Lights All Night, Dallas’ longest running electronic music festival, comes at a perfect time to dance your way through the end of the year. This year, they caught my attention with a stellar lineup, including Bassnectar, Porter Robinson, and more. Being a New Years’ Festival and during winter break, Texas ravers from far and wide gather here each year to celebrate and dance under the lasers. Coog Radio was there to give you an inside look at what went down.
Ookay a newer DJ from Los Angeles, has been gaining attention and performing at various clubs and festivals this year. He has a few singles of his own out, but has yet to release a full album. Being a young and fresh artist, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from his set, especially in comparison with pros like Porter and Bassnectar performing, but I was pleasantly surprised. I had seen him once before at Spire in Houston, but this was a very different feel than being in a small club. With a much larger space and a pretty large crowd gathered for him, he started off mixing and playing live to warm up to the crowd. It was good, but his newbie status was noticeable, however I appreciated his vibe because it was clear he was just being himself. I especially saw this when he played his own songs, like “Thief” and “Lighthouse,” while also singing live vocals. I was impressed because it takes a lot of guts to sing in front of a crowd like that at an EDM festival, and although it wasn’t perfect the audience could feel his energy and it was definitely reflected. It was a good and fun set to warm up the crowd on a chilly Dallas night, and to get everyone pumped for the remaining performances of the night.
Porter Robinson, loved far and wide by fans all around the world, gathered thousands to party with him under the lights and lasers in Dallas. This was the set I was looking forward to the most because I had yet to see Porter live and I had heard many good things about his performances. He not only lived up to what I’d been hearing, but was beyond anything I could have imagined. As soon as he started playing, everyone gathered and you could feel the happiness and love radiate in the room, as he began playing a gentle intro with the robotic voices from Worlds he’s so well-known for, and then built up with insane drops leading into his songs. His setlist was balanced and perfect, as he played absolutely brilliant transitions and remixed his songs we all know and love. It was genius, and his experience and status as a pro was clear. This cute, skinny little guy with long hair and a beanie looks like anyone you’d see on the street, but has the power to make thousands of people gather and dance when he gets behind the DJ booth. His shy, mysterious personality matches his mysterious and flowy sound, and how unique and genuine his energy and music is attracts people even more. The way everyone was vibing and dancing to his high energy and light-hearted music was like nothing I’d seen before. Every moment, from the drops to the confetti to the gentle transitions, felt perfect and magical. Seeing everyone so happy, hugging each other, dancing with their friends, and celebrating life was exactly what Porter embodies, and seeing this was so beautiful. It also caught my attention that at this set in particular, but also most EDM events in general, there is such a diverse crowd. At this set, to my left there was a gay couple, to my right two older men, in front of me some younger Asian guys, and behind me a group of girls. I love that this type of music is so universal and beyond a particular demographic – it is for
everyone. It was a giant party and celebration, but at the same time was incredibly more meaningful and powerful then just “turn up” style music. I was really blown away by how perfect this set was, both in terms of technical style, but also in terms of the energy and how it made me and the audience feel. I would highly recommend seeing Porter Robinson if you ever get the chance, even if you aren’t into EDM music, and I would definitely love to see him again.
Ah yes, the reason Lights All Night was sold out this year. Any event Bassnectar plays at immediately draws every fan within a 600 mile radius, and there was no doubt every Texas basshead was there to catch his lively set. I had seen him once before at Middlelands last spring, but this performance felt much more powerful and fresh as he played several newer songs from his latest album, Reflective, and played some unreleased mixes we hadn’t heard before (as he’s known for doing). It was crazy and pretty rare to see a set with Porter and Bassnectar back to back like this, and it definitely drained my energy to dance and go hard to both these sets. But Bassnectar revived me, as I felt every vibration in the air and rode the waves of his magical set. He delivered, as usual, a phenomenal set and most definitely lives up to his name. With a more light, but vibrant intro, building into a powerful and charged set, he plays something for everyone and really brings everybody onto the same wavelength. Headbangers and trance fans alike were dancing and enjoying his packed set, and seeing how he brings everyone together was really cool. What interests me the most and makes me so fascinated by Bassnectar is beyond him or his music, but is really about the community he created and the messages he promotes. I felt this when he played songs like “Disrupt the System” and “Underground,” as he creates a lot of strong political undertones and messages with h
is music, which is not very common in EDM. Somehow, he pulls it off and still makes everyone dance and headbang like crazy, while also spreading messages of anti-fascism, unity, empathy, and love. It’s no wonder he’s known for being the epitome of rave culture. As strange and intense as his music may initially come off as, seeing him play this set live and feeling him vibrate the entire building made it click for me and I understood what it was really about. At the end of the set, he finished by wishing us a happy new year and asking for a “family photo” he always takes at the end of a set and posts on social media. Seeing Bassnectar left me feeling refreshed, inspired, and a part of something really special.
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for Day 2 coverage, and let us know your thoughts in the comments!