Contributing Writer : Brooke Kettering
Contributing Photographer : Kevin Craig
This past Saturday, July 24, 2010, somewhere near the University of California Riverside (San Bernadino), an oasis was created for the bass-hungry youth of Southern California. I, like many others it seemed, was not able to arrive until about 11:30 pm…just in time for Bassnectar’s set. I was able to find parking pretty quickly on a side street to avoid the $20 parking fee. My friend and I ran to the venue after anxious anticipation throughout the 2 hour car ride from San Diego. There were still entrance lines and throngs of kids milling around the entrance when we arrived. I hastily ran to the fronts of lines, which no one seemed to mind too much since I had a special piece of paper wrapped around my wrist and because most of the young people in Southern California are super chill and probably thought, “She must have a good reason to be frantically running around.”
I ran to the centrally located, easy to identify main stage, “The Boom Box,” just as Bassnectar’s set began. It is arguable that there has never been as much human energy in the amount of space contained by the main stage tent as there was at this time and place. The tent was bursting at the seams with sweaty, body-rocking, contact-high emitting Bassnectar devotees. Bassnectar has an uncanny way of drawing a crowd and hypnotizing it with heavy, mind-bending bass. He(/it?) has the unique capability of putting thousands of people in a trance-like state, causing time and space to become as arbitrary as the person next to you who (accidentally, of course) repeatedly stomps on your toes in a fit of frenzied dance moves.
Well, he done-done it again. I quickly realized the up and down side of backstage attendance at a Bassnectar show. On the upside, I had much more dancing space than even the furthest back attendee in the crowd. On the major downside, virtually 100% of the bass is projected outward, toward the audience. It is a completely different experience depending on which side of the bass you’re on, hence the old adage “Face the bass”, where one can enjoy the full body experience of bass sound crossed with sub-bass vibrations. Other things became clear as I watched from the sidelines—1. I was probably the most/only sober person there,2. Bassnectar has as much fun playing the puppeteer as the puppets have absorbing the beats and dancing with them, 3. Just as Bassnectar lacks genre with music that transcends categorization, so too does his audience, as it is comprised of all ages, races, creeds, colors, professions, socio-economic statuses etc…creating an amalgam of human energy that is probably only known to exist in political and social revolutions, and 4. Stage security was going to be tough and relentless.
One thing that set this show apart from others were the sexy, weird, outer-space oriented dancers that took over the front of the stage as an extra element of visual entertainment, just in case the light show and screen display wasn’t enough. These creatively decked out dancers contributed a new layer of absurdity to the anomaly that is Bassnectar. I’ve been to my fair share of Bassnectar shows and it seemed as though he used an especially large amount of unheard/new material during this particular set. In an effort to appeal to all listeners, as he always does, he remixed one of Kaskade’s tunes, threw in his Kingston Town remix, diced up some Passion Pit, added a little Nirvana while maintaining a healthy portion of his own newer hits including Magical World featuring Nelly Furtado and Bass Head. In case I haven’t talked up Bassnectar enough, go check out the remixes and bootlegs on his website, experience the wonderment for yourself, and get stoked for his upcoming shows! And remember, enthusiasm is contagious.
Article Continued After The Photos
Not gonna lie, I stayed at the main stage the entire night. The lineup was just too dope to leave it! It was as follows: DJ Sin, Eskmo, The Cool Kids, N.A.S.A., Talib Kweli, Nick Catchdubs, Bassnectar, Kid Cudi, Rusko, Daedelus, and Nosaj Thing. Much to everyone’s dismay, Kid Cudi was kind of a disappointment. It could’ve been the bass withdrawal after Bassnectar’s set, but Kid Cudi was simply not that impressive. Rusko, his successor, however, stepped it up! He played new versions of his most adored hits including Cockney Thug and Woo Boost…which were crowd pleasers for sure! Despite the dispersion of attendees at this point, the energy was kept turned up as Rusko brought the sub-woofers back to life. There were far less people at the main stage for Rusko’s set which allowed for more room for getting down, which everyyyone did. People were dancing from stage to stage, on the sides of the stage, in the water lines. The dancing didn’t stop. And everyone seemed to encourage the dancers that were getting into it, feeding off each other’s energy, making Audiotistic something of a Love Fest. Daedelus put on an amazing show as well. This was my first time seeing him live and will most certainly not be the last. Besides the fluid beats, there was a rap-accompaniment who was quite talented and added a nice, hip-hop touch. Daedelus also had dancers, only his version were naked, just painted, and included a hilariously entertaining larger man in tight gold leggings who was dramatically interpreting the beats. After Daedelus’ set, Bassnectar’s didn’t seem quite so strange…
Nosaj Thing held it down as well. I thought they rocked it; unfortunately, the scheduling ended up delayed so he only got a 30 minute set. He didn’t start until 3:30 am. By that time a lot of people had left or were too exhausted after the previous 8 hours of festivities to continue dancing. Nosaj Thing didn’t have the crowd he deserved, but the dancing space was appreciated by those who pulled through.
All in all, this event was epic…whether it was the full moon, the audience, the set up, the incredible light shows and visual displays, or the sheer talent of the performers and production company…we’ll never know; regardless, it was an event attendees will look forward to next year!
My only hope is that they make it a two-day camping event so that the party-goers don’t have to drive home or pay for hotel rooms!