North Charleston movie Theatre

Bassnectar(Mel_DAround 2008, fresh out of a relationship and unsure of how to feel about my newly attained status as a single man, I was in mopey hangdog mode. Staring at the wall like a modern-day version of The Shining’s Jack Torrance had finally lost its newness. I left the comforts of my social cocoon to check a movie at the theater across the street from the Pour House on James Island, a local music venue known for booking acts with a more rootsy bent.

Upon arrival, I was informed by the box office that said movie was sold out. I left annoyed, my eyes were instantly glued to a blonde dreadlock in a neon jumpsuit-type-thing. She quickly dashed across the street with a friend in camouflage leggings and ducked into the Pour House. The tiny marquee read “Bassnectar Live.” I had no clue what a Bassnectar was, but I figured it would be better to at least kill my musical curiosity rather than watch another Golden Girls rerun.

BassnectarTake(small)I assumed, based on past experiences, that I’d be seeing a band that was some hybrid of bluegrass, psychedelia, or jazz. Needless to say, I was a bit stunned upon entering when I heard the opening loop from A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It” (or was it Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side?). Either way, what California-based producer Bassnectar (a.k.a. Lorin Ashton) was creating was rad-sounding, and it got even radder when the bass dropped like a blast.

Spotlights were twirling, scanning over the heads of spectators while the aforementioned blonde dread was onstage doing some sort of interpretive dance thing. A few feet away from her in the tight quarters was a DJ with dreads playing with his keyboard and what I can only assume was a turntable. When he wasn’t making familiar loops a little bit trippier, he released bass-heavy noises and squeaks through the club’s speakers.

The hovering light show, the sea of dancers in the audience, the funk of spilled beer and burned reefer wafting through the air were coalescing to create one singular, exhilarating vibe. Naturally, it was the DJ’s ability to morph the gurgles, the broken loops, the chopped phrases, and the stuttering basslines into melody and rhythm that was responsible for this vibe.

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