first_imgWhen last we met in this Southwestern Colorado mountain town one year ago, the Pretty Lights Analog Future Band changed the game, the traveling PL-fans from all over the country impressed the locals, who were all happy to welcome the fan-base back to Telluride, CO for a second two-night run.The ever-evolving lineup of musicians who support Derek Smith, now includes new drummer Alvin Ford Jr., along with PL-Veterans Brian Coogan (Hammond B3, Clavinet, Wurlitzer), Break Science’s Borahm Lee (Prophet, Farfisa, Fender Rhodes) and Chris Karns (turntables).  The PL Live Band took the project to new places with fresh takes on old school jams, classic rock remixes to stoke the locals, and brand new improvisational vintage future sounds.Something about the Telluride altitude elevates Pretty Lights Music and it was obvious that last year was a major turning point for the project.  The Telluride 2015 experience seemed to really deliver on the idea that this project goes beyond just the music; it’s a broader thing, about the family vibes of a group of travelers who rely on each other, who contribute to the experiential vibes that the band feeds off of, along with an improved and completely in-house approach to video (much of which was shot by Smith in the days ahead of the shows), along with a new lighting approach, where lasers and lights were accented by glittery raindrops on night two.In the past, PL-heads would live and die by set lists, hoping for rare gems, but with the current incarnation of the band, all of the music is new-sounding with way more empty space which creates a head nod hip-hop vibe that seemed to look back from the future toward Derek’s earlier collaborative hip hop project, Listen, where he was an MC and producer. This decade-plus old hip hop legacy came to a culmination on night two, where Derek asked drummer Alvin Ford Jr. to lay down a beat for him to ad-lib three full verses, providing a platform for the usually vague Smith to directly address the Telluride crowd, letting them know that the collection of letters delivered to him by the fans the previous year made him cry and changed his life, along with the his perspective on what the PL project is. Tossing his trademark Yankees hat into the crowd and removing his hood for the last two tracks of the weekend emphasized the extent to which Derek had put himself out there this weekend.  And everyone was most definitely on the same page.– words Brian Jonke [all photos courtesy of Djivan Schapira – B.A.D. Photography] Load remaining imageslast_img