As euphoric as dubstep may be to the hordes of fans here in Colorado, once you’ve seen a gamut of artists with a laptop and a light show, it becomes increasingly hard to tell performers apart. This is why it makes all the difference when one of them sticks out — when one feels different.
Lorin Ashton — the human behind the entity known as Bassnectar — is one of the few unique dubstep artists, as proven Friday night at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. In front of a sold out crowd (for the first of a two-night stand), Bassnectar laid down lead-heavy tracks paired with stunning visuals for more than two hours.
From the first moments, the massive set of screens behind him — and the smaller ones in front of his stand — pulsed beautiful, jarring visuals somewhat timed with the rhythm of the mix. If there’s one thing that stands out between Bassnectar and the other elite of the dubstep world, it’s his composition. While certainly anchored by the indicative heavy bass, squawks and screeches, Ashton’s musical constructions showed a true mastery of complexity. Simultaneously switching signatures and twisting one measure across another, he gave certain passages an uncomfortable and welcome freshness. The set peaked when Mimi Page joined him onstage and added eloquent, fitting vocals.
While DJs like Skrillex and others hold court over the dubstep scene, Bassnectar has continued to recreate it — and Friday’s show proved that beyond any doubt.
Another promising set exploded from the Red Rocks stage earlier in the night from relative newcomer Alain Macklovitch — known as A-Trak. With a mix threaded by the constantly repeated catcall of his record label’s name, “Fool’s Gold,” A-Trak whipped the crowd into a hyped frenzy as they poured into the amphitheater, backed by some quaint 8-bit imagery.
Glenn Ross is a Denver-based photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work here.