My only experience seeing Lorin Ashton, aka Bassnectar, was 20 minutes at Electric Zoo 2010 at the very end of a LONG weekend, at which point my body had been through a lot and Armin Van Buuren was on the main stage. But I wanted to check out Bassnectar and see what all the hype was about. I squeezed my way into an over-capacity tent, hot and sweaty towards the back right side. Everybody was bobbing to the beat with their arms in the air with an up-and-down Dubstep dancing motion (you know the one) as heavy, heavy bass filled the tent. I tried hard to get into the groove but I just couldn’t do it. My friends were at Armin and all I wanted was some epic Trance to finish the weekend – so I left, imagining Bassnectar live would never be for me.
Fast forward to April 19, 2012. Bassnectar has blown the FUCK up in the past two years. He came to Boston last April and I didn’t even care enough to go. But this year something changed with me. Boston was abuzz with the impending shows – two sold out events on the days leading up to 4/20/12. Bassnectar’s new album VaVa VOOM had recently dropped and his prior album Divergent Spectrum was absolute fire. With tickets secured to the second night (Thursday), I was pretty excited to get my first real Bassnectar concert experience.
Upon getting inside (finally… security is ridiculous at Boston’s House of Blues) I was allowed to get up in front of the barrier to take a couple pictures, before being pushed out by security due to their “first 15 minutes rule” – which, by the way, is bogus and I will never understand. I did, however, notice Bassnectar’s ridiculous and awesome stage set up. As you can see from the pictures, he was inside a triangle of lights in front of three massive screens. The bass was extra heavy, thanks to extra speaker stacks, and the light show was out of this world.
While walking through the hot air filling the House of Blues and fighting my way through all the spunyuns on the floor, I realized I wasn’t going to make it significantly deep into the crowd – not with a camera at least. So we headed upstairs to the second floor, where every good view of the stage was occupied by someone leaning over the railings (no stadium seats up here). So we paused to take a couple pictures, take a piss, and up to the third and final floor. The view up here was far better (see above picture) and there was stadium seating, as well as vacant spots closer to the stage that looked down. After being yelled at by a particular security woman for taking pictures past the 15-minute window (seriously, what the fuck? People with smart phone cameras were lighting that whole place up. What’s the difference?), we settled at the ends of the third floor, sneaking in pictures when I could.
As I said, I was a skeptic. I really didn’t think this show would be anything to write home about, judging it on my prediction of Bassnectar’s song selection and his mixing abilities. Maybe it was the insane amount of bass being pumped through the speakers, or the decibals at which it was being fired – because I’d never been to a louder show there – or maybe it was the fact that I actually witnessed him mixing flawlessly between songs, but Bassnectar killed it. The madness never stopped and there was never a dull moment as Lorin smoothly transitioned between songs, adding filters and effects where he felt they would add to the sound (which they did), and getting on the mic to hype up the raging Boston crowd.
Songs off his new VaVa VOOM album such as “Ping Pong”, a personal favorite, and the title track featuring Lupe Fiasco, which is essentially a chopped-and-screwed Hip-Hop song with attitude, blasted through the sound system at the House of Blues. Additional tracks came from older releases, like his banger “Voodoo” and his West Coast Lo Fi Remix of “Timestretch”. I also enjoyed his unreleased remixes of Blur’s “Song 2” and Diplo & Don Diablo’s “Make You Pop”. Oh and did I mention Luniz’s “I Got Five On It” mixed with The Fugees’s “Ready or Not”?!
All in all this show was wild, confetti and balloons fell from the ceiling, the light show was amazing, and there were pink elephants in the crowd (see pictures). There is a reason why this guy sold out every show during his 2011 tour and I can only see him continuing to kill it into the future with his unique brand of Dubstep that infuses Hip-Hop beats with wobble bass lines and some Drum and Bass.
Were you there? let us know @mmibty