The Bassnectar branded sign that greeted me read “You are welcome here. No one is entitled to your body. Respect and consent are required.” Security was swift and effective at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. Santa Cruz shark Lorin Ashton’s Spring Gathering was his first curated Chicago concert in seven years, and he nailed it.
Every detail counted. That’s what shifted my view on bass head culture. This two-day extravaganza felt safe and welcoming; multiple poster boards conferred words of encouragement and ambassadors gifted gratis mementos, such as colorful cloth wristbands, gold ‘bassdrop’ temporary tattoos and earplugs.
I observed. PDX producer Danny Corn ruled the stage as the giving altar allured me. Put one item down. Then, pick another one up. Foil-wrapped gum, hair ties and kandi bracelets lined the flameless candle adorned table. Masseuses and makers occupied The Haven. Water flowed freely, and there was no wait.
Fill my cup. Vodka soda, please. Los Angeles local TOKiMONSTA cranked her Kendrick Lamar “Alright” edit but hardly rocked the Lune Rouge LP. Jennifer Lee’s (TOKiMONSTA) impeccable beatmatching game stood strong. Persian-Ukrainian composer REZZ threw down with “Edge,” “Relax” and Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name.” Fire-engine red geometric graphics trailed behind REZZ’s Isabelle Rezazadeh.
Bassnectar’s 120-minute set began with “Blast Off.” I’d consider myself an expert at a little activity called rail-riding, nevertheless, there was no outdoing his headbangers. I steadily retreated. Noise vs Beauty–inspired visuals led the way, back to reality.