Review: Bassnectar at Red Rocks, 6/18/11

Review: Bassnectar at Red Rocks, 6/18/11
Photo by Britt Chester

The rain held off last night for Lorin Ashton, aka Bassnectar, to drop the biggest set he's ever played in front of a sold-out show at his first headlining spot at Red Rocks. Beats Antique and ESKMO opened the night, but it was apparent that when the bass hit for the first time, Ashton would be attempting to play the set of the year.

The towering inferno of light and LED panels that backlit Ashton was beyond impressive, dwarfing that presented at Snowball Music Festival just a few months ago. The visuals for the night set a new standard: Revolutionary in regard to illusional perspective and thought-provoking in regard to the propaganda images of war and op-art icons seared into the retinas of everyone staring at the stage.

Review: Bassnectar at Red Rocks, 6/18/11
Photo by Britt Chester

The audio did not, however, equate to the visuals. Sure, we all heard "Boombox," "Bass Head," and bits and pieces of other songs off the Timestretch EP, but there just wasn't much to write home to mom about.

It was painful to find the beat in a few lulls in the set. Understandably, Ashton rages hard in that fortress of light, but when he sampled the intro of Hawaii Five-0 and everyone went crazy, I'm pretty sure it was out of confusion. The cut didn't match the moment, and thankfully it was short-lived, but it gave off that game-show feeling -- and the joke was on all of us.

Review: Bassnectar at Red Rocks, 6/18/11
Photo by Britt Chester

The Telefon Telaviv mashup, dedicated to everyone that has lost someone they loved, was the intimate moment of the evening. The towers of panels displayed starlit skies, beautiful images that looked straight off the Hubble Telescope lens, and everyone flowed along together, in unison, sharing the moment. The song went pretty deep into the samples, almost chaotic, but Ashton pulled out with a simple drum and bass tempo under some high pitched keys.

The encore sampled "Lodi Dodi," and thumped into a thundering mash-up that included a full Red Rocks anthemic vocal backing to Blur's "Song 2." "Lights," an official Ellie Goulding remix, sent girls everywhere in the venue into an almost fainting frenzy. It's like one of the girls' going out songs that sorority girls hug, cry, and now whomp to. It lost its appeal about halfway through the song, and Ashton switched things up a bit.

The transition into "Dyer Maker" wasn't perhaps the best choice at the time he flipped the switch. When he did slow things down on these breathier moments, the full theater would take note and stop bass slapping with their hands and air humping, but "Dyer Maker" kind of killed the moment.

(Reader Note: Due to the Westword Music Showcase and timing, we were only able to cover Bassnectar's set and not those of Beats Antique and ESKMO.)


Personal Bias: I am the king of the air hump and this is supreme air humping music. I also noted that I had a four foot radius of dance space where I was standing...which was at row 19, seat 12. People may not dance as hard as I do sometimes. By The Way: Someone died at EDC Dallas this weekend. Random Detail: They confiscated cigarettes at the door. No open packs of cigarettes. Stupid? I think so.

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Red Rocks Amphitheatre

18300 W. Alameda Parkway
Morrison, CO 80465


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