The most exciting announcement in electronic shows since DJ Shadow, just a month later the House of Blues welcomed the Pretty Lights with Kraddy and Gramatik. Pretty Lights creator, Derek Vincent Smith has had an amazing year, putting on a noteworthy performance at Coachella in April and releasing three EPs this year: Making Up A Changing Mind, Spilling Over Every Side, and released just Oct. 22, 2010, Glowing In The Darkest Night. I was more than excited to see Pretty Lights in such an intimate venue, reflecting on their intense Coachella show, shared in a tent with thousands of people.
Due to my recent fixation on dubstep and the out of control Bass Gravy dubstep show just three nights earlier, I was eager to close the weekend with some of my favorite electronic artists. I was introduced to Gramatik and Kraddy through Last.fm, Kraddy being my top 6th artist played, only after Pretty Lights in 5th. Gramatik played rather downtempo beats but did a good job of getting the fans down on the floor and dancing.
Kraddy hit the stage to an excited crowd, many of whom seemed familiar fans. He played most of his beats solely through a Macbook, but kept each song on the fly and super tight. Kraddy completed his set with his hard hitting track Android Porn, sending the frenzied audience into a jumping dance pit. Kraddy hit it hard spinning deep bass dubstep, hyping up the audience to a point that each minute we waited for Pretty Lights to come out seemed like an eternity.
As we all itched for Pretty Lights to get us all back into a united groove, the anticipation only continued to swell as we watched the stage crew uncover an incredible setup. Pretty Lights had at least 7 digital LED panels covering the stage, front to back, all of which were synchronized to project fluid images. Pretty Lights was projected on the screens as they entered the stage, and it quickly melted into bright explosions of color. To the right of Derek’s screen lit DJ platform, Adam Deitch played live drums perfectly in time with Derek and kept up the whole night through.
Pretty Lights played a solid and tight set for what seemed like hours. Even though I was being assaulted by some of the most intense visuals I have ever seen, it was hard to stay focused on them for too long as the infectious natural beats flowed through my body and overcame me. The audience grooved as one, entranced by the seamless beats, taken over by the beautiful music that moved as one with the bold visual screens. Deceivingly abrupt, we were surprised when Pretty Lights bowed and ended the show, totally shocked that it was already 1:30 AM.
After mulling around for a few minutes, rather glum that the experience that was Pretty Lights was over, Derek returned to his microphone and announced “They just told me I could play until 3...” The hot and packed House of Blues showed no signs of wear, as fans screamed with absolute enthusiasm looking forward to an all nighter with Pretty Lights.
Pretty Lights continued as if the music never stopped, playing solid through 2:45 AM. (Please note, drummer Adam Deitch played along with Derek continuously through the entire four hour performance!) Right up there with Nine Inch Nails, DJ Shadow, and deadmau5, Pretty Lights brought forth one of the most intense lightshows I have ever seen. Only backing their even more inventive music, I cannot decide if the musical performance or the visual show was better; I am only left to say that the whole experience was intoxicating and nearly indescribable.
If Pretty Lights makes a stop in your city, I recommend picking up tickets and telling your friends; you will not be disappointed. If you are unfamiliar with Pretty Lights, or the genre itself, be sure to check out their website. All l6 of Pretty Lights CDs are available FREE to download from Pretty Lights Music. THANK YOU!
Setlist (included, no order): Finally Moving, Almost Familiar, Hot Like Sauce, More Important Than Michael Jordan, Who Loves Me, Sunday School, The Time Has Come, Keep ‘em Bouncin’.
*Please excuse my poor photography, as the photos do not do the exceptional live visual performance justice. I searched high and low, but everyone was just as I, too distracted dancing along to the music to snap any good pictures. Even more reason for you to check out Pretty Lights on tour.