Smile Politely

Monday night rage with Bassnectar

The man with dreadlocks and a tie-dye shirt introduced himself as Froglegs.

“Having fun and raging,” Froglegs said. “That’s what it’s all about, man.”

I believe it. The crowd, the costumes (including the woman who wore the bear suit even though it was conservatively 120 degrees and humid in the club), the abundance of glow sticks, bracelets, necklaces earrings and, of course, the non-stop, spastic raging, pointed to a group who live for these nights.

The band was Bassnectar, an electronic music group who played to a sold out crowd in the large room of the Canopy Club on Monday. Bassnectar is commonly featured on the festival circuit and can be found this year at Summer Camp, Bonnaroo, the All Good Music Festival, Wanderlust Music Festival and anything else worth going to if you like to rage.



Bassnectar, fronted by Lorin Ashton with a revolving door of contributing artists, has apparently released a studio album every year since its conception in 2001, but I haven’t heard any of them. I don’t think I would want to after this show.

I’m not saying I didn’t like them; I’m saying just the opposite.

I simply don’t believe that what I heard Monday night could be translated into a studio album—It couldn’t possibly compare to that visceral feeling that was brought about with the seemingly spontaneous musical choices, pumping bass, amazing light artistry and sound quality just shy of perfect.

I have never seen a crowd that excited—or stoned—on a Monday night. Apparently, neither has Lorin Ashton; his interaction with the crowd throughout the night consisted of variations on “There’s a crowd like this on a Monday?” or “Don’t you all have studying to do? Thanks for coming out.”

The sound that was made by this band is something that you usually don’t get to experience at a show unless you’re in the very front row to the far left—directly in front of the bass amp.

Ashton has been quoted as saying that he wants to create a full-body experience for his listeners; he wants them to feel the sound as well as hear it. Bassnectar literally creates a wall of full-bodied sound. This is not something that can be replicated at home with a studio recording, no matter how advanced the sound system.

The improvisation and spontaneous toying with the material are integral to a Bassnectar show (mirroring the live-for-the-moment nature of his fan base), so something like a set-list could never be applicable to the band. The entire show blended into one long, seamless experience. Ashton draws you in, hypnotizes you, and suddenly you’re surprised at how much time has passed.

Time is a human construct anyway.



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