Queens, Del entertain 3,500

About 3,500 UCSD students filtered into RIMAC Arena to attend the 2003 WinterFest on Feb. 28. The event hosted bands that ranged from comical hip-hop to hardcore rock. The musical fest, which was free to UCSD students, wrapped up the weeklong UCSD Cares community service campaign.

Diana Kwok

WinterFest started off with old-school hip-hop crew People Under the Stairs. The duo, which consists of rappers Thes One and Double K, warmed up a small but enthusiastic crowd. Hoping to shorten the distance between the artist and the listener with their newest album, “”Original Sound Track,”” the rappers got the crowd bouncing their hands, holding up their lighters and chanting “”on a warm San Diego night.”” The duo also commented on the war, singing “”no war when you can dance,”” and made a tribute to children’s television star Mr. Rogers, who died on Feb. 27.

People Under the Stairs segued into a different version of hip-hop with Del Tha Funky Homosapien. Performing with members of his Hieroglyphics crew, Del entertained the audience with such numbers as Gorillaz song “”Clint Eastwood.”” Although Del and the Hieroglyphics crew got the audience involved and chanting alternate lines to songs with the group, some who came early to see Del were slightly let down by the performance.

“”I was a little bit disappointed,”” said Mark Costa. “”I wanted them to have more variety.””

Diana Kwok

As the RIMAC Arena floor and bleachers filled with more people, the hip-hop crews ended to a cheering crowd. The next three performances showcased various rock groups.

The first among these was Rye Coalition, who gave an animated and vigorous show. Performing various guitar-driven songs like “”Switchblade Sister,”” the New Jersey group showed their love by relaying how far they traveled to perform here at “”San Diggity.”” The group proved successful in stirring an energetic crowd, which was mosh pitting and crowd-surfing to the hard sounds of the rock band.

San Diego-based Rocket from the Crypt lined up their six members to give an equally dynamic performance. Using guitars, a trumpet, a saxophone and even a tambourine, the group rocked the arena with nonstop music, hailing themselves as the band here to “”save rock ‘n’ roll.””

Lead singer Speedo paused between songs to crack jokes about his facial blemishes and the mosh pit “”circle dance.”” While some in the audience found the songs to be raucous and overbearing, others, such as musician John Kooker, praised the group.

“”What I liked about the band was that they were really tight,”” Kooker said. “”It’s one thing to make music, but it’s really hard to make music people like listening to.””

Queens of the Stone Age, the festival’s headliners, were clad in all black and performed on a dark set that included blinding spotlights, projections of various pictures, and a monument of their signature egg and sperm symbol.

Featuring guest singers and guitarists, permanent members Nick Oliveri and Josh Homme played the single “”Go With the Flow”” and other songs from their latest album, “”Songs for the Deaf.”” After almost an hour of rock ‘n’ roll, the crowd began filtering out and the mosh pit was reduced to a one-man circle. However, when the group began strumming the familiar tune of their hit, “”No One Knows,”” the audience instantaneously reignited into a frenzy of dancing and singing. Students were so pleased with the band that they were even successful in persuading the group to an encore presentation.

“”That one song is just really good,”” Zach Girard said. “”I mean, it’s not a mistake that it’s really popular.””

Still others appreciated the aesthetic aspects of Queens of the Stone Age, such as Heather Schmidt.

“”I wish Dave Grohl was drumming,”” she said. “”But the drummer was really hot anyway.””

The Associated Students-sponsored WinterFest proved to be a successful highlight to the end of UCSD Cares week.

“”It was great,”” Rishi Shah said. “”It was amazing — one of the best rock shows I’ve been to all year.””