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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Live Show Review: Pretty Lights


When you mix hip-hop, electronica and down-tempo beats, sometimes the result can be a jumble of noises that, yeah, maybe you can dance to, but for the most part, the tunes could easily be mixed by you and your friends on your Mac. There’s not an ounce of originality, just Sisqo’s “The Thong Song” mixed to a faster tempo, or Nelly’s “It’s Getting Hott in Herr” with an added thump of bass for every beat.

Pretty Lights, the Colorado-based duo made up of Derek Vincent Smith and drummer Cory Eberhard understand this redundancy and droning, and make it a point to mix fresh beats, original tunes and the occasional sample of rappers like Jay-Z.

Friday (September 4) night’s show was held at the lesser known Athens Arena, which is nestled in a little town called Bogart, Ga., right off of Atlanta Highway.

The line to get in was composed of late-teens and twenty-something’ dressed in bright neon hats, multicolored glow-in-the-dark necklaces and Nike sneakers that looked like a fashion statement initially made by Kanye West.

The kids were ready for a rave, and luckily, Pretty Lights’ shows meet the criteria. I walked into the Arena and saw a swarm of fans pulsing to the beat of the bass, while a scattered few lined the outskirts of the dance party, fueling themselves with booze or adorning their bodies with glow-in-the-dark bracelets, necklaces and other accessories.

I looked to the back of the venue and noticed something very odd. The usual merchandise were being sold; t-shirts, posters, cds but there were also what looked like fossils, rocks and minerals lining the back table of the venue. When I questioned one of the sellers from behind the table why exactly they were selling rocks at a Pretty Lights show, I was told that loyal Pretty Lights fans are also “rock and mineral freaks.” In the middle of our conversation a dread-lock laden hippie-type came up to the table and looked over the rock collection, slowly making his way down the mineral buffet. So, Pretty Lights fans love colorful rocks and fossils. I can understand that.

Because Friday night’s show wasn’t just about the heart racing beats, and turnstile tricks; it was also about the colors of a light show. Green laser streaks flashed swiftly above the heads of the dancing fans below. Pink, blue, red and other colored spotlights repeated on and off, and all the while, the fans themselves were adding to the light show with their neon splattered shirts and flashy yellow glow sticks.

The show itself was put on by members of the Georgia Theatre staff, and based on the night’s turn out, it seems that our beloved, gutted venue was able to earn quite a bit of “Revive the Theatre” money.

And as the clock struck 2 a.m. and the green fog lifted from the crowd surrounding the stage, fans were doing more than just enjoying an electronic hip-hop show, they were freeing themselves from the worries that plagued the outside of Athens Arena.

A Pretty Lights show is more than music, it’s a time to cut loose and shimmy and shake your stressors away. And even more, it’s about bringing people together for the love of music, dancing and hell, even rocks and minerals (who would have thought?).

- Jessica Cole

Currently Listening to: "What's Yr Take on Cassavetes?" by Le Tigre

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