With a fairly expansive catalogue to draw from, Derek Vincent Smith has a plethora of singles at his disposal when preparing his sets. Last night, the Pretty Lights mastermind kept things a bit more on the mellow side. Dialing back the bombast slightly, he occasionally let the samples build into monumental drops, but ultimately, he eased his way through his set moving from one casual track to another.
The fans filling the floor of 1STBANK likewise maintained a mellower vibe, and although they responded enthusiastically, they never really went quite as hard as you might expect on the night before New Year's Eve. Over the course of his two and a half hour set, Smith pulled out a ton of tunes, including "Out of Time" and "Drift Away," both from Glowing In The Darkest Night, and remixes of Kanye West's "All of the Lights" and the famed Chicago Bulls intro remix from NYE last year.
Listing everything Smith played last night would be challenging. Even a true Pretty Lights connoisseur would have a difficult time picking out each and every sample. Nonetheless, other standouts included "Aimin' At Your Head," which had Smith mimicking a sniper motion, plus an unreleased track off Pretty Lights' forthcoming album, as well as a shortened version of "Up and Down I Go," which had the crowd bouncing in unison, and "Gazing At The Glare," which was in honor of the "true hip-hop heads in the building," as Smith put it.
Known for constantly stepping up the visual aspect of his shows, Smith has added a full backdrop of LED panels to the production, in addition to full spectral lasers (four to be exact). As glorious and aesthetically pleasing as those can be, however, the lasers came on a little strong last night, particularly in contrast to the more downtempo nature of the set.
The flashes and blinding strobes during the slower, transitional tracks didn't necessarily match the music, which made for some incongruous audio/visual moments. All in all, Smith didn't bring out the big guns last night. Perhaps he was holding back a bit in anticipation of throwing down at tonight's hometown New Year's Eve blowout, which is almost sure to be just that.
Personal Bias:I've got all the albums of all the PLM artists, the PLM smart phone app and the skills to call out songs before they reach the ten second mark. I was expecting greatness and last night was kind of a let down. The show wasn't so much boring as it was uneventful. By The Way:Porter Robinson played just before Pretty Lights and closed down his set with some Daft Punk remixes and a respectful remix of Avicii's "Levels," recently made famous (again) by the one and only Skrillex. Random Detail: The new sounds from Smith's forthcoming album foreshadow a much different, less blippy and spacey, sound.
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music