Too many broken up house parties right as it was getting fun. Too many shitty venues with shitty music charging $10 covers and making you suffer through that same played out song. This is thrown by your friends and the money will go to keeping the gallery running, this website hosted, and getting Deep Children their own sound system; not some dickheads venue owner’s BMW payment. You owe it to yourself to come support your friends and have the best New Years possible!
Pretty Lights headlined at the Washington Avenue Armory on Saturday night. I spent $26 on a ticket (plus an additional $5 in fees) and went with a group of friends. None of us were particularly familiar with Pretty Lights, or even the genre, and we didn’t quite know to expect.
To do my homework, I listened to as much Pretty Lights as I could the night before to try and familiarize myself with his work. Pretty Lights consists of DJ Derek Vincent Smith, who has been in the electronic music scene since 2006. On Saturday, drummer Adam Deitch accompanied him. Nothing I found online, however, could prepare me for the actual experience.
Photo: Keith Foote of jamforums.com
Due to the difficulties of wrangling cab rides for a large group of people (did anyone actually drive to the event?); I arrived late and missed opening acts Michal Menert and Chali 2na. However, the crowd seemed to love them. I arrived as the second act was finishing and there was already a swarming pit of dance and emotion. The collective state of mind could be described as altered, to say the least. Many fans rolled into the Armory ready to be taken over by the music. That is, those that didn’t have to wade through the immense blob of people waiting at the will-call line.
A thick haze of smoke hovered lazily over the mob of fans and helped enhance the dreamlike quality of the lightshow that was melting faces left and right. Lasers shot everywhere, illuminating the entire room. Behind Smith, a large LCD screen constantly assaulted viewers with continuously morphing images of abstract designs and colors. Strobe lights flashed in machine-gun bursts of radiance. In the pit itself, glow sticks and other flashing accessories cut through the darkness and helped to integrate fans into the spectacle. Clusters of people banded together, passed around water bottles, and let themselves be carried away.
Smith himself maintained a relatively low-key presence. He didn’t speak much, except to occasionally urge the crowd to cheer. Despite the heat from the lights, he kept his hood on throughout the performance. His calm demeanor on stage stood in stark contrast to the zoo below.
The music could be described as a soulful and intense dance party. A constant thumping beat progressed throughout the performance, highlighted by Adam Deitch’s live percussion. The inclusion of a real drummer, rather than a recorded beat, gave the show a fluidity and naturalness that lent itself well to the expressive nature of the visuals. It was like being consumed by a living, breathing, glowing organism. The collective bodies of the listeners in the crowd swayed and grooved in time with the fat and even funky sounds produced by Smith.
The event transpired relatively hassle free. As far as I was aware, there were no serious fights or any other forms of static. I did see a dazed and frightened young hippie hurry out of the arena with a comatose girl slumped over his shoulder. I hope she’s okay.
At the end of the set, the crowed erupted in a loving rush of gratitude. Smith returned for his encore, apparently impressed by the applause. “Damn, Albany,” he drawled, cigarette in hand. That seemed to be enough for him, however, and he finished off the night with an “Empire State of Mind” and “Juicy” mash up that was definitely a crowd pleaser.
After the show, the crowd poured out onto the street and commenced a fierce battle over the cabs that began swarming the venue. Fans dispersed in small groups, their ears still ringing from the deafening display of phatness they had just ingested.
Article written by Charlie Vella for Keep Albany Boring.
On the brim of the sea of people gathered on Hudson Ave, one tall individual distinctly stood out. His arms were thrashing about in the air, and he was rocking out to some music inaudible to our ears. As we approached closer to this guy, who was certainly not worried about drawing attention to himself, it became quite obvious that he wasn’t dancing alone. He was delightfully accompanied by a large slew of people dancing, strangers and friends alike. What is puzzling, though, about this seemingly-random spectacle of people dancing was that to the non-participant there was no music to be heard.
These attendees of LarkFEST were eagerly engaged in an event known as a silent disco. The concept is simple: wear a pair of wireless head phones, rock out.
On the stage were a handful of DJs broadcasting their beats through a speaker system where the sound waves are picked up via an FM transmitter and then picked up by headphones. It becomes part of what feels like an inside joke or some unstated understanding that those wearing the headphones are there to get down, dancing as if they were at a raging concert. Because, well, beneath those ear buds, they are. On the contrary, to the outsider, it looks as if people are dancing to nothing. Which is awesome.
The exclusiveness of the event made it all the more intriguing to watch and more fun to be dancing along. Smiles plastered pretty much every face as far as I could see as people danced, completely carefree and blissfully unaware of the world void of music beyond the headphones.
The Silent Disco at LarkFEST was organized by Gravity Entertainment, Dreamy Productions & SINsation Sound and was sponsored by Bombers Burrito Bar and the Lark Street Business Improvement District. Participants were given the option of which DJ they wanted to tune into. This year, for the first silent disco to hit Albany and LarkFEST specifically, talent included The Dark Flow, Eric Stewart, Jay Balance, Lazer & Blazer, DJ Scooter, RekOne, Milkdud, Scott Siz, Robin Moreau, Envy & Ballistic. Silent Storm Sound System provided the sound equipment.