Seasoned UC Davis students and alumni may remember Rock It!, a Thursday night rock addition to the Davis nightlife. They may also remember its conclusion when Rock It! creator Jordan Smart ended the event after a year-and-a-half long run.
But now – over a year later – Smart is trying it out again. Rock It! will return to the Davis dance scene tonight at 10 p.m. at the Davis Graduate, located at 805 Russell Blvd. Tickets are $7 for 18 and $3 for 21 .
Rock It! was founded in late 2005 by Smart, a UC Davis alumnus, as an indie-rock dance night. Smart discontinued the event in the summer of 2007. He listed declining attendees and the difficulty of running and maintaining a regular event as reasons for the yearlong hiatus.
“It is a lot harder to keep some kind of regular event running in Davis with student turnover and finals, midterms and people leaving for the summer,” Smart said. “All of these different factors make the Davis population transient.“
Thoughts about a Rock It! return began as the Graduate and Smart both expressed interest in another shot. However, Smart sees the first night as a trial run, and both the Grad and Smart want to test tonight’s turnout.
Smart, a former DJ at KDVS, will DJ the entire night. Although he primarily DJs the event by himself, others have also contributed to Rock It! in the past, such as KDVS DJ Mr. Glass.
“The original idea – and the idea I’m maintaining for this time around – is just to really have a place in Davis where people can dance to music that’s not sort of the kind of music you’re going to listen to at regular Top 40 clubs or bars in town,” Smart said.
Smart’s interest in creating an 18-and-over event was a fundamental part in his desire to start Rock It!, partly due to the limits of a 21-and-up event. It also directly led to his choice of the Grad as the regular venue. Smart listed its ability to accommodate both 18 and 21 crowds, its large setup and DJ booth as some of its main benefits.
“I think the Grad has a reputation that’s sort of unfairly labeled them over the years as being a jock place to hang out,” Smart said. “Certainly some of their nights are mainstream Top 40 oriented, but they also have experimented with a lot of different stuff over the years. I think they deserve a lot of credit for that.“
Smart plans on playing new and old alternative and indie music throughout the night – a selection that has gained the support of previous attendees.
“I knew [Smart], so I started going when I was a freshman or sophomore – it was kind of fun to go and see someone that I know go DJ,” senior technocultural studies major Emma Burton said. “I like the music that he played – most of my friends were going, and it was just kind of a nice way to get together with people and dance.“
“The genre of music is maybe not the most 100 percent popular, but it gets the crowd going,” said UC Davis alumnus Rob Roy, who regularly attended Rock It! in the past. “The dance floor gets pretty packed, but it never really gets meat market packed, which I definitely enjoy. You’re able to actually dance instead of getting packed in like sardines.“
Rock It! will be held tonight at the Davis Graduate at 805 Russell Blvd. Music starts at 10 p.m. Tickets are $7 for ages 18 to 20 and $3 for those 21 and above.
JUSTIN T. HO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.