Given the onslaught of dance beats pounding out of Perry's stage all day and on into the night, it's no surprise that Bassnectar's headlining set was absolute madness from the get go. And yet, somehow, when Lorin Ashton, with his cascading locks of head-bang-ready hair, takes to the stage as Bassnectar, he manages to take the intensity up further still. A true veteran on the scene compared to the rest of the day's line-up—the next closest act, Nero, has only been making music since 2004—Bassnectar has been whipping crowds into a bass-induced frenzy since the late '90s. It came out in his set, which traversed much ground and massaged with an ebb and flow that wasn't felt on the stage since Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs got eclectic at 2pm.
Ashton has been championing bass music since before it was a term—well, a popular part of the EDM lexicon anyway. He's always been partial to the phrase because it so perfectly sums up what he does. Bassnectar, who's often lumped in with dubstep artists, is just obsessed with low end and it comes out whether he's making drum 'n' bass, glitch hop, breaks or his manic heavy metal remixes. Without fail, his sets cover all these bases: His debut remix of the Weeknd started off smooth before descending in the man's controlled bass chaos; "Ping Pong"'s heavy breaks sent the couple next to me flying forward for an impromptu headbang session; and his drum 'n' bass remix of Pennywise never fails to ignite a mosh pit. No two sets from Bassnectar are the same, the man prides himself in keeping it fresh for the crowd. A whirlwind on stage, he's a true DJ—another testament to the time he's spent honing his craft.
Still, by the midway point, practically the entire crowd is red of skin, eyes half open from too many Budweiser tall boys and their energy is on the wane. From Ashton's perch atop the stage, he was clearly not taking this as an excuse. As fireworks exploded in the background, a Fatman Scoop sample called our hands to the sky with Ashton mellowing the vibe ever so slightly—like a calm before the storm—and then dropped into the remix that helped take his career to such high heights, his rework of Eli Goulding's "Lights." If anyone on the field was thinking of ducking out early, this was Ashton demanding a strong finish. He got it. And the Bass Heads, as his fans call themselves, also got what they came for. When Ashton dropped their namesake "Bass Head," with the clock ticking down, any stragglers left snapped to attention and raged right till the bitter end.