Pretty Lights AragonPhoto Credit: Vladimir Zaytsev 

Derek Vincent Smith the mastermind that goes under the moniker, Pretty Lights, took Chicago by storm completely selling out two out of the three shows he performed during this stop on the Analog Future Tour.  React Presents and Silver Wrapper teamed up to present two nights at the Aragon Ballroom and one night at the intimate venue, Concord Music Hall.  I was lucky to attend Saturday’s sold out show at the Aragon Ballroom with 4,500 other individuals excited to see one of the most talked about productions in the electronic scene.

As we arrived to the historic Aragon Ballroom; fans lined the theater in anticipation.  This Chicago landmark was built in 1926 to replicate a Spanish palace courtyard and is filled with crystal chandeliers, mosaic tiles, balconies, magnificent arches and a ceiling beautifully painted like the night sky.  This was the perfect setting for the Pretty Lights Music takeover.  We arrived just in time to see SuperVision warm up the crowd as he scratched his way through his latest EP, Telekinetic, released this past summer through Pretty lights Music.  With the use of vinyl records and turntables, SuperVision awed the crowd playing original tracks such as “Super Like Vision,” “Ancient Souls” and “Play It Funky.”

pretty lightsvladPhoto Credit: Vladimir Zaytsev

Pretty lights hit the stage around 10:30pm accompanied by drummer extraordinaire, Adam Deitch of Break Science, keyboardist Brian Coogan of New Orleans All-Star, keyboardist Borahm Lee of Break Science, Scott Flynn of John Brown’s Body on trombone and Eric Bloom of Lettuce on trumpet.  This was the moment we had all been waiting for.  The sound was unlike any other Pretty Light’s show I had seen.  It was full and vibrant with every member playing an important role in this live experience.  They played a wide variety of jams, old and new, with incredible instrumentation that made every song into a VIP version.  The harmonies in the horn section added a special touch to every track that made these electro funk jams really come alive.  With the whole house grooving and the floor shaking, the band cranked out tracks such as “High School Art Class,” The Love You Left Behind,” “How We Do,” “Still Night” into “Gold Coast Hustle,” “Karma Police” by Radiohead (Pretty Lights Remix) and new songs such as “Athena” and “I Put A Spell On You” by Nina Simone (Pretty Lights Remix).  Broham and Brian threw down live synth and basslines, while Adam kept the hip hop feel on the drums.  Derek even hopped on bass guitar for some riffs making this show officially a live experience in all aspects.   Now let’s not forget about the production value that accompanied these talented artists.  The band stood on platforms lined in lights that changed as they played, while Derek resembled a conductor of an orchestra behind the DJ booth.  The lighting crew might as well be considered members of the band, since they were an integral role in this performance.  The combination of lights, lazers and a disco ball hypnotized the audience as they beautifully lit up the ballroom.

As the two and a half hour show came to a close, Derek Vincent Smith and the Pretty Light’s band showed their love and appreciation to the crowd. The A+ production value combined with a stage full of passionate musicians created a night that was one for the record books and in my opinion was one of the best shows I have seen at this venue to date.    Pretty Lights music is taking electronic music to the next level by breaking free from the stereotype that this genre is filled with nothing but button pushers.  If you get a chance to catch the Analog Future Tour near you, I suggest you take it.  No matter what age, race and gender you are, this is a show that will send you home elated and rejuvenated.  Derek Vincent Smith really outdid himself this time and I can’t wait to see what the future of Pretty Lights music holds.

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About Amelia Waters