Lorin Ashton, the DJ and producer also known as Bassnectar, speaks loudly and carries a big bassline. Loosely defined as dubstep, Bassnectar's signature sub-heavy style -- which pulls together elements from breakbeat, drum-and-bass and hip-hop -- really justifies its own sub-genre, and his distinctive sound has made him one of America's most-popular dance music acts.
Last night, over 7,000 bass-heads packed the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield (restyled for the occasion as the "1STBASS Center") for a bass-centric mega-rave featuring the San Francisco-based musician and other performers ranging in genres from dubstep to underground rap.
Promoters AEG, Ryan Dykstra Nightlife and Sub.Mission spared no expense on the impressive main stage to create one of the most intense audio-visual experiences this old school raver has ever witnessed. Party-goers jammed the crowded dance floor or observed the spectacle from the 1STBASS Center's stadium seating, as inflatable animals and gigantic beach balls bounced back and forth.
Bassnectar came on at 11 p.m., playing cuts from his brand-new Wildstyle EP (released last Tuesday and available in a variety of formats through Bassnectar's website), rattling the huge bassbins and seeming to shake the 1STBASS Center to its very foundation. The energy in the place was intense -- you could, as it were, feel the vibe -- as thousands rocked-out and fist-pumped to the booming low-end frequencies and trippy light show.
As a Burning Man alum, Ashton views his role as more than just a DJ or performer, using his music as a vehicle to affect positive social change. Thus, the Bassnectar show is a fully inclusive experience that reaches out to a large audience, and the party last night felt like a bona fide rave despite its corporate trappings.
Dozens of teenage hipsters dressed as Andrew Van Wyngarden or members of Animal Collective were perhaps testament to Bassnectar's wide-reaching appeal. Psychedelic dub producer and Shpongle-collaborator Ott started the night off well and with a slightly laid-back vibe.
Other main stage performers included Dan Deacon, who had a bit of a prima donna moment when he stopped playing mid-set due to sound problems that were lost on these ears. Underground rapper Brother Ali went down fairly well with the crowd, despite being something of an unusual booking.
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The 1STBASS Center's side stages played host to eclectic musician That 1 Guy, who made use of a number of unconventional instruments as dancers performed and costumed actors walked about on stilts. A booth was set up for tattoo artists to pen no-doubt-regrettable ink work onto daring or perhaps inebriated party-goers.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: I'm an avid fan of electronic music, but I haven't caught the dubstep bug the way many have (and I'm somewhat averse to "bass music" in general), but I had a great time last night and thought Bassnectar was pretty good if not exactly my minimal techno cup of tea. Random Detail: There seemed to be some frustration among attendees, some of whom had tickets for the seated area that didn't enable them to go onto the dance floor and vice-versa. By the Way: Props for having beer and nachos. If only they'd kept serving past midnight.