If you were in Denver this weekend for anything other than Bass Center, you were doing it wrong. Bassnectar’s first Bass Center festival since 2014 just obliterated the eardrums of everyone in attendance. People flew, drove, and hitched their way from all over the world to make it out to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City this past Friday and Saturday (July 29th-30th) for some delectable bass. Of course, the extended two-hour Nectar sets were the main attraction, but the openers held it down from gates (5pm) till 10pm each night. Production for this festival was off the charts. From stage set up, to visuals, sound system, security, and everything in between, Bass Center was a smoothly run immersive experience for all.
Friday began with a short set from Dabin, and then Minnesota took to the decks around 5:45. A favorite up and coming electronic artist, Minnesota has played shows all around the state and garnered a strong fan base that was out in full force for night one. The sea of bass heads welcomed a hip-hop hour by Lupe Fiasco and recited lyrics in unison during classics like “Kick Push”. Flying Lotus followed by Flux Pavilion had the crowd wonky as hell, even considering the major difference in the vibes given off by both artists. This was one of the best parts about Bass Center, there was something to satisfy everyone’s audible cravings. Judging by the crowd’s reaction it’s safe to say Flux’s head banging dub stole the hearts of the majority of attendees. That is of course until the main man and king of bass music made his debut.
Lorin “Entered the Center” to some kick-ass hypnotizing visuals and wasted no time getting right down into the good stuff. When the swanky intro cords of “Feelin’ Good’” emanated out of the speakers, it was clear that Lorin knew just what we needed. From there on after the night went by in a flash. The vibes from the crowd were unmatchable, which is to be expected from any Nectar show. Just about everywhere I turned, lasers were beaming off of big cheesy grins. Two hours of goose bump inducing bass brought on laughter, tears, and looks of otherworldliness. Some favorite tracks from night one included staples like “Science Fiction”, “Bass Head”, “Cozza Frenzy”, and of course newer Nectar classics like “Hologram” and “Mind Tricks”. What brought on the tears, you ask? Crywolf belted out a heart felt “Rising, Rising” live on stage totally unexpectedly. We love guest appearances and live vocals just about as much as we love a good Nectar show. Transitions were flawless, performers were mesmerizing, the visuals were mind boggling, and the crew of Ambassadors was vital in keeping the party hydrated.
Thriftworks, G Jones, AlunaGeorge, Porter Robinson, and Wu-Tang Clan opened up night two in that order. Thriftworks was responsible for a lot of the hype in the crowd as gates opened. Not only did he absolutely smash his set during his 5pm slot, but he slayed at the silent disco way later that night.
No rest is needed for these artists; the energy of the crowd is palpable and keeps the night alive until the sun breaks. Yes, you heard that right. Thriftworks had an incredibly intimate set for campers at the silent disco in the wee hours of the morning. The silent disco also hosted Lafa Taylor, Amp Live, Luzcid and more. Many locals brushed off camping because of its downtown location, but let me tell you, shit was a blast. The campgrounds were very accommodating and had plenty of nighttime and daytime activities like yoga, giant jenga, and slip n’ slides to keep bass heads amused. For those that didn’t stay the night but couldn’t quite shake the need to rage, after parties were held downtown at The Gothic and Cervantes but were sold out weeks in advance.
G Jones was also a highly anticipated artist playing Saturday night. The crowd convened as close to the stage as possible when he took to the decks at about a quarter to six. He did not disappoint. Hoopers were going insane at his epic drops and the bass was shaking my insides to the point where I was actually in pain… the good kind of pain, of course. To mix things up a bit were AlunaGeorge, the gorgeous vocalist and enticing DJ duo from the UK. Aluna’s voice is angelic and her adorable aura combined with her powerful yet sweet voice was a nice transition into Porter Robinson’s feels. Porter’s set seemed to be half live of his Worlds tour, as he sung and played his electronic drums for basically the entire hour. Visuals at this point were jaw dropping and had me feeling like I was in an anime space convention. Wu-Tang Clan after Porter was definitely a shift, but a welcomed one at that. Entering the Wu, fans rocking the W on hats and t-shirts flooded the arena. Some of the crowd was a bit hesitant to stay and left to take a rest in the stands, but those that held their ground seemed to be pleased with the hip-hop switch up.
Finally, the piece de resistance: Bassnectar’s finale. My god, there are few words for what Lorin gifted the Denver crowd this night. Between dropping tracks like “Ugly”, “Ping Pong”, and “Zogdilla”, he incorporated entrancing visuals that went from a single black hole in the universe all the way down to a single atom making up a human then back again. Bassnectar has a way of making his shows a transcendental experience; he encourages personal growth and befriending every soul in the crowd. Everyone is on the same team, in the same place, dancing their hearts out to the music they love. Perhaps the most moving part of the night was “Music Is The Drug” overlapping with visuals of lines from American Beauty, a film that inspires many of his fans. Fireworks and fire cannons closed out the night with a boom, literally. As I looked around it seemed everyone was speechless. This was undoubtably the best Bass Center to date. If you weren’t able to make it out this year, 2017 is right around the corner, see you there.
Written by: Melanie Gordon