As I hopped off of the 99 B-Line to UBC on Saturday the 27th, I was instantly absorbed into a group of 15 people looking for UBC Thunderbird Stadium. They, like myself, were trying to get their asses on the dance floor at the stadium to see Bassnectar. The problem with that it, due to the fact the show was “on campus” there was an 11PM curfew in place. Do you know what an 11PM curfew meant on this night? It meant you best be dancing your ass off by 9PM.
I like to think of myself as a concert veteran. I’ve been going to shows since 2010 and it is only a few times a month (if that) that a “first” happens to me. Bassnectar was one of those firsts. It was the first time I had been to Thunderbird Stadium to see a concert. After a few minutes of standing in the rain, security was strict for the event, I walked into the arena and I was immediately shaken by some bass. Gramatik was ending his set on the floor. He was in the middle of a huge stage, which was mainly black around him. He thanked the large crowd after his set and left the stage. His bass heavy dubstep then gave way to a total 180 degree musical shift as the next song that came on was some 50s swing music. I took this time to wander the arena more and to see just what else was going on.
At the merch booth I saw that, if you wanted them, they were offering free ear plugs. Shirts with neon typing saying “Wake and BASS” & “BASS HEAD” were for sale. Dozens of these shirts were in the crowd. The mainly <18 year old crowd was scattered all over the arena. Thousands were on the main floor, while hundreds were in the stands or in the lobby area. Security personnel had very little to do once the crowd was inside. Their friends on the medical side of things were quite a bit busier. Dehydration cases were all over the place. Also, a few kids were “having a bit too much fun” were seen passed out, or nearly passed out in the arms of a friend. No judgement was passed by me, or other bass heads. We have all been in that state at some point. I bought a few bottles of water and made some new friends when I handed them out.
As I worked my way around the arena to the floor access area, Bassnectar took the stage. The loud roar that erupted once he emerged, with his long hair, behind the DJ booth was quickly drowned out by what can only be described as “FOUNDATION & BONE RATTLING BASS”. Once I got to the proper area to access the floor, I was nearly blinded by the light and video show that was happening. There must have been at least 15 video screens ranging from mid-sized rectangles, to huge squares. They were layered two, three, sometimes four deep in areas. And, as expected they were all synched up. The lights filled the arena with blasts of colour and strobes. I was in awe as I walked down the stairs to the floor. THIS is how you play an arena.
Bassnectar is a master of blending the old with the new in his sets. He blended Bron-Y-Aur Stomp by Led Zeppelin with Drop It Like It’s Hot by Snoop Dogg. He blended his original track titled 100 with Hip Hop by Dead Prez. That second mix features a line that summed up the concert, NAY the scene perfectly “One thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain”. The music, the lights, the videos, the sheer number of people in the arena was a knockout punch. But once it hit, I didn’t feel any pain, all I felt like was dancing.