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Bassnectar at the Hollywood Palladium, September 9, 2011 (review)

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If you needed any more proof that dubstep is here to stay, look no further. For two furious, face-melting hours, Bassnectar rocked the sold-out Hollywood Palladium, joining the pantheon of incredible artists to have played the historic venue. Click past the break for our review of the performance.

Frank Sinatra. Jimi Hendrix. Keith Richards. The Grateful Dead. Jay-Z. Deadmau5. These are just a few of the names to have filled the cavernous Palladium with adoring music fans, and it is a testament to Bassnectar’s cult following here in Southern California that his name now joins that list. What was once a fringe genre confined to the garages of South London is now a mainstream movement, and Santa Cruz based Bassnectar (born Lorin Ashton) has contributed greatly to dubstep’s growth in the US. Whenever we hear a massive, echoing Bassnectar track, the word “anthem” immediately springs to mind. Indeed, his album Timestretch was among the first dubstep compilations that we’d ever heard here at Dancing Astronaut, serving as an introduction to a genre that we really didn’t know too much about. The first time we heard “Bass Head” and “Timestretch,” we were floored. We’d never experienced anything like it before.

Bassnectar – Timestretch Timestretch - Bassnectar

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In the year since Timestretch was released, much of the hype in the dubstep genre has shifted away from Bassnectar and concentrated around Sonny Moore (also known as Skrillex) whose electro take on the core dubstep sound has captured fans across the world. The productions of artists like Skrillex, Datsik, and 12th Planet have tended to focus on creating new, harsh sounds, using sophisticated recording and manipulation techniques to create noises that never fail to surprise us with their sheer ‘filthiness.’ Bassnectar’s sound, on the other hand, remains a little more bass-driven and melodic — perfect for a large, open venue like the Palladium. This definitely affects the audience’s reaction to his music. While there were some fans in the crowd who opted to mosh, most preferred to engage in a slow, almost peaceful wobble.

We arrived at the Palladium just a few minutes before Bassnectar appeared on stage at 11:30, and as we made our way past will call, through the doors and into the venue’s main dance floor, the cool, dry Hollywood night melted into a hot, sweaty, dubstep wonderland. The first thing that jumped out at us were the spectacular visuals, a combination of four or five massive LED screens behind the DJ booth. The last EDM act to play a solo show at the Palladium was Deadmau5, and Bassnectar’s lighting design impressed the hell out of us, almost approaching the level of production put on by his royal highne55. As you can see, the hardcore bass heads in the front row were absolutely loving it.

The set was a blur of beats and bass, but there were a few new tracks that jumped out at us. One was an unidentified dubstep remix of Blur’s “Song 2,” a track whose catchy guitar riff and upbeat drums had the crowd up on its toes before a massive, earth-shaking drop. Other memorable songs included a dubstep remix to Dev’s “Bass Down Low,” Bassnectar & Seth Drake’s collaboration “Above & Beyond,” and Bassnectar’s remix of Arguill.Gates & Captain Hook ‘s “Open your Eyes.” The highlight of the entire night for us was Bassnectar’s amazing remix to Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.”

Ellie Goulding – Lights (Bassnectar Remix) Lights (The Remixes), Pt. 1 - EP - Ellie Goulding

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Another big moment was the always-memorable “Bass Head,” one of the first dubstep songs we ever heard, and arguably one of the best drops in all of EDM, regardless of sub-genre.

Bassnectar – Bass Head Bass Head - Timestretch

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As you can see, the grungy, long-haired Bassnectar was clearly having a great time on stage. Through the microphone, he told the crowd how excited he was to have sold out the Palladium, and how proud he was to have achieved this much success in his career. He came across as extremely genuine — a humble artist who is appreciative of his fans. Overall, it was a very solid performance enjoyed by everyone in attendance. While we can’t quite put Bassnectar up there in dubstep’s first tier along with acts like Rusko and Magnetic Man, we can say that he is well worth the price of a ticket. Here’s one final track that stood out to us on the night — “Boomerang” — just to bring things full circle.

Bassnectar – Boomerang (Preview)

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