If there's one thing the Live Nation borg is good at, it's taking big hints. Ultra Music Fest and Winter Music Conference have a falling out and water down their wares over a three week period? Bring on the highest profile gig of "Miami Music Week!"
Boulder, Colorado electro act Pretty Lights is here to fill in the gap for those who were unwilling or unable to throw down triple figures for Ultra's bizarre 2011 mix that opens with Tiesto & Duran Duran co headlining on Friday and closes with 1999 Zen Fest headliner The Chemical Brothers topping Sunday's bill.
Ultra goers should be familiar with Pretty Lights, as they played last year's event. For those not in the electro loop, Pretty Lights is the nom de guerre of producer Derek Vincent Smith, who became famous for releasing entire albums of his mash-ups and sample-based compositions for free on the internet ala Girl Talk. Like Girl Talk, Pretty Lights/Smith couldn't possibly charge for those records because they contain tons of obvious pop music samples that would cost him more money than he could possibly make by selling them. Both acts also are known for their live presentation, which in Pretty Lights' case features a live drummer and a full technical production featuring a giant LED screen, lasers and hundreds of...pretty lights!
While Pretty Lights may use the familiar samples to give the audience a sense they have a well-rounded record collection, instead of overexposure to bad radio - that's not to say he's without his charms. His tune "Hot Like Sauce" is undeniably catchy and trips out Aaron Neville's vocal from "Tell It Like It Is" in ways that Gibby Haynes would be proud of.
Pretty Lights performs Thursday night at the Fillmore on Miami Beach. For some reason, the reserved tickets on the second level are $62, while the rest of the theater is general admission and only $48, so it will pay to show up early (the show starts at 8:30!) instead of on Miami time and have a friend hold your seats while you get party favors from the snack booth.