Pretty Lights are no strangers to selling out shows, and this last weekend they showed The Bar Of Modern Art, in Columbus, OH that they can not only bring the crowd, but deliver one of the best nights of electronic dance music one can find.
The Colorado-based duo of Derek Smith and former drummer Cory Eberhart sold out every date of their fall 2009 tour, and, now armed with new drummer Adam Deitch, Pretty Lights is selling out dates weeks in advance. This particular show was rumored to be oversold before we even got to the venue. The front lawn was crowded with people looking for extras. The show was absolutely sold out, and BOMA employees were estimating the crowd to be larger than 2,000 people. Big props to Pretty Lights for selling out the show, but what it resulted in for fans was one crowded, sweaty mass of people. Getting onto the floor was nearly impossible by the time Pretty Lights started, and the balcony loft was only open to VIPs.
The venue had an electric energy before the set. An anxious half hour after the opener, Pretty Light’s protégé Michael Menert, Smith, and Deitch took the stage. True to their name, they supplied plenty of pretty lights, including a huge screen behind the stage where different visualizers for each song were projected. Standing to the left of the stage directly in his path, the crowd was was blown away by Deitch’s skill. You could hear the precision and style of PL’s new addition and feel the kick drum in your chest. Once you get to see a D.J. with a live drummer, you’ll be wishing that every electronic act had one. Obviously the sounds and vibrations that a live drummer brings can’t be truly replicated by electronic drum pads, and Dietch doesn’t let you forget it. His rhythm is on point and precise, but watching him play he seems smooth and loose. Previous drummer Cory Eberhard was replaced in August because, as Smith told The Boston Herald, “I really wanted to have a drummer onstage and have that dynamic, but I wasn’t feeling like he was bringing an extra flair or flavor to the show.” Eberhard was not involved in the inception phase of the music, but Deitch, a producer and Berklee grad, has already released three new EPs with Smith this year alone.
PL’s set was well rounded and displayed their flexibility and broad taste. Within the first few songs they played around with deep bass synth lines, quick higher grooves, and hard drum features. Smith waited until nearly halfway through the set to really drop the WOMP, which was smartly played. Too many DJs today rely on the instant body-moving gratification of the filtered bass sound, as any of the many critics of dub step will tell you. Smith’s samples and higher synth melodies are so catchy, he almost doesn’t need it. No complaints though; when the bass dropped the crowd went into a frenzy, myself included.
The second half of the set featured more of his popular songs like the bluesy piano and horn heavy “High School Art Class” off this summer’s Spilling Over Every Side EP, and “The Time Has Come”. He surprised the crowd with what can only be described as a disco throwdown before he ended the show with “Finally Moving”, really capturing the vibe of the crowd; “Oh, sometimes, I get a good feeling, yeah, get a feeling that I never never never had before…”
Though the show was set to go until 2:30 AM, he ended his set at one, and wrapped up the encore at 1:30 AM. The crowd was, from the beginning of the night, rowdy, and when it came to the point of someone throwing a beer at the stage and hitting his laptop, he was totally justified cutting the rambunctious fans off.
Musically, Pretty Lights’s show was an irresistible dance party and the crowd was loving it. Hopefully next time he comes to town people will keep their drinks to themselves so we can get more of PL’s unique and cutting-edge beats!
Written by Megan Bender
Photos by Brian Hockensmith (check out his work, and more Pretty Lights pics HERE)