This is Marianne's pal Dena, commandeering this space one more time to bend your ear about beats and bleeps and bloops because that's what I'm digging these days. I am delighted to inform you that Marianne is recuperating nicely from her recent health travails and will soon be filling this space with more bizarre thrift-shop finds and concert recaps. In the meantime, doesn't Bassnectar have pretty hair?

Image via WhiteRaverRafting
Reading my better half’s ruminations on hipness the other day, it struck me again how we both have always had our antennae out for that next jolt of musical inspiration or transcendence. Sometimes we have shared our thrills in dark, sweaty clubs and concert halls and sometimes we have found them separately, but the common thread is that we are both always searching for music that tickles our neurons in ways they haven’t been tickled before. I shall always remember 2014 as the year I fell out of love with Rufus Wainwright and heeded a magnetic pull to electronica, which is how I found myself at a Bassnectar show in Las Vegas on November 5, grooving to phat beatz with a bunch of kids who were young enough to be my offspring.

I’m not sure how it happened, but these days I find I spend a lot less time contemplating jangly guitar music on my headphones and a lot more time blasting Robyn and The Knife on my Road Rocker in the basement while I play with my hoops or fold laundry. I’m still a newcomer to the genre and I mostly know just a handful of songs that I’m obsessed with, but I need energy and melody and beat, or I am just not satisfied. I was torn when I saw Bassnectar was playing at Brooklyn Bowl on my last night in Las Vegas before I flew back to Chicago. For one thing, I was boarding my bus to the airport at 6:15 the next morning.  But goddamnit, for once I had the cash resources to see almost any show I wanted and what I wanted was a nonstandard Las Vegas experience. I wanted to see a show that was not the same every night, so I bought my ticket and set my controls for the heart of the Brooklyn Bowl.

I saw the doors opened quite early, so I thought I would saunter in late, sidle up to the bar for a drink, and blend into the crowd. Instead, the line snaked out the door and onto the Linq Plaza when I got there. Shortly thereafter, they moved the line forward and we all stood on the stairs for about an hour for reasons that remain unknown to me. Between that and the fact that they frisked me twice and confiscated my brand-new Lip Balm before I was finally admitted to the venue, I could have gotten really cranky. As it was my feet ached and my lips were getting paler and dryer by the moment, but I could not help reflecting that this was the nicest and most polite bunch of people with whom I had ever been trapped on a staircase. They all seemed so happy I was there with them and I was Dena and we were all seeing Bassnectar together that I tapped into the welcoming vibe and felt my anticipation building. Then Mr. Bassnectar started his set and my hair stood on end from the bass, and I knew I was in the right place.

I’m not here to write a detailed review of this show. That would be no fun for me and I do not have enough knowledge of Bassnectar’s music to do it justice. The only song I heard all night that I knew was his remix of “Hello” by Martin Solveig and Dragonette, a song I first heard when it popped up on Spotify and which I have played as compulsively as just about any other song I heard this year. By this point, I wasn’t sure if my hair was standing on end because the bass was so loud or because I was having a mystical experience. The kinetic visuals enhanced this sensation, from Lorin Ashton’s evident enjoyment as he bounced back and forth between two laptops and tossed his long, flowing hair with abandon to the wonderfully trippy video projections that covered not only the screen behind Bassnectar, but also the front of the DJ booth itself. And then there was the delightful candi-festooned crowd, full of exuberant movement and joy, splashing beer on me right and left and then apologizing sincerely every time. I felt pretty bad that I had to leave early to go back to my hotel and pack, but I knew I would do it again the next chance I got.

I’m an old fart on the far side of my fifties, but I’m not dead yet. Once upon a time I was the youngest person in the room when the Dolls played their last shows at Max’s Kansas City (with Blondie as opener and Wayne County in the DJ booth, no less), and now I’m one of a small handful of obvious geezers at the Bassnectar show, almost forty years later. This flip in perspective seems completely appropriate when I think about it. My neurons fire harder and I feel more alive and energized when I place myself in these highly charged situations. I don’t know if always keeping one eye open for new aesthetic kicks and settling only for music that makes my hair stand on end ever qualified me as a hipster, but I fully intend to keep sticking my finger in sockets until I finally short myself out.