Derek Vincent Smith and the Pretty Lights Live Band set new standards in 2016 with the Pretty Lights Live Episodic Festival Tour.
This year, Derek Vincent Smith brought together the Pretty Lights Live Band and set out on a tour like no other showing that he was back in the game and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Hints of new music and secret analog tapes were being dropped around the community stirring up hype earlier in the year. Smith creatively left the Pretty Lights community on their toes anticipating and analyzing his every move. After his first mini-festival at Telluride Town Park in 2015, he curated the idea of an episodic tour that encompasses a festival-like vibe to take across the country. To bring his vision to life, he brought together Alvin Ford Jr., Chris Karns, Brian Coogan, Borahm Lee, and light artist Greg Ellis, also known as ‘Lazer Shark’, and embarked on the Pretty Lights Live Episodic Festival Tour making five stops across the U.S.
“The 5 PLL Episodic Festival will tell a story about an experiment while also being an experiment in telling a story.” -Derek Vincent Smith
This particular tour stood apart from other tours seen throughout the year with the two-day aspect. It brought about a mini-festival tour with different artists for each stop creating diverse line-ups unique to each destination. Each destination served as an episode of a story; and for each episode, a prelude was provided in a unique cinematographic style. These preludes served as a visual representation of a theme for each upcoming mini-festival destination. Seeing Smith’s visual creativity come to life with the help of the PL film crew was the perfect way to set the tone for each episode.
Prelude 01:: Expanding Perspectives > Episode 01:: Gilford, New Hampshire
First up on the tour was the Bank of New Hampshire Pavillion in Gilford, New Hampshire on August 5th and 6th. The stop was titled with a prelude video, ‘Expanding Perspectives,’ that shows DVS standing in front of an abandoned power plant along the Mississippi River in New Orleans, La. The camera spans out from Smith’s eyes continuously expanding the frame outwards showing a bigger perspective of the shot. Each prelude, Derek adds in a short monolog on the themes. In Prelude 01, Smith talks about his questioning the reasons for what he does and his realization that it’s all just moving in a direction – expanding.
Prelude 02:: There is a Light > Episode 02:: Red Rocks Amphitheater – Morrison, Colorado
Pretty Lights graced the Red Rocks Amphitheater for his second tour stop including two sets each night for the live band. This prelude shows Smith in the run down power plant exploring the light through a crystal while a dark heavy glitched tune ‘There is a Light’ plays in the background. This crystal that he holds and projects light through is reoccurring throughout the preludes and is brought out on stage at each destination.
Prelude 03:: Call and Response > Episode 03:: Telluride Town Park – Telluride, Colorado
Prelude 03’s scene is switched up to the mountains to represent the weekend ahead at Telluride Town Park in Telluride, CO along with a visionary representation of the title Call and Response. He holds the crystal up to the sky and he talks about his feelings towards music and how he finds his answers within himself but also holding on to the importance of connection and shared experiences.
Prelude 04:: Planes > Episode 04:: Chicago, Illinois
For his Chicago stop, he gave fans a livelier video in “Planes”. Surrounding the theme of connectedness and reaching out among one another. Derek Vincent Smith’s words echo in the background “I can’t accept such an isolated experience” and with that encourages us to reach new planes of existence together.
Prelude 05:: Look Back From The Future > Episode 05:: Nashville, Tennessee
In this last video, we see Derek walking through a warehouse as he catches glimpses of himself in the last four videos. The distorted dialogue in the background, “being an artist is like a psychological side effect of being in touch with the fact that there’s more going on here”. As the video ends, Pretty Lights walks on stage greeted by an enthusiastic sold-out crowd. He played this video for the coinciding Nashville stop and walked on stage living his Episodic feature. These videos are Derek Vincent Smith’s way of bringing a fresh opportunity to connect with fans through his artistic vision.
Continuing the Story into 2017
Now that the tour has come to an end, Derek and the Pretty Lights Live Band get to show off what they’ve crafted and perfected over the year in an all out two-day New Year’s Celebration at Mardi Gras World in his current residence of New Orleans, La. Derek and the band will be continuing on the episodic story and mini-festival into the New Year along with Emancipator, Curren$y & the Soul Rebels, Manic Focus, Chris Karns, and Maddy O’Neal. Get tickets here.