Basslights Brings the Heat
The excitement builds as every mile passes. Before you know it, you’re turning down Coliseum Drive headed towards the affectionately-dubbed “Mothership” that is the Hampton Coliseum. Driving past rows of hotels, completely booked out by Bassnectar and Pretty Lights fans who traveled from miles around, you see the Coliseum looming larger over the horizon, like a spaceship ready for blast off, the closer you get.
Basslights is a December pre-Christmas tradition that has called the Hampton Coliseum home for the past four years. It’s easy to see why, as the building resembles a gigantic spaceship ready to Teleport Massive everyone who enters it’s doors into outer space. The event, a two-day gathering of old family and new friends, is an all-encompassing and a completely unforgettable experience.
On night one, you could feel the anticipation vibrating across Hampton, VA, as massive Basshead get-togethers at the surrounding hotels reached a fever pitch as fans waited for the doors to open. Sitting in the hotel room, you could hear the gradually intensifying shouts of people leaning over the balconies getting hyped, coercing more and more people from their hotel rooms to join in on the pre-show chants.
The openers of the weekend included Son of Kick, Marvel Years, Manic Focus and Break Science. It was definitely a family affair, Manic Focus and Break Science have a history of collaboration, calling themselves “Manic Science,” the seamless joinder of two artistic forces into one. Many used this time before the main acts, to play with their flow toys and reunite with friends, both in – and outside – the venue, and of course get psyched for the main event.
When it was finally time for Bassnectar to come on that first night, the tension and anticipation was palpable throughout the venue. As the moment grew nearer, a hush grew over the crowd, as if waiting for a surprise reveal. When Lorin walked out onto the stage, the awe-inspired hush turned into a furious roar, as sea of voices echoed throughout the building; in that moment, it was as though everyone knew of the serendipity that was about to transpire.
Bassnectar opened his set with a mellow track set to Star Wars visuals; seemingly appropriate since it was the weekend The Force Awakens was released. Throughout the sets, Bassnectar dropped tracks, the likes of Red Step, Generate, his Don’t Call Me Baby remix, and blew everyone’s mind by playing a Shpongle remix, transfusing the crowd with a state of complete euphoria.
After Bassnectar, Pretty Lights came on and blew everyone’s minds. Derek [Pretty Lights] has recently faced criticism and rumors attributing some less then stellar sets do to events that have transpired in his personal life. That night he put those rumors hard to rest. He came out swinging and did not miss a beat; playing songs that he hasn’t played in a long time and performing some incredible live mixing on stage. It’s easy to see why he calls himself Pretty Lights as he has one of the best synchronized light shows in live music.
Night two was pure insanity. Elevating the crowd to a level higher than ever before. Pretty Lights and Bassnectar both delivered incredible, surprising sets; Pretty Lights giving everyone nostalgia by dropping a remix of Run D.M.C.’s “It’s Tricky” and Bassnectar playing his unreleased Frog Song, which many bassheads have the goal of seeing live but never know when he will finally surprise them with it.
Overall, Basslights is more than a concert. It is a completely immersive, interpersonal, two-day experience that you never want to leave. After the shows end, people get together at the hotels and recall their favorite moments, spending time with bass family from around the country until dawn and doing it all over again the next day. Meeting individuals of like mind and developing genuine relationships with them. It’s not a concert; it’s a culture.