By Adrian Bowles
“Aha, hush that fuss. Everybody move to the back of the bus. Do you wanna bump and slump with us? We the type of people make the club get crunk.”
Big Wild asked the crowd if they were ready for new music and he immediately mixed in “Rosa Parks” by Outkast. This was just one of the many songs Big Wild remixed into his set on Tuesday, Sept. 6, in the Reno Events Center for one of the many Burning Man decompression events, which also featured Pretty Lights and Mikey Thunder. This wasn’t the only song featuring Outkast he remixed; he also played his remix to “International Players Anthem” by UGK featuring Outkast. Big Wild is known to mix in many hip-hop artists such as Outkast, Chance the Rapper and Hundred Waters.
Big Wild’s recent set was very similar to his set at SnowGlobe in 2015 and his set at the Do Lab at Coachella in 2016, where he also dropped his more popular tracks “Aftergold” and “Venice Venture.” Most people recognize “Throw some D’s on that B****” from Rich Boy’s “Throw Some D’s” and get excited hearing it over Big Wild’s earthy, euphoric beats in “Venice Venture.” Despite lacking visuals, he continued to play his more popular remixes, such as “For the Love” by Griz and “Show Me Love” by Hundred Waters.
Even though Big Wild’s set seemed a little simplistic next to all of Pretty Lights’ gear, the energy in the room was apparent. Once “Aftergold” was mixed into his set, most people couldn’t resist dancing to the spiritual tune. Big Wild was constantly seen mixing songs on his controller, then going back to his drums where he could play on his beat pad and his bongo. He also brought a Cajon drum, and he sat on it while he played.
After Big Wild finished his set, the anticipation grew rapidly. The room within the Event Center began to fill quickly, with great hopes that Lil Uzi Vert would be coming on next to give a great show. People were excited to have the rapper in the middle of the DJs, throwing a wild card into the mix. After about 20 minutes of waiting, the fans began to get frustrated and started questioning when he was going to come out, or if he was going to at all. Unfortunately due to a confrontation behind the scenes with Lil Uzi Vert’s tour manager and Mikey Thunder, Lil Uzi was asked not to perform. Instead Mikey Thunder was asked to come back on the stage and perform for the second time that night. Fortunately Mikey Thunder’s genre-blending, bass-driven electronic music was able to keep the audience happy until Pretty Lights came on.
Mikey Thunder’s set was upbeat, playing Big Gigantic’s remix to “Ghostbusters” along with remixing DMX’s “Party Up.” His set sounded like upbeat house music with a twist of It’s All Good records. He continued by playing “C’mon” by Big Gigantic featuring Griz followed by songs with saxophone. Who doesn’t love the saxophone nowadays? Despite both opening and coming back on stage to perform, he mixed in a lot of crowd favorites to keep the crowd enthused. Being able to see all of Pretty Lights’ gear was only a tease, a way to see what they had to offer.
Finally, at 9:54 p.m. Pretty Lights came on stage and gave the crowd a complete show. Not only was the music booming and echoing around the room in the best way possible, they also had countless lasers and lights shooting all over the stage.
Derek Vincent Smith is the main force behind Pretty Lights. On this tour they performed as a group with three different DJs, a drummer and a man on the keyboards. They mixed for about two hours, mixing in some of their favorites such as “One Day They’ll Know” and “I Can See It In Your Face.” Their music was heavier than anticipated, sounding like a heavy electronic version of Explosions in the Sky and grabbing your emotions with each song. The highlight of their set was when they played their amped-up remix to “Finally Moving” that made the whole room shake. It was great to see the mix of burners and students returning for the semester, all jamming out together.
The burners and ravers brought out all of their toys during Pretty Lights’ set — their light gloves, glow-in-the-dark hula-hoops and their glowing jewelry. The vibes within the building were unreal. Everyone was happy to be partying together; it was a treat to be a part of. The only thing that was missing were the Burning Man art cars that were in the Event Center during the Skrillex show. That would have completed the whole experience.
There wasn’t a bad seat in the whole room for Pretty Lights’ set; the light and laser show offered a great view from every angle. At times the music and lights would get overwhelming for some people, but unlike at PowPow, where if you went to the back of the venue you felt like you were missing out on Flosstradamus or Flux Pavilion’s set, this wasn’t the case. The seats in the back offered a relaxing spot to view the show without missing anything. The volume was so loud you could hear everything from the back and the light show was so big that it was still very enjoyable to watch from the back of the venue.
It was interesting to see DJs take over the Events Center again; maybe this will be a reccurring theme we will be seeing. Hopefully Fresh Bakin can continue to bring us more amazing shows in the Events Center. With the burners returning to the city, one last “rager” before the semester hits us in full stride may have been the perfect way to decompress before we all have to get back to reality.
Adrian Bowles can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @b_e_nelson.