Bassnectar Hits Atlanta With NYE Bash
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
– Dylan Thomas
Do Not Go Gentle
As a view of earth from outer space emerges and disappears on the screens behind the stage, the tone of a bell begins to pulse. The words of Dylan Thomas’ famous poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night”, starts sampling over the airwaves. This poetic notion gives way to another vocal sample hinting at the celebration fans are in for. “Every time I look into your eyes I see the future”. By the time Lorin Ashton aka Bassnectar finds his spot on the decks, anticipation in the crowd has climaxed.
Snares and kicks of the 808s increase tempo and energy while another sample starts repeating itself, “Nobody got it like…ATLANTA!” Bassnectar kicks off his New Year’s Eve celebration with one of the heaviest songs of 2017, “Assassins” by Antiserum. An unbelievable amount of lasers, LED projections, confetti, and visuals reminiscent of Bassnectar’s recent ‘Reflective‘ EP sync-up in overwhelmingly perfect fashion.
Setting the Stage
Hours before the sold-out event, 22,000 colorful bassheads descend the escalators towards the basement inside Georgia World Congress Center. In 2016, Bassnectar hosted his first annual ‘family gathering’ in the same venue, but not nearly to this caliber. Rather than one huge LED screen in the center, there are three this time.
Every cement pillar throughout the venue has LED panels stretched more than 20-feet high on each side. Lasers and lights in all direction hang from the 30′ ceilings. Really, there isn’t a bad spot in the building. The visuals are just as stunning – or even more so from the rear of the venue compared to upfront. When looking straight at the stage from the back, the LED projections create an almost mirror-like effect. Visuals seem to infinitely reflect off one another between the screens, a seamless production element hinting at the celebration of this year’s ‘Reflective‘ EP series.
Bassnectar spins the first 25 minutes mixing a variety of other artists’ tracks. The Atlanta sweatbox is starting to heat up. One of the earlier highlights is when Bassnectar mashes the recently released “Kaiju’s Theme” by Jantsen with Gift of Gab’s “Spotlight” lyrics. The PK subs are certainly getting a workout with this one. The first original Bassnectar plays is “I’m Up” from the ‘Reflective Pt. 2‘ EP.
About 11:50 p.m. Bassnectar segues into The Ramones hit “Blitzkrieg Bop“. The fans start to sync up chanting to the rhythm, “AYE OH! LET’S GO!”. Then, the lyrics and heavy kickdrums of “The 808 Track” slowly fades into the forefront. The song’s drop proves to be more potent than expected while visuals of an animated boombox pulses away on the screens. Bassnectar carries this track nearly into the new year before seamlessly transitioning right into the drop of “Breathless” as the clock strikes midnight.
Visual & Audio
One of the more visually stunning moments of the night is Bassnectar performing his downtempo collaboration with Dorfex Bos, “Other Worlds“. The song perfectly syncs with the visuals created by Sebastian Wahl. A glimpse of hope and wonder come to mind as the phrases “Do you imagine?” and “You can get away” repeat over the twinkling synths. Midway through the track, fans of Pink Floyd can recognize a morphed sample being added into the mix, “Is there anybody out there?” Towards the end of the song, orange and yellow laser beams project forward and backward, miraculously shooting out and retracting in slow motion. An amazing moment showcasing the advancements in technology. Check out a video of the dazzling spectacle around the 00:43 mark in this Twitter video.
Later in the set, Bassnectar plays huge versions of his ‘Reflective Pt. 2’ “Disrupt the System“, followed by “Slather“. It gets downright nasty! To put it briefly, as one fan says, “Slather makes me want to take my clothes off!”
Another supreme highlight of the set is Bassnectar playing his remix of “Godzilla” by Egyptrixx. This song is a spooky, yet rejuvenating track that begs to be played at max volume. By the time the second drop hits, the bass freaks can do nothing but “take ya brain higher”.
The crowd is deep into a bass-induced set with little room for a breather. Ashton slows the energy with his euphoric “Underwater“, playing Kendric Lamar lyrics from the song “Love” overtop. He then follows with the downtempo collaboration with Sayer called “Psyopia“, an ode to distant-universe psychedelic utopias.
Towards the end of the show, a young 17-year-old named Xiuhtezcatl Martinez of the Earth Guardians comes to the stage. At first, what starts off as a political speech soon morphs into a freestyle about political justice and the changes this generation needs to see happen in the future. When Martinez leaves the stage and the cheers quiet, Bassnectar cues up the trumpets and horns of his famous track “The Churn of the Century“. A rarity for fans, this song deafens those who denied earplugs and vibrates the souls of all in attendance. Check out a video of the complete speech below, or with “Churn of the Century” on Youtube.
“Alright, hands up in the sky, my friends! We’re happy to be alive. We’re so [expletive] grateful. All the way in the back, we’re going to scream so loud, welcome to 2018!” Following the annual family photo, Ashton then says, “This is a song I have not played in many years, at least not in this form, and I’m pretty d*mn excited.”
The heavy, glitchy 808s of the original “Teleport Massive” kick off for Bassnectar’s encore. Images of a satellite dish and the lyrics of the song dance across the screens on stage. Girls start taking their place on the shoulders of their friends. It is once again an official dance party. Ashton transitions into a mashup of NIN’s “Closer”, blending elements of the Beastie Boys “What’cha Want” until moving into the final song of the night, a ‘Reflective Pt. 2’ collaboration with G Jones entitled “Chromatek“. The song whistles and flies, eventually glistening off into a distant and bittersweet silence, capping the end of the night.
PK Sound provided audio for this show with 50 Trinity line-array speakers, 50 CX800 subwoofers, 16 VX10s, and eight VX12s. A Cardioid arrangement was implemented for Bassnectar to reduce bass onstage, two forward and one back for the center section. Due to the fact that PK Sound could not stack three-high with this stage, they tipped the speakers on their sides to reduce the vertical height.
The team spent numerous days setting up. The picture below showing all the gear laid out ready to be put in place surfaced on the internet two days before the performance on December 29, 2017.
Soon after the event, the internet started to spew with negative reviews about Bassnectar’s disregard to venue logistics including water, lines, food, bathrooms, and disrespectful fans. There were apparently more people collapsing due to heat exhaustion and drug abuse than normal. Others simply said Bassnectar performed a haphazard money-grab set, lacking anything magical musically that he has not already covered this year.
This has since garnered a response by Ashton himself and the Bassnectar team via Reddit. You can read the complete message here. Overall, the team asks displeased fans to turn complaints into constructive criticism by emailing the Bassnectar team at [email protected] so they can improve upcoming events.
In addition, Ashton took the negativity to heart by responding on Twitter and a more lengthy, uncensored version on Reddit here.
“So seriously, to the other folks I was just wanting to speak frankly, not personally. But to you this is personal: I want you to understand you are LITERALLY the kind of guy who makes an artist want to stop being an artist. You are literally spewing draining, toxic nonsense, and you’re doing it with a self righteous attitude as if you’re some authority on me or my art. You are literally the exact person I hope never comes to a show again.
“On New Year’s Eve the level of intention I put into the messages was exhausting. I worked nonstop all December on that set… I haven’t played some of those songs in many years…”
Phutureprimitive kicked off the night, followed by Ott. and What So Not. All three performances were fun, mellow ways to get everybody inside the venue and ready for the main performance. Although there were no particular highlights, OneEDM definitely suggests giving these three artists a listen!
Connect With Bassnectar
Disclosure: OneEDM personally had a blast at the event as well as everyone we spoke with after the show.
OneEDM would like to thank the Bassnectar team, PK Sound, Georgia World Congress Center, aLIVECoverage, and all those who helped make this event possible!
Bassnectar will continue in early 2018 with performances at BUKU Festival, Okeechobee, and a two-night ‘family gathering’ in Chicago at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Tickets and more information can be found on Bassnectar’s website.
You can check out more event coverage on OneEDM here!