With AmpLive and SuperDre
Fillmore Miami Beach
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Better Than: The last time Bassnectar was here last year.
As my ears are still ringing (and will probably continue to ring for another three days), the Prince of Bassness, Sir Lorin Ashton, brought his A-game -- and an LSD-worthy audio-visual multimedia explosion -- to approximately 2,500 adoring subjects.
Amp, dropped an infectious digital meld of hip-hop, click-hop, and reggaeton, all splashed into some traditional dubstep that meshed perfectly with Miami's tropical vibe. The highlight of Amp's set was his dubstep remix of DJ Shadow's classic "Organ Donor" that got us old folks (anyone over 28 years old) vibing out.
By 10:25 p.m., Amp gave a wave goodbye and thanked the fans as the house lights were turned on. What a sight to behold as a sea of colorful candy ravers and glowstick-toting jocks were dancing up a storm. The intermission DJ set kept this high-octane audience on its feet as the scent of Vicks VapoRub and weed filled the hall. Yes, rave lives!
At exactly 10:40 p.m., the house lights went black and the crowd launched into freak-out mode. Girls screamed as if this were a Justin Bieber concert, while the guys jumped up and down as if the Dolphins had actually won a game. And then the man of the night, Lorin Ashton, took the stage, grabbed the mic, and said, "Thanks so much for selling the fuck out of this show! And now I'm gonna do an extra long set because of that!"
The deep voice of Laurence Fishburne's iconic character, Morpheus from The Matrix, boomed from the depths with a snippet of his famous monologue, "Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. You've felt it your entire life, like there's something wrong with the world." Everyone was on edge. And -- bomb-drop -- in comes Rage Against the Machine's "Wake Up," a perfect opener for what's to come.
By now, sprinkles of stage light had magically exploded into a full-scale 3D experience. For those who were at the Bassnectar show last year, Lorin only sported four LED panels. Now we were looking at an entire wallcast that'd impress any jaded music reviewer. This was the next evolution of DJing, a full 360-degree multimedia journey, filled with earth-shattering bass that you could feel in your throat.
From Rage Against the Machine, Lorin plowed through, playing tracks off his new album, Divergent Spectrum, mixed in with some odd pop-culture pairings like an ode to the Hawaii Five-0 theme song that got the crowd surfing.
However, throughout the first 15 minutes of Lorin's set, one could hear some pretty blatant skips during his transitions. Is this some new form of dubstep that no one has experienced called "train-wrecking"? Were these glitches part of the remix? Thankfully, Lorin was not delving into IDM and the stage was quickly swarmed by technicians trying to fix one of his computers. No worries, everyone. Bassnectar is a professional! He continued his set with just one of his side computers as the crowd barely even noticed what had happened.
One of Bassnectar's biggest wins was his ability to mashup various styles of music into his signature brand of dubstep. From Nirvana's "Breed" to B-52's "Love Shack" to Miami's own 2 Live Crew to EDM veteran Amon Tobin and reggae pro Max Romeo, Lorin is a master. And the best example is his famed remix of Blur's "Song 2," which got the 2,400-strong crowd singing "Wahoo!" in unison.
Halfway through Lorin's set, there was an onslaught of his "Best of," including tracks like "Bass Head," "Wildstyle," and "Timestretch" mixed in with his remix of T.I.'s "What You Know." The old-school Bassnectar fans were pleased to hear his classics.
Then, not to be outshined by the oldies, Lorin played some of his new stuff of his latest album, particularly "Red Step" as the screens encouraged everyone to "Watch the lights go red." His remix of Gogol Bordello "Immigraniada" transformed the Fillmore into a speed metal concert. (Only at a Bassnectar concert will you find a mosh-pit and a raver crowdsurfing.) And then as if our bodies and ears couldn't take any more, he slowed it down with a beautiful remix of Ellie Goulding's "Lights" as billions of little lights flashed across the crowd.
Already floating on clouds of second-hand smoke, the crowd drifted off into the abyss of outer space, into the unknown heavens of bass, bass, and more bass. And to cap it off, confetti! Lots and lots of confetti! Just then, Bassnectar brought another atomic bass bomb as he takes to the mic, screaming, "Make some fucking noise!"
By now, Lorin's an hour and 30 minutes into his set. He thanked the crowd, asking if they wanted more. Of course! What sort of silly question is that, Lorin? And for another 20 minutes, Lorin pushed it to the limit, instructing the crowd, "This is the time, Miami Florida to go fucking crazy!"
Long live the Prince of Bassness!
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The Crowd: Underage tweens, tattooed hipsters, UM jocks, and random goth kids. Oh, and a dash of "old people" (i.e. those born in the '70s) who were probably all there to review the show for some music blog or pick up 19-year-old college chicks.
Random Dump: Rather surprised with the female-male ratio at a dubstep show! Unlike old-skool drum 'n' bass parties back in the day where girls only showed up 'cause their boyfriends were DJing, this Bassnectar show was flooded with hot, scantily clad chicks grinding away. Proof that women love bass ... and long-haired dubstep DJs.