Kyle Loomis is a journalism senior and Mustang Daily music columnist.
“This is my first time in your beautiful town,” the Santa Cruz native said on stage. “And quite frankly, we’re pretty excited to see how you do it.”
This past September, the dubstep DJ and producer revealed that the “secret show” on his fall 2012 tour was going to be a one-year reunion show at the picturesque resort on Friday, Oct. 19. San Luis Obispo must have made a good impression, and judging by the ecstasy and enthusiasm from both the 2011 and 2012 crowds, I have to agree. We know how to get down.
In similar fashion to my previous concert review, I will grade Friday’s event in a handful of categories: lineup, venue, atmosphere and security.
As a self-proclaimed bass head, I have to admit I was a little biased when determining this flawless grade for Bassnectar and Gramatik, which played the opening set (sadly, I came too late to see the first set performed by Gladkill).
Regardless of my natural affinity for dubstep, glitch-hop, trap and drum and bass (basically anything with bass so powerful it shakes the ground beneath my feet), I still felt compelled to award the musical talent with an “A+” for a few simple reasons.
Firstly, it seemed like nearly everyone around me was having a lot more fun than I was. Bassnectar is among my all-time favorite artists. Ever. And I was mild-mannered in comparison to the folks who kept screaming and bumping into me. Granted, I was a sober driver, but nonetheless, the crowd’s exhilaration and intensity was a pretty obvious clue that the performance was going well.
Even more impressive in my eyes were the tracks Ashton decided to play — many I didn’t recognize — which is a good thing. Friday night was my fourth Bassnectar concert, and each one has been different. In just over a year’s time, Ashton produced enough new material to create a new set with new tracks, keeping devoted fans like me interested. Friday’s set mainly featured material from his April’s album “Vava Voom” (2012) and October’s “Freestyle EP” (2012).
On stage for nearly two full hours, Bassnectar threw down some of his most famous songs, including “Bass Head,” “Wildstyle Method” and his remix of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.” The performance, which included a three-song encore, could not have been a better composition of the old and the new.
I can’t say it enough: The Avila Beach Golf Resort is the premier concert venue in the Central Coast area.
The concept of “bass on the beach” as the perfect combination has been a continually trending conversation topic amongst my peers since the resort began hosting big-time artists such as Bassnectar, Tiesto and Mac Miller — who all use a pulsing bass beat as the backbone of their music. If you love the ocean and love to dance, then why shouldn’t these two things belong together?
As far as stage production and sound was concerned, Friday night was the best that I’ve ever seen offered from any show at this location. The 60-foot-wide LED display behind Ashton was downright massive, and the sound system proved to be able to withstand the DJ’s incredibly heavy load of bass frequencies.
Don’t undervalue the resort’s feat of enduring Bassnectar’s sound. Bassnectar fans at Outside Lands festival in 2010 (yes, myself included) had to sit and wait for what seemed like forever until the festival’s crew fixed the speakers after Bassnectar blew them out nearly ten minutes into his performance. A repeat of that incident is something I’ve feared ever since that day, but Avila Beach Golf Resort pulled through.
Some minor grade deductions in this category are required. On the whole, the crowds on Friday night were friendly, polite and engaged. Such is expected at an electronic dance music (EDM) event.
However, I have to say, after multiple concerts at this venue, why does the Avila resort continue to maintain its all-ages policy? This tradition is entirely appropriate for the daytime summer shows, but Mac Miller, The Offspring and Bassnectar are not “family friendly” music events. Young teens with furry hats? A toddler without ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones? Absolutely outrageous. These events need to be for those of us who are 18 or older. Preferably 21.
The security staff did a noticeably better job on Friday night than the past shows held in Avila. Thankfully, there were no arrests made, no major medical emergencies (no one was taken to the hospital) and the boundary between the drinking zone and the rest of the venue was well-fortified.
Predictably, many of the concert attendees successfully snuck in some prohibited items, notably marijuana, as well as other illegal substances that are more dangerous. It’s not difficult to spot these intoxicated individuals, especially if you’ve been to more than a couple EDM events.
Indeed, drugs such as MDMA or ecstasy are prevalent in these situations, and nearly impossible for the security staff to find. And yes, they have the potential to be harmful and dangerous, which is another reason why allowing all ages into an event like this is a bad idea. Fortunately, as I said, there were no major incidents with the police or the medical staff, so these bad eggs were at least smart enough to keep their shenanigans to themselves and under control.