You didn't have to be a fan of the man's work to notice the intensity of the crowd's adoration, the impressive stage accouterments, and the fact that Bassnectar was, indeed, putting on an actual show. All weekend, the area in front of the Main Stage where big-name DJs spun at Ultra was swirling with people whose pupils were dilated, buzzing to the bass. Last night, Bassnectar -- also a big-name DJ -- was placed at the Live Stage for a reason. He wasn't just sitting behind a booth; he was out there on the mic, egging the crowd into a frenzy. All the kids brought their furry little booted feet over from the Main Stage to watch the man in action.
New Times writer Mark Pratt interviewed the artist recently, noting, "His eight studio albums since, which have been mostly self-released, have traversed a disorientating sonic spectrum he calls 'omnitempo maximalism' -- all speeds, time signatures, rhythms, and every sound source possible. This might be somewhat of hyperbole, but his sound is clearly a far more complex, eclectic, and structural entity than the distorted midrange bass and melodic blog-house hybrid that has exploded over the past 18 months."
The complexity was a nice change from the straight-up dropped bass of many of the other performers. That hybrid included a marriage of hip-hop and dubstep. Bassnectar sampled M.C. Cool Rock & M.C. Chaszy Chess' "Boot the Booty" and made it his own dubstep funky version. He asked the sea of people before him to put the smallest person nearby on their shoulders. Many obliged.
In every picture you see of Bassnectar that you might see on the internet, the entire crowd has their hands up in the air. Like not just most, all. This doesn't just happen; you need a strong stage presence to carry that many people, whether or not they're susceptible to mind control because of illicit substances in their system. The stage show was impressive, boasting pyrotechnics and endless amounts of confetti that blanketed the front rows, granting them, possibly, extra raver powers. Check out the videos for the true experience.