Although “back to school” commercials are in heavy rotation, let us forget about notebooks and football games for one brief moment and concentrate on sweet, fleeting summer. For it is only in summer that you can dance until you work up a sweat outdoors under the stars at the Cuthbert Amphitheater. And who doesn’t love dancing up a storm perched atop a stadium chair at the Cuthbert, especially when it’s to the sounds of Colorado’s Derek Vincent Smith, better known by his stage name, Pretty Lights?
An electronic artist who has been stealing hearts and laying down beats since 2006, Pretty Lights got his name from a vintage Pink Floyd poster. His sound is a mélange of funk, hip hop and dubstep, and an evening spent in front of his illuminated speaker city promises ringing ears and a sore backside.
While I personally love his use of vintage vocal soul hooks mixed with horns and glitchy beats, others might fall for his innovative remixes. Featuring everyone from Kanye West to Radiohead and Nirvana, Pretty Lights melds genres artfully, tying up any loose ends with a constant throbbing beat. While he has a regular set and an arsenal of albums to pick from, a Pretty Lights show thrives on improvisation, showcased musically and visually.
If you’re looking to get into a little party rocking and familiarize yourself with a few tunes pre-show, all full albums and remixes are available for free download at prettylightsmusic.com.
Grab your glow sticks, your sweatbands and your best dancing shoes for one last glorious summer jam.
Pretty Lights plays with Emancipator and Paul Basic 5 pm Thursday, Sept. 13, at Cuthbert Amphitheater; $33 adv., $35 door.