This exact phrase has been sitting in the “Blog Posts” note in my phone for probably around a year now (RIP, Basslights). Every time I open this note to review old ideas I see this and think, “Past self, that is so true. You are very wise.”
I’ve talked about Bassnectar a lot on this blog, although I’ve been kind of underwhelmed by the Nectar performances I’ve seen this year. Bassnectar, for the uninitiated, is a producer of what are often intense, hip hop-influenced, bass-heavy tracks. While he does have his more mellow moments, Nectar is an excellent go-to if you’re in the mood for some good ol’ fashioned head banging. His shows are high energy and high intensity and should come with a whiplash warning. Here are a few Bassnectar tracks to get you up to speed:
The crazy thing about Bassnectar is that, while obviously not true 100% of the time, a lot of his fans are just the most peaceful looking of hippies. We’re talking tie dye, dreadlocks, those funky pinecone necklaces (what are those about, anyway?), and crystals as far as the eye can see.
Let me tell you a story. When I was in high school, some friends and I decided to make a video for a French class assignment. We were reading Le Petit Prince at the time, and so for our video we decided to create an entirely new set of planets and act them out. My friend Arielle and I (this isn’t me just hanging out by myself, she is a real, live, non-me person who just happens to share my name) visited, among others, the Planet of the Spice Girls (“Si vous voulez être mon amoureux, vous devez être avec mes amis!”), and the Planet of 1969. The Planet of 1969 involved us putting on some of not-me-Arielle’s mom’s vintage funky clothing, sitting on the ground, and aimlessly strumming on guitars while acting stoned and repeating “Paix” in a sing-songy voice to whichever friend we had roped into playing the part of the prince. It did not matter that we knew nothing about 1960’s hippie culture, being stoned, or playing the guitar.
The reason I share this story is that because visually, Bassnectar fans often remind me of the sleepy, amicable hippie vibe we were going for in our Le Petit Prince video (and also I wanted you to know how very cool I was in high school). While I realize it is quite unfair to judge a book by its cover, life isn’t always fair, or whatever. That’s why I don’t get paid to pet puppies all day.
So the point is, I see Bassnectar fans and I expect them to give me a sleepy smile and strum fake chords on their guitars and flash me the “Paix” sign, but then I go to a Bassnectar show and they are going absolutely HAM (that’s “Hard As a Motherfucker,” Mom). The dreadlocks go flying and it’s a total trip, a complete disconnect between expectation and reality. And while I stand by what I wrote in my Notes app, that it’s “weird,” it’s also one of the many things I love about music and this scene in particular. Always keeping you on your toes, full of surprises.