The countdown began at 9:55 P.M. Paul Basic and MartyParty had already taken the stage at LA’s Shrine Auditorium. DJ Shadow had just closed a hip-hop heavy set designed to amp up the crowd for the highly anticipated arrival of Pretty Lights.
And then the digital clock appeared, its blood-red digits moving slowly from 5:00 to 0:00 before the DJ himself appeared and the crowd went wild.
Thus, Colorado-born DJ Derek Smith kicked off the Los Angeles leg of his Illumination Tour, as presented by Insomniac and Goldenvoice. Looking comfortable and relaxed in a black shirt and hat, he started off by thanking the crowd before delving into a two-hour set of new tracks and fan favorites.
As the set shifted to a faux-San Francisco night skyline, Smith wowed the crowd with his Crayola-colored set of lasers and his ever-present grin of pure joy as he danced along to his own tunes.
He continued to build a buzz while playing new tracks like “You Get High” which grew to a fever pitch on fan favorites like “Finally Moving”, “Hot Like Sauce” and “I Can See It In Your Face”, where a bevy of rainbow-colored lights illuminated Smith before fading to pitch black.
His music, which combines electronic music with both hip-hop and rock beats and samples soul, blues, reggae and jazz, continued for two hours. Not only do his fusions of sound and samples set him apart, but Smith is also known for giving away his music for free with the understanding that art should be available to all.
Pretty cool, wouldn’t you say?
Smith closed the show by sampling Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)” before throwing the crowd another of his cat’s-got-the-cream smiles and leaving all of LA’s pretty lights behind.
Smith moved on to Las Vegas to play at Cosmopolitan Hotel’s Marquee nightclub on Sunday; his American tour will come to a close at the Sat Compuware Arena in Plymouth, MI on November 17th.