Pretty Lights Kicks Off ACL in Austin

Run DMT and Nas accompanied the DJ in a swaying, sweaty dance party.

Colorado-based DJ, Pretty Lights (also known as Derek Smith), hit the stage at Austin Music Hall in Austin, Texas last night, marking the beginning of ACL. At the event that drew a few thousand fans, he was accompanied by Run DMT and Nas. The event was marketed by C3 as an “aftershow.” Defined as unofficial second gigs for festival bands, after shows have become ever more popular over the last few years and now act as a staple for headliners-in-waiting or up-and-comers.

Pretty Lights has a sound all to his own and is a name you will see for years to come. He has a background in hip-hop and creates a high-energy blend of music mixed in funk and soul samples that unite fans of different genres. Much of his music is downloadable free of charge due to his use of samples, although donations are encouraged. Derek’s full set has yet to disappoint on the festival circuit over the last few years.

Possessing all in attendance, the heavy synth and glitchy beats have been irresistible. Without missing a beat, Pretty Lights has found a way to remix everything from Nirvana to Pink Floyd to Notorious BIG. Mixing in new jams such as “I Know the Truth” with classics such as “Finally Moving,” Smith heated up the Music Hall into a sea of sweaty bodies swaying to the rhythm.

The most impressive takeaway from the show is actually quite intuitive — the lights. Smith’s recent rise to fame has allowed him to invest in an LED lighting set-up that is unparalleled. All set to a backdrop of the Austin city skyline and morphing neon backgrounds, sets a combination of perfectly timed flashing strobes that provided a visual experience, which maxed out the senses.


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