Pretty Lights @ CAMP (London)

11 Aug

For those of our readers the other side of the Atlantic, Pretty Lights is a reasonably well-known name on the electric music scene, inspired by a Pink Floyd concert poster that read “Come and watch the pretty lights!” A name able to command a festival crowd such as Coachella and Bonnaroo, and fill clubs. With his popularity soaring stateside he has turned his attention to the UK, something that got us all rather excited over here at Can You Hear This, as most of us are long term fans of Derek Vincent Smith, the man behind Pretty Lights. So you can imagine we had to seize the chance when invited to go to his gig at CAMP in London.

In a basement of the City Arts & Music Project, there is the throb of excitement and anticipation surrounding the arrival of Pretty Lights. I’m circled by a collection of people trickling in from the street outside. There is strong presence of young American fans, one rather loud and boisterous that assures me that “this is going to be awesome!” He’s a student from the states, who was a follower of Pretty Lights over there and like myself is seizing this chance to see him on the London music scene. He’s started telling me his life story almost relating it to the Colorado musician’s rise. By the time he’s explained how he’s currently living in Kensington, I’m watching a dance off between several other excited, avid followers. The atmosphere is far past buzzing and into some further state of anticipation.

Then the man himself walked up to the array of electronics on stage, hooded and ready to go. The room exploded. Derek Vincent Smith is a man who understands music. He seems to have a natural comprehension of how it works, and he doesn’t so much play the instrument but simply allows it to amplify the movements in his body. The sound is seamless, capturing the beat and the tune perfectly. Not a word has so far been sampled in his tracks and you are aware that you’ve been caught up in it all and swept along. There was no amazing light show that is often synonymous with Pretty Light shows, but there was no need.

As you can imagine and hear from much of Pretty Lights’ music, he takes inspiration from a very wide spectrum of sounds, sampling from all genres and doing so with flawless style. I would ask anyone to check out his tour dates and download his music (he notoriously gives it out for free on his website) because if the show here in London was anything to go by, the UK will be taken by storm by this young artist.

 

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