Bassnectar, Bassnectar, BASSNECTAR!!!!

Too bad if you say THIS B-word (or go see him live) three times in a row he doesn’t just appear in your living room ready to perform his greatest tricks. If that was the case, well that would be freaking awesome, but thousands of people would have little Bassnectars running around their houses. Most of the people in attendance at the two NYC Terminal 5 shows also raged out at the Montclair, New Jersey show at the Wellmont Theatre, the night before, with Lorin Ashton (AKA: Bassnectar!). The weekend closed out Bassnectar’s Freestyle Fall Tour 2012 in North America, and by this time some of these Bassheads were on their 4th or 5th show in a row! Throughout the entire tour, massive energy and anticipation was built up, causing this 3-day frenzy to be full of madness, truly creating the ultimate and perfect way to end the tour with a bang. Each night was special in its own way, and each night the man himself devoted all of his energy to pleasing his fans and making sure everyone was happy and dancing safely.
There is yet to be an artist in existence who cares so much about their fans, and actually shows it in every way. He does an absolutely amazing job at giving his fans a chance to get involved in the scene in many ways, one of them being through his team of AmBASSadors. Surely there’s more behind-the-scenes, but from an outsiders POV, the life of an ambassador involves wearing crazy costumes, getting people pumped up, and making sure everyone is having fun, but most importantly, being safe. And having people watching out for your safety during a show is rare but one of the greatest things. You will literally be dancing and sweating like crazy, wishing you had something to drink but not interested in, A) leaving your spot in the crowd or, B) paying 5 dollars for a water bottle (and most venues won’t let you bring in your own even if it’s sealed). Like some sort of angel watching over you, an ambassador appears in the crowd with waters, giving people sips for free. Once again, it’s the greatest thing ever.
The ambassadors are with Lorin at all Bassnectar tour shows, but taking his care to the next level, he also contributed something truly special for his NYC and Jersey fans during these last three days. As a way to help his fans get involved, while also giving back to the community, Bassnectar gathered people together on Sunday, the last day of the tour. Together they traveled to areas affected by recent Hurricane Sandy and worked on cleaning up homes and areas that were destroyed.
Bassnectar killed his Freestyle Fall Tour with the last three shows in New Jersey and New York, three nights in a row. He was joined by openers Griz and Gramatik, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Grizmatik just released their collaboration Digital Liberation is Mad Freedom a few weeks ago which was even better to hear live. Bassnectar is an artist who has enough music to play a show every night for weeks in a row (which he actually does) without repeating his set, and you STILL might not hear one or two of your favorites. Lorin literally lives on the road with his crew who he gave shout outs to every night. You might see one person up there performing and not realize how many people are actually behind this man. But, no worries, there’s no way he could let us forget about how many people it takes to create the show that he puts on. It’s more than just a show, though, the vibes, the sounds, the people, the experience – it’s not just going out to catch some live music. It’s something that people look forward to for months. The day – no, the minute tickets went on sale for these couple shows there was a 20 minute wait online and they sold out (partly thanks to scalpers… booo!) within the first day for Terminal 5. Quick note on scalpers: there’s no way to stop it but beware for fake tickets. There were people denied at the door for purchasing already used tickets (lame!!).
A Bassnectar show is ritualistic in a way. In days of preparation, people get their outfits and costumes ready and plan their route, where they are going to stay, and who they’re going with. It takes some serious planning when you’re coming all the way from Wisconsin or Minnesota, maybe even further! Terminal 5 had some really awesome costumes like Cat in the Hat and the pink elephant! It was super creative, this chick had a pink elephant trunk, huge ears and all. People arrive hours before the doors open to hold down their spot in line and get front row during the show. Carrying signs like “Bass Front Property” and “Birthday Basshead!!” – HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHELLEY! – Everyone’s waiting, talking about the previous night, what new songs he played and what songs they hope he plays that night. But once the doors open and the people slowly filter in, roaming the venue trying to pick out their favorite spot, the outside world begins to disappear. There is nothing aside from where you are and who you see. From the bottom floor, in the crowd, you feel the people melt into each other and become one giant mass that moves and breathes together. Watching them from the top, the sea that the crowd becomes pulses along with the music; people dancing but more like worshipping Bassnectar as if he is Ganesha, the elephant god, or something of the sort.
It’s hard to believe with how much touring Bassnectar does that he can still come out with new tunes. He pumps them out like a machine, mixtape after mixtape, with EPs always to follow shortly after. For these last couple shows, Bassnectar’s sets were literally out of control. He dropped some tracks that left jaws on the floor for days afterwards!! Of course, every song from the Freestyle EP which just came out was played, but for this tour Bassnectar took it back OLD school with Art of Revolution and all-time classic Cozza Frenzy. And speaking of classics it wouldn’t have been the same if he we didn’t get a little of Bassnectar’s theme song Bass Head! Particular to the Montclair show, anyone there was lucky enough to catch Bassnectar’s remix of Prince by The Deftones which is one track that emphasizes the wide variety of genres Bassnectar plays. That, and the Immigraniada remix, original by Gogol Bordello (just have to say this is one of my favorites and each time I hear it live is more amazing!). Something about Bassnectar that isn’t hard to notice is that he usually plays strictly Bassnectar songs (or his own remixes of other songs). This was the first time I got to hear him drop music by other artists, such as Proper Villains‘ remix of Bass Down Low. This track went OFF on Saturday at Terminal 5! He also did a remix of Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked by Cage The Elephant which, if it is his own remix, hasn’t been released yet and people were going nuts for that, too. I’m pretty sure he dropped one or two tracks from every album he’s released since 2004 at least.
The number one highlight of the last three days was definitely on the last night, Bassnectar dropping his remix of Magical World into Butterfly. These two tracks alone are those two special Bassnectar tracks that everyone falls in love with. Hearing the first, which was a huge hit a few years ago, merge into the next that is huge right now is indescribable! A giant disco ball started spinning and tons of white confetti were released during Butterfly creating an absolutely unforgettable sight. Not only is this man a musical genius but he’s one of the most amazing live performers right now.

Photo by Heather Marie Ryan