The one and only Pretty Lights made another stop at Red Rocks Amphitheater for a 2 night run August 11 and 12th. This marked the second stop on “Season 2” of the Episodic Tour.
If you read the ELCO preview for the show, then you probably have a pretty good idea of the talent that was present. G Jones, Manic Focus, SoDown, Daily Bread, all played fantastic opening sets.
Manic Focus surprised us with a live band, consisting of Jacob Barinholtz on drums, Patrick Riley jamming the guitar, and electric violinist Katarina Visnevska. Midway through his set, Chris Karns, a member of the PL band, came out and did a little scratching for us. Then to top it off, singer Carlile and ProbCause came out and laid down some awesome lyrics. Mixed in with some MF classics were a couple of his newer songs like his remix for Liquid Stranger, but overall it was a nice electronic jam with some groovy electro and hip hop.
G Jones was almost the highlight of night 2; his music is on a different level of production and complexity. Having seen him many years ago at the beginning of his career, he has come very far and turned into a distinguished act that could soon be headlining Red Rocks. Seamless mixing and transitions, disgusting and mind-boggling sounds, and a ton of energy! Here’s hoping he adds Denver to the end of his new tour with Eprom.
Its clear that Pretty Lights is trying to create a progression of concerts. The current iteration of the live band consists of turntablist Chris Karns, drummer Alvin Ford Jr of Dumpstafunk, and Borahm Lee of Break Science. He started off with an elaborate intro video, which featured Derek walking on a trail in the Rockies and then holding up a crystal which catches the sun, and then appears on stage in Derek’s hand in dazzling light. Dubbed the laser crystal, he referenced it several times throughout the night. I suspect its traveling with him on the tour, playing a role in the story. They launch into it with the Odesza remix of “One Day They’ll Know” and its take off. As with every show, the Lazershark was on point with an amazing light show which is nothing short of mind blowing.
Having only seen a PL DJ set and a different band set up, I was not quite sure what kind of sound to expect from this current band. It became clearer to me as his set went on that he has changed since the last I saw him. His DJ set sounded exactly like that; studio songs played out like any other. PL has since morphed into more of a electronic jam band of sorts. There were periods of laid back spacey and groovy jam outs combined with some upbeat and energetic favorites, with a flair of hip hop and soul. Derek even freestyled numerous times.
Night 1 had a slightly more downtempo feel in my opinion compared to the more upbeat set of night 2. Starting off with “A Change is gonna Come”, intro numerous flips and remixes like “Toxic” by Britney Spears, rapping from Derek, and even “Don’t Hate the 808” by Bassnectar. There were a couple possible new songs but could have just been a long jam.
All in all, both nights were awesome, PL and the band were on point and played incredibly well together and made some great songs. Let’s hope he comes back yet again next year!