Pretty Lights @ Key Club in Hollywood
Pretty Lights played the Key Club in West Hollywood on Wednesday night, and according to one of my friends who moved here in January, it was the “best show yet in LA” that he had seen.
I have to agree that I had a blast grooving to Pretty Lights, even through the filmy funk of the Sunset Strip. Rolling up with five friends around 10:30, the line was as long as a laser beam. I am used to the underground shows that don’t really get going until 1AM and forget that normal events for normal people start a little earlier. Lucky for me I jump to the front of the line and walk right in, noting with relief that Pretty Lights had yet to go on.
Apparently the opening act, DJ Rootz, was kind of the shit. I had been told not to miss him but forgot, recalling this fact at the mention of his name aka: too late. I push my way to the front of the crowd on the right side, always choosing a dance floor spot that is edged with a wall or speaker or stage, keeping the throbbing mass of humans to just one side of me instead of all around (a little dance floor trick). People always ask me, “How do you get to the front of the dance floor?” Answer: You go to the front of the dance floor. It’s not like I take a pogo stick or something.
Pretty Lights comes on around 10:45 and lays one dope track after another on us for almost two hours. “EVERY SONG! EVERY SINGLE SONG!!!” screams the guy behind me, and he is right- every tune Pretty Lights drops seems to be a familiar favorite.
My current favorite, “Sunday School,” starts out of the gate with a lack of the usual crazy cheers and screams, which confuses me at first. This track is ridiculous and completely Biggie’d out. Then I realize that this song is off the new album which was just released last week, and the people around me hadn’t listened to “Passing By Behind Your Eyes” enough to be able to recognize the new songs or even know what the best ones were. Apparently not everyone is a super new music freak fanatic like me. Once it gets going, however, the whole crowd is in like Flynn and getting dirty all up on each other. But that’s okay- we didn’t want to go to heaven anyway.
Looking across the club then, I notice that the front of the dance floor was quite full of ‘normal’ people with no smell of the underground on them whatsoever. They are, for the large part, mainstream Angelenos on a night out in Hollywood. And they are getting down. Now this might turn some of you off, but I love to see people who are not firmly entrenched in the electronic music community dancing their faces off with arms raised, eyes closed and mouths open. It reminds me that indeed all humans are dancers, that every single one of us needs such movement meditation in our lives. We all have the fever; some people’s cases are just not quite as advanced as others. My infection is terminal.
Pretty Lights was really slamming it, and his set seemed harder and house-y-er than the previous times I had seen him at Symbiosis Gathering and the Electric Daisy Carnival. Super chunky. His music is widely accessible and truly I think everyone can find something to like in his sets, from a jaded underground scenester to your mom. It is difficult to compare a show at a Hollywood club with a performance on the edge of Yosemite National Park, and so I won’t even try.
A couple of songs after “Sunday School” comes my old favorite, “Who Loves Me,” and up so close on the right I had a great view of the live drummer Cory Eberhard. He adds quite a bit of value to the performance, injecting motion and energy into the show- a great idea to enliven a DJ set. Derek is to the left with a laptop, mixer and one other piece of equipment and behind them of course is the giant screen of pretty lights, sweet visuals and rainbow spotlights that dazzle the crowd.
The Key Club is a rounded venue with steps all over, which this shorty really appreciates because it means that I can see! I bounce around on the benches of the upstairs balcony for a bit with my friends then hit the bar below for a $7 Heineken. “Hey baby, come drink some Grey Goose,” random boy #462 says, so I hop the velvet rope (so fucking Hollywood) and chat him up for a few minutes before realizing that some of my other friends were in the VIP section right next door, enjoying the best seats in the house and an excellent view of Pretty Lights. So I hop that velvet rope too. The Grey Goose was flowing, the booties were shaking, and all was right with the world.
After a kick-ass encore the thick crowd bleeds out into the night, everyone buzzing about the fantastic Wednesday show and the continuous groovy vibe, strung together like a strand of lights by one hit song after another. Having such a close vantage point enabled me to really watch the DJ’s hands and buttons and knobs, and I must say- I am not sure exactly how much Pretty Lights was actually playing live. One friend estimated .5%. But for some crazy reason, I don’t think that the silver-stiletto’d, fake-boobed, fake blond audience noticed at all that he wasn’t really playing as much as it looked like – or would have cared one bit if they had.
All in all I had a great night, jammed out to one awesome Pretty Lights song after another, hung out with friends old and new and experienced bottle service for the first time ever. All DF5K-approved and highly recommended.
Pretty Lights is touring the nation and is all over the West Coast this weekend; check the dates of his upcoming performances here. And just in case you didn’t know, Pretty Lights’ new album “Passing By Behind Your Eyes” as well as all of his previous albums are available for free to download online here.