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Festival Review: Basslights 2013

By Ryan Vasta posted Oct 22, 2013 at 09:37 PM

Bass to the face! Check out music staffer, Ryan Vasta's experience at Basslights over the long weekend


I’m not sure how I’m writing this review right now, as my mind was blown this weekend and it still hasn’t been fixed.  Oh yes, this was a very special weekend. Bassnectar and Pretty Lights brought the third installment of their Basslights series to the Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park this year and put on an unforgettable show.


Supervision and PANTyRAiD were the openers on the first night of the multi-day festival. Supervision immediately had the bass kicking as he delivered an awesome electro-hip-hop set. PANTyRAiD played a pretty generic trap set, totally devoid of the innovative sound found on “The Sauce.”

Bassnectar was up first on Night 1. Opening with “Freestyle,” Lorin wasted no time in driving the crowd into frenzy. The visuals were just as hypnotizing as the music, creating a completely immersive experience. It was as if we were literally swimming in a sea of bass. Lorin was head-banging and jumping around just as much as we were, delivering a bombastic set including “Blast Off,” “Boombox,” and his “Ace of Spades” remix.


Derek Vincent Smith, also known as Pretty Lights, took the stage with a full band featuring Adam Deitch on drums, Brian Coogan and Borham Lee on keyboards, Scott Flynn on trombone, and Eric Bloom on trumpet. With Derek working the modulators, every song sounded so full and fresh. The crowd got down hard to a rocking set including “Let’s Get Busy,” “I Can See It In Your Face,” and “I Know The Truth” all accompanied by mesmerizing lasers. After all, it wouldn’t be a Pretty Lights show without some pretty lights. Derek even played bass guitar on “Yellow Bird.” Pretty Lights showed that he is truly pushing the boundaries of electronic music, combining live and electronic instrumentation on stage in a way that has never been seen before.


Koan Sound and Run The Jewels kicked off the second night of the festival. Koan Sound had a great glitchy, funky set. Hip-Hop outfit Run The Jewels was ok, however, it seemed that the beats often overpowered the lyrics.


Of the headliners, Pretty Lights was first on stage for Night 2. To give the ragers a break, Derek opted for a more downtempo set. It felt like we were floating on a cloud as the band played through “The Time Has Come,” an absolutely breathtaking performance of “Samso,” and “Gold Coast Hustle,” with Derek breaking out the bass guitar again. After another mesmerizing set, it was time for Bassnectar., who took the stage ready to bring the house down.

Unlike Derek’s performance strategy, this set was somehow even heavier than the first night’s.  The crowd was crushed track after track, especially by “Raw Charles,” “Freak Party,” and “Upside Down.” The blend of bone-shattering bass and mesmerizing melodies showed how Bassnectar earned his name in the industry. This was a set that took us to another planet. After thanking the crowd, and taking a family photo, Lorin gave the crowd one more treat in the form of Daladubz’s “Pink Elephants.” 


Not only did beautiful lights and music surround me, but also beautiful people. It’s more than just fans; it’s a community. A group of people who come together, often connected by little more than their taste in music, and leave their qualms at the door to have the time of their lives. Lifelong friendships are often formed at Bassnectar and Pretty Lights shows. Between the jaw-dropping sets and the amazing vibes, Basslights turned Bayfront Park into a Magical World. 

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