To describe any music with solely words is to inherently do that music a disservice. But with Bassnectar, the music alone doesn’t cut it, either.
Bassnectar should be heard, but you can’t hear it unless you see it, in the form of a light show that would make George Lucas blush.
And you’re not seeing it unless you’re feeling it, the bass line becoming the beat of a second heart rotating around your chest, a sensation like hypnotism, a full body release to the Temple of Wook.
There are a couple ways to look at the unified, raging bliss of a Bassnectar show. You could dismiss it as frivolous kids with more drugs than responsibilities listening to frivolous music. And it is that, sometimes, for some people. But I also see something different in that crowd of glitter flying, glowing orbs spinning, spandex flexing, and beautiful young people sweating.
There is also Zen to be found there — a release to the moment that is a central tenet of Buddhism, and the key to higher consciousness.
I’m not saying that Bassnectar, and Bassnectar’s cyber-hippie culture, is the path to enlightenment. I’m honestly not even much of a fan. But seeing so many happy, connected, inspired-by-light young people together in one space makes me feel hopeful.
This past weekend Bassnectar played three straight nights at Hampton Coliseum, our beloved Mothership. I checked out the last in the set, Sunday. We walked in as the first song was just starting to play. The music, the lights, the vibe, took over. The crowd headbanged with loving ferociousness.
Back when I was a teenager we headbanged to the rhytym of Nirvana, and our own suburban self-pity.
At Bassnectar, they headbang to letting go.
They headbang in deference to the light.
They headbang as an offering of the self to the collective energy.
Don’t believe me that the crowd at a Bassnectar show might be functioning on something of a higher energetic level? I can understand your cynicism. But maybe you’ll believe the Hampton Police Department, who released this statement after the show:
This weekend we were joined by Bassnectar and we really loved the community spirit that the fans had. This is a group of ambassadors dedicated to making sure that those in attendance are safe and stay hydrated.
They emphasize values like love, kindness, health, respect, creativity, treating others as you want to be treated, honoring family, friendship, and thinking critically.
We were so impressed by how caring and helpful they were so we wanted to shout them out.
Along with this picture:
I was talking earlier that Sunday with one of my most intelligent friends. He said that it will take generations of shift for humanity to turn away from war, to turn away from wrecking our one habitable environment, turn away from the deep selfishness that is at the root of the great divide between how the wealthy and the poor are allowed to live.
Bassnectar might just be fun music to dance to when you’re messed up. It might not be anything more than that.
But, once the dancing is over and this generation reaches its 30s and beyond….. if those fans and that culture decide to turn that energy and light toward dedicated social activism, watch out. Our world is about to become a whole lot more colorful, connected, compassionate, and I dare say content.