Last week our team had the chance to shoot Snowboard on the Block 2016. It was an epic weekend filled with music, laughter, and fun. Check out our photos from photographers Ryan Rietman and Andrew Bower
The end of the Red Rocks season has been nothing short of All Good. Not just for those lucky souls blessed enough to see the man the myth the legend, Griz. But this night was also for the fans who missed him but managed to catch some the funk-bests under his golden wings.
It’s going to be really difficult saying goodbye to Sound Remedy in just over a week from now. His performances at the Fox Theatre and Mishawaka Amphitheater on the 16-17th will be the last he plays in Colorado before he retires from live music at the end of 2016.
Vans Warped Tour made its stop in Denver last Sunday on the Pepsi Center Grounds. The longest running traveling tour in the nation has seen the rise of punk and alternative music’s greats and continues to be one of every band’s dream gigs. In the past I remember it being very different; lineups used to be a bunch of seemingly nobodies and then mega-headliner acts to close the night. Fond memories of Warped Tour 2009 (the last time I went) spring to mind when Underoath massacred the stage after endless mini circle pits and bands I didn’t know.
Cement legs and fatigue. Those two words best describe how I felt upon entering Day 3 of Global Dance Festival. I am all too familiar with this feeling having played sports all my life, nothing new. However I am not going for glory on the field; I have spent the past 2 days crawling up and down Red Rocks. As I approach the press entrance on day 3, I realize just how much this weekend has been lifting me up and dropping me dirty. I give a quick moment of silence to my calves which will assuredly become paste by the end of this wild ride.
Amidst the surrounding rumors that dubstep is dead, top-tier acts like Zeds Dead still know how to keep it fresh on the big stage.
When it comes to their signature headliner set at Red Rocks Amphitheater, it’s no question they come ready to rattle bones and shake entire psyches. Given that the Toronto-based DJ/Producer duo sold out the entire amphitheater, it is ironically and affectionately known as Dead Rocks when they come to play. This third-edition was far from dead; with heavyweight support and a slew of fresh tracks after a long hiatus of releases, Zeds Dead brought a rude awakening Thursday night to those who take heavy bass music lightly.
In broad daylight, I walked into Red Rocks Thursday before the doors were scheduled to open. As I looked up from the press pit, I noticed that there were 4, maybe 5 people also meandering around the amphitheater. Hm, this struck me as odd, for I had never seen the venue SO EMPTY. This familiar feeling of the calm before the storm sat in the air rigidly. That’s when Pusher broke the stillness with the sounds of future synths to warm up the night. His song selection fit the mood of the headliner well. as the music started to develop its hype sounds, it also started to dive deeper into thick garage house.
Rezz is an act that I’ve seen lurking across various lineups this year, but I never investigated further. She opened up her set with the mega-popular Pretty Lights track “I Know The Truth” and already I knew this girl wasn’t messing around. Clad in a typical forward-facing baseball cap and a pair of not-too-typical LED goggles, her incredibly unique presence clashed strongly with her selection of riddim and dark bass music. Rezz was another opener that played on the headliner’s deep, sub-bass saturated style - refreshing it was to hear new era dubstep played with classic neuro-bass.
The night would take several turns after the relatively chilled-out openers. Festival hot-shot NGHTMRE took an earlier-than-expected slot and brought his tasteful brand of mind-bending bootlegs. This was my first time seeing NGHTMRE live but I was no stranger to his production and DJ style. Taking intros to popular songs and twisting them into a gnarly drop, NGHTMRE keeps a dynamic mixture of sing-along jams that metamorph into massive bangers. The list of songs I could mention would break the internet, but the one that hit me was his recent collaboration with Dillon Francis, “Need You”. The moombahton slapper combines two amazingly talented producers with a knack for pumping out dance-ready tracks. The crowd let out a huge roar at each drop, with the front 10 rows jumping like kangaroos. NGHTMRE also had a strange and extremely noticeable sound cut half way through the set, presumably for the stage crew to remedy recurring issues throughout the night. When NGHTMRE stepped off, I rushed back to the pit for my most anticipated act of the night: Lil Dicky.
Many attendees were confused at the dynamic of having an emcee follow a hot DJ in the middle of the lineup, but “professional rapper” Lil Dicky is far from cold. Not exactly what you’d expect from emcees today; Lil Dicky is a white, red-haired Jewish guy who - very articulately - raps about his shortcomings, being a nerdy white guy, being awkward around women, etc. But it’s so gangster. With nearly impeccable flow, Dicky cracks the crowd up with a genuine display of charisma. His most popular song at the moment is arguably “Save That Money” featuring Fetty Wap. Speaking of whom - Dicky couldn’t show without a decent hype man, so under the most epic stage in America the 17/38-lord Fetty Wap brought his dance moves and distinguishable voice to the set. For the finale, Dicky ended with another catchy and relatable jam “Lemme Freak”. He put a comedic twist on the song by pulling a girl on stage and, well… I want to call it a strip tease! Pantsless, Dicky tried - and maybe succeeded - in wooing a sweet honey off the stage, leaving the crowd laughing, a little bit shocked, and ready to get back into the EDM side of things.
Tchami, a festival headliner in his own right, was slated as the direct support for the night. The mastermind behind many big tracks of yester-year (he had his hand in the production of Turn Down For What), Tchami is a tsunami of massive bass house that takes on a variety of timbres. Unfortunately I don’t have anything objective to say about the set. It tickles my insides when supremely prolific DJ’s can take individual songs in the set and encapsulate my attention into seeing it as one whole cohesive song. A classic case of whole being worth more than the sum of its parts, Tchami set the bar high for the main act. However, these Canadians aren’t ones to be trifled with behind the decks.
When I was a baby raver, Zeds Dead at Decadence was the first massive-scale electronic act I had ever seen. From then on I have tumbled down the EDM rabbit hole all the way to seeing them headline Red Rocks for a third time. Throughout this period, Zeds Dead has never once conformed to a specific genre of EDM. From the Hot Sauce EP to whatever mysterious sorcery they are currently cooking up in the studio for their first full-length album, they’ve touched about every genre possible. Thursday night was a mish-mosh of everything you would expect from a Zeds Dead set. There was grimey dubstep, bouncy deep house, uplifting drum & bass and about a million bass shaking the rocks.
Even with an extensive portfolio of originals, it’s difficult for Zeds Dead to fit in the entire discography within a 2-hour set. It’s interesting watching them develop as artists by seeing which songs they axe from their live sets. Classics like “Rude Boy” and “White Satin” were obvious keepers, but the lack of collaborator Omar LinX present ruled out big hits like “Out For Blood” and “Cowboy”. Slightly to my dismay, I made up for my hurt feelings with raging. I was forced to get my groove on however during the deep, Euro-club shuffle music stage of the night. It was during this point we saw special guests that even had my slightly jaded self flabbergasted. When a song like “Lost You” comes on, it’s already enough to put the crowd in a frenzy. The song took a new face - or rather two - when singers Twin Shadow and D’Angelo Lacy joined the stage to belt out the haunting falsetto verses. From there, it was right back into the dirty-to-deep genre flipping style they have perfected.
Some people have a difficult time following an artist as they transition from one style from the next. However if Zeds Dead made the same exact music they did 5 years ago, they wouldn’t have the expansive fan base they do. They didn’t play my favorite song which I was dearly hoping for, but as much as I wanted to say it was a downer it shows their growth. If anything it showed me how even with new music years later, Zeds Dead is still the same beast with the same face-melting tricks. The same tricks that made their third Red Rocks headliner a massive success and to put the duo at the top of the DJ pecking order, maintaining their reputation for unmatched freshness.
After Party Photo By Nick Veres
Ever heard of Eric Krasno? Chances are that's a yes; from co-founding Lettuce and Soulive to writing for a slew of musicians you probably HAVE heard of (50 Cent, Norah Jones, Talib Kweli to name a few), Krasno has had his hands and head fully submerged in the sea that is the music industry for the past 2 decades. Despite winning two Grammy awards, his upcoming album marks first time in his career featuring his voice. We got a chance to dig into this musical mastermind's head:
It’s no coincidence that good-natured, kind, down to earth DJ’s are the ones that send concert-goers vibes sky-high.
For Jeff Montalvo a.k.a. Seven Lions, his soft and sweet demeanor is matched by the ethereal explosions of chilling vocals and haunting melodies that saturate every second of his live sets. Each song hits home deep within the heart and soul as this veteran DJ mixes with extreme transparency, flavor, and show of skill. As an EDM fan, you probably know him very well, but if you haven’t hop on over to Soundcloud immediately and fire up Strangers feat. Tove Lo (you know, back when she was just a Talking Body).