Wednesday, November 24
@ The Fox Theater
Better Than: Your average college campus party.
This Thanksgiving, we should all remember to be very thankful for the Internet. The tool that has given us Wikipedia, social networking and, most importantly, cute memes, is also very clearly changing the course of artistic forms. Over the course of the past year or two, the computer has given us more free music than we could have time to listen to, and while there may be something lost in the struggles of music stores and record companies, Pretty Lights proved last night at the Fox Theater that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Good music will find support from large groups of people, no matter how it gets to the ears.
But if there's a major musical revolution brewing, it's happening primarily in the minds of a younger generation. Backwards caps, over-the-top hairstyles, excessive levels of makeup and raver glow bracelets were strewn pretty consistently throughout the audience last night, showing that Pretty Lights has attracted mostly college and high school kids to its fanbase. This makes sense -- Pretty Lights makes electronica with attitude, and there's a certain age (teens to late 20s) when approaching the world with such in-your-face style feels necessary. Everyone at the Fox last night seemed to walk with a strut in their step and a seductive glance in their eyes.
The opening burst of stadium-worthy digital arena rock -- which benefitted greatly from Pretty Lights' live drum set up -- soon balanced its energy out by settling into a string of slinking, deep grooves crafted from warm analog bass, funk-heavy hooks, and smooth soul samples. As the set went on, Smith began experimenting with forays into more specific styles -- drum 'n' bass, scratching, dubstep, and all of the genres he must've listened to while developing his current style of music. Brick thick walls of synthetic sound seemed to flood the theater to the point of exhaustion.
Honesty in advertising: If you looked at the sign on the front of the theater (which read "Pretty Lights") and paid the entrance fee without knowing anything about the artist, but expecting a damn cool light show, you wouldn't have been disappointed. The Fox Theater has a light plot that would make the makers of Fantasia proud.
Overheard in the crowd: "This is the closest real life has ever gotten to five hits of acid for me."
Guess that movie: I've been struggling all night to figure out which movie this person was describing with the phrase, "It's like When Harry Met Sally on PCP." Natural Born Killers perhaps?
Absurd shirt of the night: "D.A.R.E." Wrong place at the wrong time.
The ride home: Picture hundreds of raver kids -- still coming down off of ecstasy -- packed into a five car Bart train. Glorious dancing circles commenced, with everyone enamored by the talent except for the group of people too busy giving each other head massages to notice.
Personal bias: The Pretty Lights album Filling Up The City Skies. Consume it, live it, love it. It will treat you well for a long time to come if you give it the attention it deserves.
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