Review: Pretty Lights at the Egyptian Room at Old National Centre 

Pretty Lights, Eliot Lipp, Paul Basic, Cosby Sweater
The Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Wednesday, November 14

The Egyptian Room at Old National Centre became more than a venue Wednesday night. It was a bustling, freaky metropolis whose citizens were characterized by dreadlocks, neon bandanas, fuzzy boots, jewel studded bras, New Era ball caps and crazed facial expressions - all congregated in anticipation for the dizzying spectacle that was Pretty Lights.

The night began with spirited, yet mostly pedestrian performances from Cosby Sweater, Paul Basic and Eliot Lipp. The latter two -- both signed to Pretty Lights Music label -- showcased the label's signature electro hip-hop soul, but failed to provide more than background music to the clusters of people filing in, anxiously awaiting the main event.

When Pretty Lights finally took the stage, he didn't waste any time before dazzling the crowd with the magnitude of his light show. Imagine if Fritz Lang directed Wild Style and had Jerry Bruckheimer produce it - in other words: lasers, smoke machines, staggering LED light towers and screens, and yes, more lasers. But the light show, of course, was only half of it.

Pretty Lights masterfully juggles fuzzed-out synth lines, glitchy urban beats, drum-n-bass loops and rusty soul samples to create refreshing, groove-based electronic music that starkly contrasts with the drop-heavy gimmicks of many popular electronic music artists.

But what really sets Pretty Lights apart is his ability to transform whatever venue he's playing into a living, breathing urban space that is unlike any other. He used urban imagery (video footage of the Chicago Redline, saturated computer generated models of Manhattan skyscrapers) and his LED light towers projected skyscraper facades. But the appropriation of urban imagery is more than a motif -- Pretty Lights aims to recreate, and build upon, the complex sensual experience of urban nightlife and living; the barrage of people, lights and sounds. Overall, Pretty Lights represents a new wave of multimedia performance that successfully charmed and entranced the crowd.


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