SHOW REVIEW: Pretty Lights (and Bassnectar!)

by | Nov 11, 2010 | MUSIC

Pretty Lights (and Bassnectar) with Chali 2na
Nov. 4 at The National

Last week in Richmond, something happened that I have never seen before. Two artists, Bassnectar and Pretty Lights, booked at separate sold-out venues in Richmond, coordinated a plan to leave fans of both in shock and amazement. Having been on tour together across the US for some time now, Bassnectar was booked at the Hat Factory here in Richmond, while touring partner Pretty Lights was booked at the National. Among those “in the know,” there was talk about the artists opening at each other’s shows for a brief, surprise set.


Pretty Lights (and Bassnectar) with Chali 2na
Nov. 4 at The National

Last week in Richmond, something happened that I have never seen before. Two artists, Bassnectar and Pretty Lights, booked at separate sold-out venues in Richmond, coordinated a plan to leave fans of both in shock and amazement. Having been on tour together across the US for some time now, Bassnectar was booked at the Hat Factory here in Richmond, while touring partner Pretty Lights was booked at the National. Among those “in the know,” there was talk about the artists opening at each other’s shows for a brief, surprise set.

I was in attendance at the National, and was able to catch the opener, a down-to-earth classic hip-hop set by Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na. He played what appeared to be solo material and threw in some of the J5 classics the diehards were hoping for. After his set, stagehands were bustling around stage quicker than normal. I was crossing my fingers that the rumors of a surprise Bassnectar performance would come true.

Sure enough, Bassnectar emerged to the shock of many in the crowd. He informed us that he was very happy to be able to do this surprise set, and that he had “never done a 20 minute set before, so let’s see how this goes.” Skipping his regularly scheduled “buildup intro,” Bassnectar flew right into the bass-heavy music that people on the other side of town had sold out his show for. I have never seen such a bass-heavy act at the National before, yet was surprised at how well the sound came through. The bass, the treble and everything in between resonated perfectly. The surprise set seemed to end too soon for many, but who could complain? At the end of his set, Bassnectar thanked the beautiful crowd and was rushed off stage to be driven across town to headline his sold-out show at the Hat Factory.

Like clockwork, Pretty Lights arrived, and shortly after sound check, both Derek Smith, the man behind Pretty Lights, and live drummer Adam Deitch appeared on stage. No time was wasted as they opened up their set with a very groovy tune (which I unfortunately do not know the name of). The energy in the room was through the roof. You could almost see the positive vibes flowing from the waving hands and mass groups of bodies swaying from side to side in the packed crowd. The LED setup and meticulously calculated lighting seemed to work wonders to those who might have been seeing Pretty Lights a little differently than the rest of us, if you catch my drift. The set included musical influences ranging from funk to hip-hop and dance-ready tunes that kept the crowd moving until after midnight. At one point, I remember the lights coming on and the entire crowd was singing the chorus of one of the songs. If you looked around, everyone was smiling. It was a feel good moment for Richmond that evening. Good, clean, fun music had taken over and we all were there to witness it. I have never had the opportunity to see Pretty Lights before, but after that night, I’m sure I will be seeing more of them, and would recommend you do the same!

Words By Alex Rose
Photos By Sam Allen

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.




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