer.

Nam Ninja performed several tracks in the form of ballsy and brave words heard from a one-sided dialogue between mother and son.

Up next came one of the crowd favorites, Female Down, a band that took its jam sessions to another level. Nominated for Best Vocals, this five-piece band stood on stage complete with rhythm guitar and a tickling keyboard among the other rock band staples. By now it was clear the secret was out. Good music does reign on campus.

‘A friend of ours participated in Antstock last year and I said then that I would do it if they had it again,’ said band frontman Tim Thatcher, a third-year physics major. ‘I honestly wasn’t sure how the crowd would respond to our music because it’s so eclectic. I am glad that people seemed to enjoy it because I know we all had a lot of fun playing.’

These kids don’t have changes of Fenders on the sidelines for songs in differing keys like regular rock stars but they have fret-picking talent like them. With their performance, these Average Joes turned into musician magicians. They spanned genres from psychedelic jam sessions to 1990s post-punk on the cusp of the grunge age.

Himitsu came on stage and showed the crowd that the bare minimum can work 10-fold. With just a guitar, drum and bass, this trio featured heavy bass licks, shredding guitar riffs and powerful drums. Their expository songs manipulated Wah-Wah pedals and the use of female vocals. They had a dark take on rock’n’roll yet were musically profound. It was clear Antstock had unearthed some talent at UC Irvine.

Kearsey, nominated for a Web Award, came on stage with a timely DJ scratching his interjections into the songs and a popping bass. They had an explosive stage presence with the guitarist performing the kind of hammer-ons you only thought possible with Guitar Hero.

‘We heard about Antstock last year through on-campus advertising,’ said fourth-year political science major and band frontman Bentley Chang. ‘In the time between Antstock last year and this year, the band has progressed a considerable amount. We always try to be the best in practice or live. We didn’t think that the audience at Antstock was going to receive us as well as they actually did. A lot of talent was being displayed at Antstock, and being a part of that exhibition atmosphere was a great feeling.’

Apart from being a reason to have live music presented by fellow Anteaters on campus, Antstock is a competition put on by students working at the UCI Bookstore, specifically fourth-year music major Andrew Capra, whose brainchildren we may remember as the Mad Film Dash and Photolympics. Now, these events have become a part of a series we can expect every year.

‘Besides selling books,’ explained Capra, ‘the Bookstore wanted to help promote culture on campus. After Mad Film Dash II, I sat down with my Bookstore team and I wanted to expand the things we do and have a series of competitions for the arts, not just for arts majors.’

These competitions come to us seasonally, sprinkled within each quarter amongst papers, midterms and finals. With Mad Film Dash in the winter and Photolympics in the spring, it seemed only natural to have Antstock in the fall. These events are planned a year in advance due to the success of this new mode of serial competitions. These three are here to stay, expanding as each year passes.

‘These competitions are for the engineering students who record themselves at midnight with a computer mic, for the sociology majors who love their camcorder and for the English majors who can’t stop taking pictures. Music was the next logical step.’

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