‘Blxst’ off at Frost: Rap, meditation and saxophones

This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.

Smooth R&B and pop vocals, top-tier crowd engagement and all-around fun marked the 13th annual Frost Music and Arts Festival at Frost Amphitheater on Saturday. This year’s performers included student opener The Move and headliners Alemeda, UMI and Blxst. The student-led Stanford Concert Network (SCN) organized the concert in collaboration with Stanford Live and Goldenvoice, drawing attendees from across the Bay Area.

Two students play the saxphone on a stage.
Student band The Move, which features saxophonists Ethan Htun ’27 and Quinn Simmons ’27, opened Frost Fest after winning Battle of the Bands. (Photo: EMILY GONZALEZ/The Stanford Daily)

The Move

Frost Fest kicked off with a six-song set from The Move, a seven-man student band that won the SCN-sponsored Battle of the Bands earlier this month. The group includes lead vocalist Jackson McCormick ’27, keyboardist Haohan Wu ’27, guitarist Ryoto Sato ’27, tenor saxophonist Ethan Htun ’27, alto saxophonist Quinn Simmons ’27, bassist Archish Arun ’26 and drummer Jonathan Martinez ’27. 

The Move set the tone for Frost Fest with bright, euphoric instrumentals and audience interaction. As concertgoers arrived and either stood in the pit or sat on the lawn of the amphitheater, The Move opened with a few cover songs, including a groovy rendition of “Super Rich Kids” by Frank Ocean. The latter portion of the setlist included three original songs — all of which featured excellent instrumental arrangements perfectly suited for an outdoor space like Frost. 

“Patience” was a crowd favorite and highlighted McCormick’s raspy vocal abilities, as well as The Move’s lyrical prowess. The laid-back “Light Blue” was the set’s closing number. According to McCormick, the song was written “for that one person in your life that you just want to watch the sky with.” The crowd swayed their hands back and forth to saxophone solos from Simmons and Htun. 

The Battle of the Bands winners thanked the audience for enjoying their music and grabbed a selfie with the crowd before leaving the stage.

A singer holds a microphone in one hand and the mic stand in another during a performance.A singer holds a microphone in one hand and the mic stand in another during a performance.
Rising indie pop artist Alemeda’s catchy beats and relatable lyrics got the audience moving. (Photo: EMILY GONZALEZ/The Stanford Daily)


Indie pop singer Alemeda graced the stage accompanied by a background image of her two cats, Cinnamon and Truffles. The quirky background matched the style of Alemeda’s music and the singer herself, whose cheerful and upbeat personality glowed during breaks between her set.

Alemeda’s smooth vocals and unique tone sounded nearly identical to her recordings, and she brought the crowd to their feet with her bouncy pop tracks. My favorites included “First Love Song” for its catchy chorus and danceable beat and “Don’t Call Me,” which included some rock-influenced instrumentals.

Relatability was a major theme in Alemeda’s set; she played the newly-released head bopper “Guy’s Girl” and told the crowd it was about a friend breakup, which she said “we all know can be really painful.” Alemeda also played an unreleased track called “I Already Dug Your Grave” and told the audience to dance along, if they thought she should release it. Needless to say, the audience was on their feet and grooving.

A performer smiles at the crowd. She wears a blue hat and over the ear headphones. Her face is smeared with flecks of blue paint.A performer smiles at the crowd. She wears a blue hat and over the ear headphones. Her face is smeared with flecks of blue paint.
Singer UMI opened her much-anticipated performance with deep breaths and intention setting. (Photo: EMILY GONZALEZ/The Stanford Daily)


When UMI’s background banner appeared on the Frost stage, the crowd instantly started to buzz. The 25-year-old singer, best known for hit songs like “Love Affair” and “Remember Me,” was a highly anticipated performer at Frost Fest, as well as the artist I was most excited to see perform live. 

When UMI took the stage, she greeted the crowd with infectious enthusiasm. She shared that she likes to begin her performances with a meditation and led the amphitheater in a series of deep breaths. UMI told the crowd to think of their intentions for the night, and that hers was “to feel love, joy and freedom.” At the end of her set, she revealed that she would be releasing a meditation app later this month.

The first song of her setlist was “wherever u r.” which showcased UMI’s vocal talent and inspired palpable energy from the audience. UMI encouraged audience members to sing along to “Love Affair,” which was done with great enthusiasm. 

Audience engagement was the theme of UMI’s performance. Throughout her set, UMI selected audience members and asked for their name and a fun fact; she even led the audience in singing “Happy Birthday” to a fan. Following “Love Affair,” she jumped down into the pit to greet fans face to face.

UMI took a break from singing about halfway through her setlist to introduce an audience-based portion of the performance, which she called “bringing the studio to Stanford.” UMI invited audience members up to the stage and encouraged them to freestyle to a beat played by her DJ, whether by dancing, singing or rapping. Among them was student singer EASHA (Easha Nandyala ’24), whose freestyle proclaimed her fandom for UMI and appreciation for her music. The moment felt like a great full circle experience, since UMI had spoken earlier about her days as a college student with aspirations to work in the music industry. 

Other highlights were UMI’s cover of “Snooze” by SZA and her performance of nostalgic hit “Remember Me,” for which she asked the audience to create a harmony with her while she sang. 

“I love doing this because when you can hear all of the voices in a space it lets me feel how many people are actually with me,” UMI said. 

A performer raps surrounded by smoke and in a white striped shirt with a patch that reads "pray."A performer raps surrounded by smoke and in a white striped shirt with a patch that reads "pray."
Rapper Blxst closed out Frost Fest with an electric stage presence and dynamic performance. (Photo: EMILY GONZALEZ/The Stanford Daily)


Three hours into Frost Fest, headliner Blxst took the stage. The 31-year-old singer, rapper and songwriter from Los Angeles is known for collaborations with artists like Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg, along with his unique West Coast flow. Many audience members appeared to be long-time fans of Blxst, and the amphitheater erupted in excitement when his set began.

Blxst’s performance was marked by a commanding stage presence, as he danced across the stage while engaging with audience members. The live band was phenomenal and added a great dimension to the R&B tracks of the night. “The one rule of a Blxst show is to have fun,” the singer told the crowd, and proceeded to make good on this promise with danceable beats and compelling vocals.

A highlight of the performance was backup vocalist Cheyenne Wright, who accompanied Blxst for nearly every song on his setlist. She was incredibly powerful and dynamic throughout the show. 

Blxst showed love for his longtime fans by playing some classics like “No Love Lost” as well as a few tracks off of his earlier “Sixtape” EPs. The crowd sang and grooved along to  the guitar-heavy “Still omw,” which was the perfect summer night anthem.

Like Alemeda and UMI, Blxst engaged with audience members, leading the crowd to chant “they not like us” — a reference to the latest track in his past collaborator Kendrick Lamar’s feud with rapper Drake. However, the focus of the performance was truly the music, and Blxst closed out his set with his well-known song, “Chosen,” ending the night on a high note and closing out an unforgettable Frost Fest.

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