We hopped on BART to ride into the city. We were headed for Pretty Lights’ The Illumination Tour stop in San Francisco by Another Planet Entertainment. Other concert goers kept getting on at every stop, seemingly ready to rage. I could tell we were getting closer. I knew we were in for a great night with such a ridiculous lineup as Pretty Lights with DJ Shadow, MartyParty and Paul Basic, but was unsure of what to expect of the venue. I didn’t know if it was going to be a big place or even how many people would be attending. Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was just a short walk from where the train stopped at Civic Center and a sick venue for how big and open it was. The giant wrap-around balcony on the second floor made for dope elevated views of the stage.
We walked in, checked out the view for a minute and then went to hit up the bar right as Paul Basic dropped his most well known track Daydream from his album The Mirror, released last year. The show was sold out to 9000 ticket holders but there were only about 1500 there at that point. Plenty of room to do some giggin. We tore up the floor and had some fun while Paul got the crowd going.
MartyParty, who is a really respectable and down to earth guy didn’t waste a second getting up there to keep the momentum going. We had the pleasure of interviewing Marty back in March, fresh off the release of his most recent album Six Shots of Jameson. Check that interview out here. This was the first time I have had the chance to see him live. The energy he brings to the stage is rarely rivaled in any kind of music. I think he was having just as much fun as anyone in the crowd — probably more! He played a bunch of his self-proclaimed genre “Purple,” and also dropped into some sick trap style tracks, furthering my belief that it’s coming up faster in EDM than even dubstep did.
DJ Shadow took the stage. I noticed that the place was really starting to pack in. In case you didn’t know, he has been around and been producing hits for way longer than anyone else on the lineup, and as a Bay Area resident I’m sure he has a huge local following. He is said to be one of the originators of trip-hop. I had been so amped recently for his set, possibly more so than for Pretty Lights. I discovered his album Endtroducing around 2002, and it changed my taste in music forever. That album was released in 1996, which is probably before some of the little prosti-tot ravers at the show had even been born. Boys and girls, you’ve got to respect your elders. He came out guns blazin, slangin nothing but bass. From downtempo hip hop instrumentals to the fired up drum & bass that I can never keep up with, he owned that stage for every second he was on it. At one point hip hop artist Lateef the Truthspeaker came out and rhymed while DJ shadow dropped a beat. He finished up with a drum solo on the MPC; a crazy display of musical talent.
The headline act was just about to start. A graphic came up on the visualizer behind the stage that read: Pretty Lights – 5:00. The clock began counting down the timer. We were up on top of the balcony in the very center to get a good view of the beginning of the set. The place was now packed. Where we had walked right up to get a drink earlier, there was easily a crowd a dozen people deep at each bar now. I wasn’t gonna miss any of this set waiting for a beer. The timer ended with Derek Vincent Smith aka Pretty Lights coming up and the crowd erupting. The light show exploded over everyone like a wave splashing onto a rock at the beach. Lasers, strobes, and flashes of all different colors of light came from all over the stage. The visualizer and his signature towers behind him were going off. He dropped all of the favorites; Finally Moving from his first full length album Taking Up Your Precious Time, which was released in 2006 and the single I Know The Truth from last year.
All of the artists put on a great show. I suggest catching any of the other stops on The Illumination Tour for damn sure. Check out those tour dates and the official site where you can get all of Pretty Lights music free right here.