The Sperry Top-Sider Vacationland College Tour, presented by ASUC SUPERB Productions, hit Memorial Glade on Friday, featuring performances from Geographer and Rogue Wave. Sponsored by Sperry, the multicampus tour made its final stop at UC Berkeley, after traveling through UC San Diego, University of Oregon and other West Coast schools.
Geographer kicked off the live-music portion of the evening. The three-piece band from San Francisco owned the stage as they ran through their catalog of electronic indie dance pop. Singer Michael Deni was at ease onstage, dancing in his denim jacket and shades, prompting one attendee to post an Instagram photo of Deni with the hashtag “#futurehusband.” The fans bobbed their heads to the beat as the synth-infused grooves (complete with cello accompaniment) weaved in and out of the sunset. The energy picked up as Geographer played their more familiar songs, including popular single “Kites,” propelling the band to the end of their highly appreciated set.
The stage setup differed from that of your usual, relatively low-key Memorial Glade concerts. When bands such as Cold War Kids or The Antlers come for Cal Day, they typically set up shop on the dais in front of Doe Library. While a few devoted and particularly eager fans stand up close, most students lie on the grass somewhat distanced from the band. This time, Sperry rolled out their own small but well-equipped outdoor stage at the western edge of the glade, facing east, with an area roped off specifically for the crowd. Rather than passively listening from afar, students were at the foot of the stage, right in the middle of the action.
The break between the two bands was enough time to scrounge the table next to the stage, where event staff set up a spinning wheel bedecked with Sperry boat shoes. One spin of the wheel led to free giveaways, such as t-shirts, hats and beach balls. The event was reminiscent of a miniature Outside Lands — the mounted sign at the entryway, the grassy incline of the glade and the Bay Area chill setting in as the sun peeked through the trees.
Rogue Wave took the stage as the serene twilight began to fade. Frontman Zach Rogue asked the crowd to “move their bodies” to remedy the impending cold air. After opening with an upbeat new single, aptly titled “College,” the band segued into 2005’s “Bird On a Wire,” with its waltz-style pulse. The setlist was filled with familiar tunes, mixed in with a few songs from the band’s upcoming album. Before playing a run of these untried songs in the middle of the set, Rogue told everyone his philosophy on new material, explaining that new songs are like babies who are “finding their legs” — as such, we need to help “welcome them into the world.”
It was easy to see Rogue Wave’s years of experience — from Rogue hitting all of his notes and afro-donning drummer Patrick Spurgeon effortlessly harmonizing to the bassist impressively kicking a stray beach ball right on the downbeat. The band bounded toward the end, rocking hard on favorites such as “Chicago X 12,” “Lake Michigan” and “Harmonium.” Although Rogue cited a strict mandate from the powers that be to cut off the music by 9 p.m., the crowd was having none of it, chanting, “One more song!” Rogue Wave obliged, promising to play “one more love song” and closing out with an electric version of their hit “Eyes.” Singing along to their beloved song, with strings of star-like lights overhead, was a fitting send-off for a sublime night.