Massive sound systems, swirling lights, and a marching band drum line in the middle of thousands of ravers…wait what? September 17th was one helluva night at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, just across the street from San Francisco’s City Hall. The massive indoor arena was packed to the brim with young ravers gathered to see the night’s spectacle. While the lineup was full of great talent, there was one name in particular that was on everyone’s mind: Bassnectar.
The concert started close to 6pm, unusually early but not surprising given the venue and location. As people started slowly to fill in the arena, others stayed outside to explore the booths around the perimeter auditorium. Dozens stopped by the sweet air paint tattoo parlor to enhance their festivities with colorful and trippy designs. Others stopped by the delicious food court for a taste of artisan cocktails, snacks, and sliders. With quirky iPad DJs Low RIDERZ filling in between set times, the night was never short on music.
The crowd started to really get going with the arrival of Big Gigantic, the immensely awesome dubstep group that’s been touring across the west coast with Bassnectar. Incorporating drums and saxophone into their DJ performance, the group remixed and mashed classic dubstep and drum’n’bass tracks on the fly. Next came Dan Deacon, whose screechy “experimental” rock-electronic style divided the crowd. When Wolfgang Gartner finally appeared onstage, it was a relief, to say the least. Having seen Wolfgang multiple times before, I was still completely blown away by his set. Assisted by a set of powerful concert speakers, Wolfgang rocked the house with impeccable mixing and track selection. Dropping some amazing tracks off his new album, I feel comfortable calling him one the best dance artists around.
While Wolfgang’s set was one of the best I’ve heard in ages (for real), only one person could really top him off: Bassnectar. Preluding the headliner’s arrival, a drum line marched into the middle of the floor of the arena to crowd’s surprise and delight. Dressed with lights all over, calling it a “spectacle” sounds like an understatement. The crowd let out a deafening roar when the man of the hour appeared on stage. From there, Bassnectar kept the crowd worked up with a razor sharp set of dubstep, rockstep, drumstep, and everything in between. Combining flawless mixing skills with a dazzling array of lights and visuals customized for his set, Bassnectar took bass music to new heights that night. Playing until midnight, an hour past his scheduled set time, I couldn’t stop hearing the praises from people about Bassnectar’s set, and couldn’t agree more with them. It was truly a memorable night thanks to Wolfgang Gartner, Bassnectar, and a great job by the promoters. Make sure to check out Bassnectar’s new album Divergent Spectrum, as well as his new video below documenting some of his other recent live shows.