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Last Night: Bassnectar, VibeSquaD, ESKMO at the Fillmore Miami Beach

Click here to view photos of Bassnectar at the Fillmore Miami Beach.Bassnectar, VibeSquaD, ESKMO
Friday, September 17, 2010
The Fillmore, Miami Beach Better Than: Watching Avatar for the first time at IMAX in 3D ... while tripping on acid. There's no question that people in Miami love bass. Some might even say...
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Click here to view photos of Bassnectar at the Fillmore Miami Beach.

Bassnectar, VibeSquaD, ESKMO

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Fillmore, Miami Beach

Better Than: Watching Avatar for the first time at IMAX in 3D ... while tripping on acid.

There's no question that people in Miami love bass. Some might even say that our hometown is the birthplace of bass. Just go ask Uncle Luke, they don't call it "Miami Bass" for nothing. So it was only appropriate that the Prince of Bass, himself, and his diehard followers were in full force at last night's concert at the Fillmore Miami Beach.

Over 800 1500 people came stammering through the doors to witness producer, DJ, and long-haired extraordinaire, Bassnectar (real name Lorin Ashton), create a miniature musical earthquake that will have our ears ringing for the next three days. Bringing his "Wildstyle" tour to Miami in celebration of his upcoming EP entitled, well, Wildstyle, Ashton is no stranger to the Magic City. He was recently down here for Ultra Music Festival in March and this time last year, Bassnectar played to an overflowing crowd at the White Room in downtown Miami. And every time he arrives to town, he tends to leave a trail of zombie-bassheads rummaging the abandoned streets for their next bassline fix. Yes, there is such a thing as being addicted to bass and from the looks of the crowd last night, the bassers were out in full force.

But before we delve into the main attraction, let's not forget the openers, San Francisco native ESKMO and Boulder-based producer VibeSquaD. Both served up their unique blend of appetizers that helped build up the audience for the main course. ESKMO was the first to take the stage, with his ultra-refined and mellow dubstep/IDM that reminded one of an early Autechre-meets-Aphex Twins presentation. At times, EKSMO showcased his singing abilities as he crooned over his track, whispering soulful melodies laid on top of his sterile, metallic beats. If there was ever a case for the first R&B dubstep superstar, ESKMO is definitely in the top running.

After R&B dubstep came hip-hop dubstep fashioned by Colorado's own VibeSquaD. Quite possibly the most facial expressions I have ever seen done by one person, VibeSquaD was a modern-day Joker of sorts, with an ever-morphing grin that kept changing after every bass drop.  One couldn't help but notice that he did more dancing on stage than DJing. An occasional button push and a knob twirl here and there but all in all, it was Vibe's footwork and over-the-top facial enthusiasm that got the crowd more hyped than usual - oh, not to mention his Lil' Wayne-esque cheeky grin, as if he was showing off diamond grills but, to our disappointment, just regular pearly whites. It also looked like Vibe got a swagga-coach because his "brush that dirt off ya shoulders" dance was on point!  Whatever the case may be, everyone was anxious to see VibeSquaD off so that the man of the hour can enter his domain. 

Photo by Justin Namon/
By now, its 10:50 p.m. ... the stage is set, the lights are dimmed, the crowd is chanting "bass, bass, bass" and soon, their wish is granted. Like a roaring thunder moving across the desert, Bassnectar enters and the audience goes ape shit. Who knew there was such a big Bassnectar following in Miami but then again, it shouldn't be a surprise.  Floridians do love some breaks and bass, to which Bassnectar proudly provides both. 

He opens his set with a never-before played track and then quickly moves into his heart-pounding set. It's hard to track down the set-list as Ashton is known to improvise on the spot, mashing up everything from Nicki Minaj to Peter Tosh sprinkled in with speed metal, trance music and even classical. As if filtering through a smorgasboard of ear-piercing sequence sounds and uber-ground-shaking bass, there were moments throughout when one can pick up on his "hit singles" such as "Boombox", "Yo," and his so-called breakout single, "Bomb the Block", which received the biggest reaction midway into his set. Let's not forget his newest and ever impressive remix of Massive Attack's "Dream On" that was accompanied by one trippy light show that took the "multimedia experience" to the next level!  And of course, we definitely appreciated the Bassnectar remix of Miami's own Rick Ross' "Everyday I'm Hustling" and wanna-be Miami's own Lil Wayne's "Go DJ" to which we're sure both artists would've appreciated the dubstep makeover.

Photo by Justin Namon/
At one point during the night, Bassnectar had the entire place put their hands up, clapping in unison like they were straight out of a Whitesnake video music as he dropped "Falling", a brand new track off his upcoming EP. "It's fun to watch you dance tonight!" screams Ashton as the crowd screams back with pure adoration and love. Am I witnessing the first dubstep celebrity in the making or what? Ashton is like the Justin Timberlake of dubstep!  

By now, we're nearing two complete hours of Bassnectar head-banging straight through. And as if you couldn't take anymore bass, he just splatters on more, so much in fact that it'll make any regular law-abiding citizen vomit up vibrations. If there's one word to describe a Bassnectar show, its the word "Epic" -- by all degrees. Bassnectar takes you on a physical journey (literally) through bass ... bass so deep that you can feel it in your gut that'll make you euphoric and at times, nauseas. Thankfully, no one was caught wobbling in sickness, just wobbling in quirky dance moves and intricate footwork. Miami, you just got served with a whole lotta bass ... in fact, your bass intake was well beyond capacity and we can't wait for Bassnectar to come back for our annual fix!

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: A big shout-out to Michael, Bassnectar's official lighting guru who made his two-hour set one hell of a visual experience. In fact, I can confidently say that the lighting made half that show worth its weight in gold  We're talking Disney World light show status with a tinge of Oz Fest thrown in ... it was breathtaking.

Random Detail: Glowsticks are back, boys and girls ... or maybe they haven't even left. Regardless, everyone sported their neon color glowsticks, self-made lightning rods, and whatever psychedelic contraption they could get a hold of at their local Party City. It was definitely an added bonus to the already visual laser show that was already in place on stage.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Dude, that guy looks like the Situation from Jersey Shore!" -- in reference to describing VibeSquaD.

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