Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review: Bassnectar @ the Paradise, 11/10

I found myself standing in the middle of a sweat bath. As I turned to check out the crowd around me, I noticed a girl crouched on the ground next to me, with her hands touching the floor. Out of nowhere she yelled, “it feels like the floor is going to cave!”

Earlier, as I walked into the Paradise on Tuesday, November 10th, it seemed so serene—with only a few people smoking cigarettes and the bouncers flirting with the occasional passer-by—but on the inside a massive party was brewing. The entire floor of the Paradise was packed, making it impossible to move without elbowing someone covered in glow sticks. The stage emanated light and the floor shook from the sheer force of the bass. Who was the cause for all this madness? Lorin Ashton, otherwise known as Bassnectar. Bassnectar has grown in popularity, and his new album, Cozza Frenzy, has created fresh buzz within his fan base. He played to a sold-out crowd.

When trying to explain Bassnectar’s music it might be easy to compare him to the well-known DJ Girl Talk—both sample songs that are known for their catchy, dance-heavy beats. Bassnectar, however, has a unique method to creating his songs that focuses more on the underlying bass track of a song, rather than creating a mash-up like Girl Talk. His sound centers on heavy tempos that you can feel throughout your entire body. At a Bassnectar show, it is impossible to just stand around and bob your head; Bassnectar will force you to dance—for hours. This show was no different. For over two and a half hours, the crowd was enveloped by the Bass.

Bassnectar’s show at the Paradise was incredibly free format. He remixed old and new songs alike, in addition to playing entire tracks from his albums. “Cozza Frenzy” stood out during the show. As described by Lorin, the song is “an electro based song with a dup step beat and heavy vocals.” Bassnectar shows are addictively fun. It is possible to see him again and again and never get bored because of his huge repertoire of music. After getting through the playlist he had made for the show around midnight he announced, “You are all welcome to take the train home if you like but if you want stay I’m going to keep playing.” Not even one person stopped dancing or turned to leave. Bassnectar kept the crowd moving for another 45 minutes.

It is evident by watching Bassnectar on stage that his music means a lot to him. He uses projectors during his shows, which present not only "trippy" or hallucinatory pictures but pictures of soldier’s abroad, death, capitalism etc. The images are a powerful compliment to the music, exposing the audience to issues that Bassnectar would like them to think about throughout the show. During my interview with him, Lorin mentioned several times that he would like his music to lead to a social movement. He received a bachelor’s degree in community studies and uses his music as a vessel for change—offering an alternative to a faith based perspective. The next step for Bassnectar is convincing listeners to harvest the energy they get at shows to make a difference in their communities. To participate in Bassnectar’s community, and to download his new album, visit

-Lana Tkachenko

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