Concert Reviews

Review: Bassnectar at SnowBall Music Festival, 3/4/12


For the last night of SnowBall Music Festival, organizers brought back one of last year's headliners to close things out, which ultimately proved to be a wise decision. Looking out from the stage, it was readily apparent that Bassnectar has made his mark in the electronic-music world. Scanning the crowd, no matter where you looked, his presence could be seen -- even before it was felt. Countless people in the crowd represented Bassnectar by sporting a logo or rocking a BASS-HEAD T-shirt, or in some other fashion. And all of those people, of course, knew all the words to his songs, most notably tracks like "Cozza Frenzy," a cut that, unless you've listened to it repeatedly, isn't exactly the easiest to memorize.

When we spoke with Bassnectar (aka Lorin Ashton) recently about his forthcoming album, Va Va Voom, he mentioned that he wanted to go back through the years to find music that he missed out on at certain points of his life. Granted, it took a few classic Bassnectar tracks to get there last night, but eventually he came around with KRS-One, Beastie Boys and other classic samples.

The pace changed just a little when he went into the Heavyweight Dub Champion/KRS-One track "Arrival," but that's to be expected when you come out of gates swingin' with a song like "Wildstyle Method." Even through the first five tracks or so, Ashton only played two of his personal compositions. The mixing was spot-on, and the crowd, most of whom had braved three days of frigid temperatures for this moment, ate it all up.

It wasn't long before the glow sticks started flying at the stage (a phenomenon we have yet to grasp). Ashton, however, was undaunted by the barrage, and continued a barrage of his own, with bass drop after bass drop. The field for the main stage, a frozen whomp swamp, was packed out on each side, with bodies extended as far back as the lights would reach, making for a sight that was truly amazing to behold -- essentially two football fields filled with enthusiastic bass-heads.

And their enthusiasm was stoked by heaping helpings of bass, namely songs from Divergent Spectrum, an album that, in Ashton's own words, jumps genres a lot. Indeed, they veered from a Roots "Don't Say Nuthin" hook-sample into a raucous original track like "Fun With Synthesizers," which is so heavy and yet uplifting that you simply couldn't help but smile and push the beats along with your hands while your feet pounded the hay-covered ice field.


Personal Bias: I was asked to take the Bassnectar Family Photo. Since I also shot the family photo two and half years ago, this meant a lot to me.

By The Way: Ashton said he would be returning to Red Rocks this summer.

Random Detail: The field froze, just as expected, and folks were slipping left and right.

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Britt Chester is a writer and video producer living in Denver, Colorado. He's covered breaking news, music, arts and cannabis for Westword since 2010. His work has appeared in GQ Magazine, Village Voice, YES! Weekly, Inman News and the Winston-Salem Journal. He likes running, cycling, and interviewing people.
Contact: Britt Chester