June 15, 2011 Bonnaroo 2011 – Pretty Lights
Just yesterday I returned from Bonnaroo. Although I imagine most readers are familiar with it, if you’re not, Bonnaroo is an annual Tennessee music festival, the largest in America, held from June 9h-12th. This was my second time attending and I left with the general impression that something about this year quite couldn’t match last year. Despite my criticisms, I definitely had the opportunity to see a bunch of great bands this year. Some bands which I was especially excited to see put on disappointing performances (Iron & Wine and Mumford & Sons), but some concerts (Explosions in the Sky, Arcade Fire, Widespread Panic, Matt & Kim) were amazing. But the show which defined my ‘Roo experience this year had to be Pretty Lights. Pretty Lights is an electronic producer/DJ who has an especially unique sound: imagine classic R&B and gospel samples mixed with trip-hop stylings and dubstep-inspired whomps. All his music is free online, so if you’re at all interested in it, definitely check it out.
Before the show Saturday morning (it started at 2:40 in the morning and ended once the sun rose round 5:00!), I was pretty familiar with his music. I had listened to a few of his albums several times, and my friends and I loved to blast his music, especially while intoxicated. I was pretty excited for his show, but was apprehensive: other friends who had seen him live reported that he was a mediocre performer and the crowds were horrible.
Fortunately, it wasn’t. I consider his concert definitely among one of the best I’ve ever seen. Sure, his music may get a little repetitive and formulaic, but he definitely can make a crowd move. Dancing and moving to his music, and seeing practically everyone around me doing the same, was like a religious experience coupled with his amazing light show. He played a lot of familiar classics, interesting remixes, and also some new material. His lights, which are his namesake, were amazing, but I was unfortunately a little too short to see over the crowd to see his full set-up in action. From what I could see though, towers and boxes and towers of light. If you have the opportunity to see him live, I recommend you definitely see him. – J. Lubes