By Brian Washburn
Music fanatics were blinded by the ultra-bright and electronically charged Pretty Lights for more than two hours last week at George’s Majestic Lounge. DJ and electronic/hip-hop technician Derek Vincent Smith kept the venue jumping, dancing and raving until almost one in the morning and the sold-out crowd did not slow down.
Flawlessly moving through one jam onto the other, Smith (and his live drummer Cory Eberhard) put on a show to remember and it definitely left dance and techno fiends wanting more. While Smith did play a plethora of music from his most recent album “Passing By Behind Your Eyes,” he also mixed in several fan favorites off his first few albums and even included mashes and remixes of artists from M.I.A. to Britney Spears. But it is not just the music that made the show one of the best of the latter part of 2009. The fan reaction to almost every tune, as well as Smith’s presentation of his set (never taking a long break in between songs and doing a couple encores) made a non-stop dance party possible to a crowd that was looking for any excuse to not stop dancing.
It is known throughout Northwest Arkansas how the music scene has been drawn into this dance/techno/hip-hop genre over the past couple of years, but it is still a bit surprising that Pretty Lights’ show sold out the week before the show. There was a long line outside the door up until the moment Smith took the stage. However, the packed house also had its down points throughout the night, especially for those who did not feel the need to dance and rave throughout the entire set. Those listeners were forced to the back of the venue, the side of the stage or to be packed into the middle or front of the venue like a can of sardines, which is not the most comfortable situation. This
leads to these fans getting restless and needing some room or just a breath of fresh air, which is perhaps the most discomforting criticism of these dance/techno/ hip-hop concerts.
While it is a fun time for about an hour, after that, for those who are not totally engrossed in the show or aided by chemicals, it can get a bit redundant and every song will become interchangeable with the one before except for the popular songs. A bigger venue would have given fans a more comfortable experience and created the opportunity for more fans to witness the brightness shining from the stage.
Pretty Lights definitely brought down George’s. Whether you are a diehard electronica fan (in which case you would have stayed for the entire show) or just a music fan in general (in which case you would have enjoyed yourself for about an hour then retreated to the back seeking more room), Pretty Lights performed one of the best shows of the year in NWA.