It was a warm Wednesday night when I hopped on the T in Boston, Massachusetts with a group of six energetic college students sporting low cut sleeveless T-shirts and booty shorts. As we got in line, I couldn’t help but notice the variety of people around us on this Wednesday night such as rowdy drunk college students, thrilled adults seeking something different from their usual repetitive schedule, and exhilarated Bass Heads who, if you didn’t know better, might mistake tonight for being their birthday because of their gleaming smiles. It didn’t matter what age or what kind of person you strove to be; on Wednesday, April 18th you attended the House of Blues for one reason; Bassnectar had finally come to town.
Every component of Bassnectar’s show is well prepared and prepped. He’s not only become an icon of the electronic dance music scene, but he also has become a ideal figure for fans to latch on too. His music has developed into an easily recognizable and distinct sound that traverses between genres in order to keep his fans on their toes. One simply doesn’t know what Bassnectar will produce next, whether its something within the Dubstep realm or a Glitch-Hop remix of a song from the 70’s.
Fast forward to the juicy part: “And now, I will give you music,” Bassnectar said after thanking the crowd for coming. Suddenly, the room radiated in a red light and the audience felt the pounding bass from the floor. Shouts and cheers for Bassnectar filled the room once again as his single “Wildstyle” blasted on the speakers and sub woofers at full volume to start off the night.
As one of Bassnectar’s most well known songs, “Wildstyle Method” showcases Bassnectar’s incredible production quality. The combination of drums at different rhythms mixes with the easy to follow vocals. When the synths and wobbles come in, “Wildstyle Method” becomes one of the grimiest, funkiest songs to dance to. Bassnectar’s influences– post modern heavy metal bands such as Metallica and Nirvana– were embodied in the punchy and dirty wobbles, all kept in line with the assortment of drum patterns. Sometimes his synths will even switch to a synthetic Electro sound, just to give the listeners some variety and catch them off guard.
Flawlessly, Bassnectar mixed from track to track, effectively pumping up the energy with each new record. He flowed smoothly between a myriad of genres such as Hip-Hop, Dubstep, Glitch Hop, Drumstep, Drum and Bass, Electro and Breaks, and he constantly interacted with the crowd, saying: “Boston, you’re fucking awesome” and “Put your hands up at the drop!” In turn, the crowd reacted with shouts of appraisal, screams for more music and incoherent slurs regarding the happiness his music brought to their daily lives. Plus, he had helpers running throughout the venue, putting smiles on the faces of dehydrated teenagers by giving them free water.
The real fun began when Bassnectar dropped songs off of his new album, Vava Voom. An eclectic collection of Bassnectar’s production skill, Vava Voom crosses numerous genres just like his mixing. Some songs such as “Empathy” shift between melodic Dubstep and a 90’s Hip-Hop mood while others such as “Ping Pong” stick with a simple traditional Drum and Bass beat and easily followable lyrics, much like “Wildstyle Method.” Just when you think you know his style, Bassnectar would switch to a song such as “Butterfly”, an atmospheric track at 140 beats per minute that makes you feel as if you’re floating through the air, guided by the soothing lyrics of Mimi Page. A jack of all trades, Bassnectar also played “Laughter Crescendo” off his new album, a song that is inherently made up of happy synths, glitches and childish laughter that brings with it a free-flowing tone.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t until Bassnectar played “Vava Voom”, his collaboration with Lupe Fiasco, that I realized that this man had risen to superstar status. ”Vava Voom” takes Bassnectar’s traditional sound, mixes it with the clever lyrics of Lupe Fiasco and halfway through drops you into one of the nastiest Dubstep measures you could imagine. The wobbling synth compliments the drum beat to a point of perfection as Bassnectar switches up the rhythm, chopping up the synth and adding more drums into the pattern simultaneously. Immediately, when the crowd heard the familiar crescendo of the beginning of “Vava Voom”, shouts rang from everywhere. Behind him on the towering LED screens played the music video, with the occasional psychedelic image.