Lured by the smell of food and calming music, students slowly filled the Student Union cafeteria on Friday night and were immediately draped with leis. “North to Hawaii” was a modernized version of an authentic luau, sponsored by Student Activities. Dancegoers were able to treat themselves to Hawaiian-inspired food from UAA food services while watching the night’s festivities.
“The food was a treat,” said freshman philosophy major Eric Choquette. “I also liked the decorations.”
Tiny seashells, colorful sunglasses and mini umbrellas were part of the Hawaiian-themed decorations strewn across the tables. Student Activities managed to get two fake palm trees that served as an archway to the dance floor and the stage that the Elevaters were scheduled to play on. The luau attendees were entertained by a limbo competition and a hula performance by Trisha Villarante, a freshman human services major.
“I was hired because I’ve organized luaus before,” Villarante said. “I also know how to hula dance.”
Even though there were other activities, the crowd didn’t let loose at the luau until after the Elevaters took the stage. After asking the audience to join them on the dance floor, the Los Angeles-based band rocked out at the Student Union for the next two hours.
Elevaters guitarist David Noily said the band draws inspiration from many genres, classic rock to reggae.
“It’s our first time in Anchorage, and we are here specifically for this luau,” said Elevaters vocalist Sam Golzari.
Despite getting off to a shaky start, the band had the whole dance floor moving at one point. Overall, the crowd’s sentiment toward the Elevaters was upbeat.
“They worked really well with the crowd,” said undeclared sophomore Stefanie Vigoren. “I like them.”
Some students still remained unconvinced by the band’s efforts to liven up the night.
“I think they had a hard time generating energy,” said junior biology major Andrew Manos.
Either way, the Elevaters are also scheduled to play the following Saturday in Lee Gorsuch Commons. According to the band’s Myspace page, they have performed with artists such as KRS-One and De La Soul.
The six-man group will be playing the Anchorage shows with only five due to one member’s illness.
The group said their first trip to Alaska has been positive so far. While those who were at the dance enjoyed a tropical night indoors, Golzari plans to stay in Anchorage for a few extra days to enjoy the sights of Alaska.
“It was amazing and unique to fly in over frozen waters,” he said. “It was really a sight.”