The plaza was glowing from the slowly sinking sun, there were unbuttoned Hawaiian shirts and colorful tribal print skirts everywhere, and just about everyone was smiling and enjoying the warm, late-afternoon air.
Summer had clearly arrived, and Shwayze’s performance in the University Union Plaza would be the perfect kickoff for the new season.
That is, if he ever got there.
The evening started with a good, albeit too long, set from local DJ duo Butterslaps. The heavy bass and solid remixes woke up the crowd, and there was dancing, crowdsurfing and smiles — for a while.
An hour later, the sun was down, Butterslaps had run out of songs, all those tank tops and shorts were starting to seem like a bad choice in the chilly air, and people started to wonder if the rapper was going to make an appearance after all.
“What a diva,” art and design junior Ellen Williams said about the delay. “So rude.”
She had come excited to hear “Corona and Lime,” but didn’t expect to wait an extra hour and a half for it.
But, in the meantime, Williams was still smiling and said she people-watched — noting the high number of “drunk freshmen” roaming the plaza.
Some audience members speculated that Shwayze’s delay was alcohol or marijuana related, but it turned out, even famous rappers can fall victim to traffic jams.
Shwayze and his three-man crew had been “stuck in motherfucking traffic,” he explained to the audience once onstage — and wasted no time to jump right into his first song of the night, joined onstage by a drummer, guitarist and DJ.
Finally, the crowd could bounce to Shwayze’s feel-good beats; people sat atop peers’ shoulders or stood on the steps to catch a glimpse of the rapper as the occasional cloud of smoke billowed up through the mass of bodies.
Shwayze, decorated in a backwards cap, gold chain around his neck and black shades perched just above his eyes, played a lot of his old-school songs, but picked the perfect set of tunes to set the summer vibe for the night.
“I really like his music,” environmental earth sciences sophomore Nate La Fontaine said. “I’ve been listening to him for a couple years … he’s really California, beachy and chill.”
La Fontaine said Shwayze’s music was the perfect laid-back playlist for beachside living, making him “a cool artist to rep here” — at a university so familiar with the sun, sand and surf lifestyle.
Throughout his hour-long set, Shwayze played “Island In The Sun,” “Love is Overrated,” “Buzzin’,” “Rich Girl” and even threw in covers of Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” and Coolio’s “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New).”
The crowd favorite, was, of course, his 2008 hit “Corona and Lime.”
“It’s a good way to kick off summer,” construction management sophomore Ryan Mahlman said of his favorite Shwayze song.
Mid-set, Schwayze stopped to tell the audience: “If I were a vegetable, I’d be a turnip, so turn it up, Cal Poly!”
The crowd cheered, happy that Shwayze eventually did “turnip,” just in time for summer.