Written by Bill Whiting – [email protected]
The Colorado electronic recording artist Derek Vincent Smith, also known as Pretty Lights, paid a visit to a sold out Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky on November 10 while touring behind his recent release, Glowing in the Darkest Night. Electronic music sets an instant mood, and needs a DJ to get the party started. Michal Menert was the man for the job, and he delved into a series of mash-ups on his keyboard based programming from his disc, Dreaming of a Bigger Life. The Madison Theater’s packed house consisted of teenagers to thirty year olds, many dressed in tie dye in anticipation of the week’s upcoming Grateful Dead based concert. Dancing and swaying to Menert’s hip hop beats, the crowd packed itself in tighter in anticipation of Pretty Lights’ strut onto the stage. Walking in front of an enormous, lighted digital backdrop, Vincent Smith and drummer Adam Deitch sat at their instruments, and began with a pro pulsing sound that turned the floor into a frenzied swarm of intertwined limbs, and bobbing heads with pumping fists in the air. Smith’s creative sampling and original material works best in a live context, whether he is bringing new focus to the modern form from Glowing in the Darkest Night, mulling over the songs from July’s hot selling download, Spilling Over Every Side, or spinning the funk grooves of the March best seller, Making Up a Changing Mind. Indeed, Smith’s broad canvassing of music’s international stew of beats, computerized rhythms, and cut and paste networking has widened his appeal to an ever increasing audience via the appeal of songs like “More Important Than Michael Jordan” and “Hot Like Sauce” from the disc, Filling Up the City Skies. And, the Covington, Kentucky facility pulsated with life, much like the multi media mac controlled graphics that exploded with intense imagery on the screen behind the band. Glow sticks filled the air like it was a Phish concert on steroids, and a general sense of satisfaction seeped in with each successive, orchestrated movement from the players on the stage. By the time Smith and Deitch walked off to a standing ovation, the transformation of the Cincinnati area into a drooling pack of Pretty Lights fanatics was complete. Smiling and spreading the word as they walked out into a warm fall evening, the Madison Theater’s patrons had an experience via Derek Vincent Smith, aka Pretty Lights, that they would not soon forget.