‘It’s SnowBall anarchy’
Loud. Crazy. Wild. Three words that often describe Bassnectar’s sound. Even most photographs of the artist, usually with a wild mess of hair covering his face, give off the impression that Bassnectar is one wild and crazy guy. But the real man behind Bassnectar, Lorin Ashton, is actually thoughtful, intelligent and very passionate about electronic music.”I’m not trained in music,” Bassnectar said. “I’m just very intuitive. Certain types of emotions come out in my music a lot. I think about it in terms of energy and emotions and atmosphere. I view electronic music as an amazing way to reinforce all existing genres of music … Whatever kind of music you love, electronic music can enhance that. It’s not how loud it is, but how heavy it is. It’s not how it sounds, but how it feels.”One of two artists returning to SnowBall this year, Bassnectar almost didn’t make the lineup. The organizers wanted completely new acts for their second year. After loving the vibe and atmosphere of the first SnowBall, Bassnectar wrote a note to the promoters asking if he could come back again in 2012. He closes out the festival tonight.”(I wanted to return) after seeing how fun it was and how 10,000 other people were as foolish as me to go out there,” Bassnectar said. “It’s snowball anarchy. For all you know, there could be a complete blizzard. … It’s really fun for me.”Vail resident Greg Kondor first saw Bassnectar five years ago in Los Angeles and has seen him perform twice in Colorado. He thinks Bassnectar’s show will be one of the highlights of the festival. “The visual effects that he has, combined with the energy that he puts out in his music, you can definitely tell that he’s pretty much mastered it,” Kondor said. “He remixes a lot of different songs and takes different genres of music and makes it into his own.”
Also on the main stage for Sunday is Los Amigos Invisibles, a Latin-funk-disco fusion band that originally formed in Venezuela. The band became popular internationally when David Byrne (of the Talking Heads) picked out its CD on a whim at Tower Records in New York City. He liked what he heard and signed them to his record company, Luaka Bop. After touring for more than 20 years, the band never tires of performing.”Being on stage, there’s no question about it,” said guitarist Jose Luis Pardo (also known as DJ Afro). “Playing and still feeling that same thing you felt when you were a kid, making people laugh and making people dance – sometimes you travel 10 hours just to play for an hour, but the adrenaline – you can’t find it anywhere. Nothing compares to the stage.”Even though they’ve traveled the world, Los Amigos Invisibles is still finding new fans.”We love Colorado,” Pardo said. “It has been a recent discovery for the band. We love the place and the people there. It’s starting to be that a lot of people from Venezuela go to ski there.”While their American and European fans love to dance along to Los Amigo Invisibles, their Latin fans come to sing, sometimes louder than the lead singer himself.”For people from Latin America, we joke that it’s a karaoke concert,” Pardo said. “If they can’t sing along, they feel like they’ve been robbed or something.”
Pardo enjoys being both a performer and spectator at festivals. He thinks that SnowBall is a perfect place to come across new music.”I love to be surprised by a band that you’ve never heard of or seen before,” Pardo said.Many of the bands playing off the main stage fit into that “surprise” category.”People shouldn’t write off Dallas K and Plastic Plates,” said Latane Hughes, talent coordinator for SnowBall. “Those two playing back-to-back is going to be the biggest party of (Sunday).”Festival-goers looking to wind down from the craziness of Friday and Saturday should check out the mellow sounds emanating from the Groove Tent. Beats Antique is an electronica trio that adds some world flavor and Indian influence to their rhythms and melodies. The duo that makes up BoomBox also likes to slow it down with their special blend of funk and R&B. The Ballroom stage features a variety of laid-back bands that like to groove, jam, and aren’t afraid to get funky. Check out The Motet, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Gardens and Villa for some lazy Sunday entertainment.Frequent concertgoers know that finishing the last leg of a festival requires an athlete’s discipline.”It’s a sprint verses a marathon,” Kondor said. “You have to pace yourself in the amount of fun you’re going to have.”Whether it’s electronica, drum and bass, jazz, funk or indie rock, all the bands on Sunday’s lineup inspire to get everyone up on their feet and moving to the music. But when the sun goes down, Colorado’s most popular electronica genre – dubstep – will rule the night. With fans (and Bassnectar himself) eagerly awaiting his return to Colorado, Sunday’s final show promises to be nonstop. “With dubstep, there’s so much bass and energy behind it, it’s kind of hard not to dance to it,” Kondor said. “The crowd feels that energy too, so everyone’s always really into it. The music, when you’re there, I don’t see how anyone could be standing still: You gotta dance.”Rosanna Turner is a freelance writer based in Vail. Email comments about this story to email@example.com.