Friday, August 11, 2017

Bass Works @ Cervantes in Denver, Colorado (Review) [8/5/17]


Review By: Justin D'Amico

Photography By: Emma Ceaglske


Last Saturday was absolutely nuts for the annual Bass Works show at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom and The Other Side. Rebudz and Reload Productions went extra large for this show taking over the entire venue for the first time. Even the back patio area was bumping with live mixes on a third stage. Shortly after the show started it became apparent that a sell out was emanate. In the nine o'clock hour the final tickets were sold and Bass Works was officially sold out. The lineup included a huge display of talented producers: Eptic, PhaseOne, Far Too Loud, Midnight Tyrannosaurus, Ray Volpe, Stabby, Fury, Efemel, Tyro, Duplikit, Mport, Lynch, Aarbear, and Baaker. Crystalize was originally booked for the show also, but he had issues with his connecting flight being canceled and couldn't make it out unfortunately. We will most likely see a Rebudz or Reload Productions show in the near future with Crystalize on the docket. This night was one for the record books and possibly the busiest night for bass music ever at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom and The Other Side.


There were three different areas to hangout for Bass Works, the Masterpiece Ballroom, the Other Side, and the back patio. All three spots had custom stage setups with the three L's - Lights, Lasers, and LEDs. The biggest room is the Masterpiece Ballroom and accordingly that was the most intricate stage setup. Two large LED panel walls one in front of the booth and one behind the booth provided trippy graphics to go with the music. Also two full spectrum lasers were installed on each side of the DJ zapping a river of light over the crowd. The lighting rig was arranged with the main pillars on an angle covered in special stage lights that would pivot and turn to create a plethora of beams to illuminate the performer. On the Other Side similar lighting arrangements were made and a single full spectrum laser was installed at the top and center of the lighting pillars. Outside in the patio is an awesome covered wooden stage that takes up the far corner of the section. More aesthetically pleasing wooden structures are being added to the patio all the time, new to me was a sound control booth area with a small storage room. Cervantes is an excellent place to be, it remains my favorite place to see a show downtown.

Starting of the night in the Masterpiece Ballroom was Mport a local DJ representing Denver. He was accompanied by a good two to three hundred die hard bass advocates that got in right when doors opened at seven o'clock. He got into some trap with fast snares and deep kicks, and also blended in some dubstep and more. The crowd was juiced and when Mport threw down a drop they liked, everyone screamed out with happiness.

The homie Tyro was next in the Masterpiece Ballroom, and he is always good for a fresh dubstep set. It was still early in the night but the crowd was already headbanging so hard! Tyro was representing a ill Damascus black on black Muse tee. Lots of crowd reaction during Tyro's time on stage as he mixed a masterful brew of music. He has been starting a trend among the Denver bass crew where they sing along to the drop by yelling out the melody of the womps. This happened a couple times during Tyro's set and it was awesome. Towards the end he gave a big shout out to Boogie T and dropped some of his wobbly dub.

Back over on the Other Side was a special first time performance for a new name in the scene Duplikit. The duo consists of Nate Ramirez (formerly Finesse) and Justin Cotrell. Together these two are making quick moves with their first release coming out soon, a song called "Frozen Heart" on UltraG Recordings. Duplikit went super hard on the Other Side foreboding what was to come throughout the entire night. It was really cool to see the start of something brand new right before my eyes.

After Duplikit another Denver dubsteppa took over on the decks, his name is Aarbear. He is all over the game with a huge knowledge for new electronic music, and it shows with his extensive collection of drops that he layed on the people. Aarbear went into a lot of wompy bass, lots of big sound waves bounced invisibly around the Other Side activating ear drums. You could say he is a dope dub selecta, he does a great job concocting multiple beats for maximum bass.

Over in the Masterpiece Ballroom another first was taking place as Stabby was making his Denver debut. He starting his set by saying, "This is my first time in Denver, so I want to see you go harder than ever!" Stabby got started with a long melodic build and then at the apex he pulled out the bass knives. He has a sinister sound that reminds me of Catstlevania, and he sort of looks like a vampire hunter. Dude has super long hair and you always know when to head bang because you will see him partaking. Stabby was superb live, I was enamored by his mix and so were the people. At the end of his time Stabby let us know that he loves Denver and we certainly love him too.

Outside on the patio stage BAAKER was laying down a thumping bass house set to change up the pace a bit from the stages inside. He jammed out the Habstrakt and Skillex song "Chicken Soup" and a number of other slammin house beats. BAAKER had a squad outside with cute girls shuffling to the music. He did a really good job kicking out the funky beats for the people to enjoy on the patio.

Now Ray Volpe was crushing the system in the Masterpiece Ballroom. His sound was very strong and the speakers were accommodating to his flavor. During Ray Volpe's set the stage production amped up a bit with lasers shooting out over the crowd and face melting graphics. Karate chops of bass were being thrown at the crowd and they were reacting to every change. Slow head bobs for a section of riddim and then switch ups in and out of different levels of dub. Ray Volpe had the whole room screaming, "All my friends are dead" and then jumped right back to the meanest bass drops.

The Other Side in the meantime was being transformed into a jungle as Fury put those drum and bass bangers through the air. He was accompanied by his favorite MC Dino for some of the set adding an extra live element to the excellent music. Fury kept it fast paced for the most part but at times he reduces the tempo for those who have to have their dubstep fix. Fury is always a pleasure to rock out with, he is such a pro, doing whatever he can to increase the good vibes for every concert he is a part of.

Up after Fury was Croxz on the Other Side stage. He got into some deep and stretchy bass lines with a lot of excitement. He would also stick to the theme of the night dropping some hard screaming dubstep. For parts of his set Croxz fused in some trap jams as well. It was a tough slot having a Denver crowd favorite Midnight Tyrannosaurus right next door.

Jason Figlioli aka Midnight Tyrannosaurus has been coming to through for a few years now, I first met him at a Rebudz show back in 2013 when he played at Cervantes with Roksonix, Brown and Gammon, Jantsen, and Tyro. He is a really funny guy its enjoyable to converse with him about anything. He was telling me about how stoked he is for a future Carnage film that is coming out soon. No, not the DJ Carnage, but the marvel super villain. Midnight T is more extreme than mountain dew in Denver! I appreciated every minute of his mix it was perfectly on point. He has amazing energy on stage, while backstage he is super mellow and relaxed. When he takes the decks he gets right in your face finger guns, and he has a fast trigger finger firing many sound bullets though out the room. Midnight Tyrannosaurus is very tricky on the tables with a lot of sneaky drops, keeping it unpredictable and spontaneous.

As the midnight hour got closer many decided to head over to the Other Side for PhaseOne. So many in fact that there was virtually a stampede in between the two rooms! I got caught up in this and for a few minutes I couldn't move, I had to retreat up the stairs to make it into the Masterpiece Ballroom. PhaseOne was in rare form and the audience knew it, this was the rowdiest the Other Side has ever been for a show. It was overwhelming to see how much support PhaseOne has in the bass capital. PhaseOne had the crowd in the palms of his hands. He absolutely stole the show and set a new standard for how much hype can be achieved on The Other Side of Cervantes. In Mortal Kombat terms he had a flawless victory and a fatality.

While most of the attendees were over on the Other Side a lot of room opened up to dance to another huge name in electronic music, Far Too Loud. He had to run the CDJs with only one hand because his right arm was in a sling with a broken collar bone. Look Ma one hand! Far Too Loud loves the fluttery, yawning bass which he incorporated into most of his set. He put together some truly unique weirdo double drops that were very enjoyable. To close out his session he sped things up with a bit of drum and bass. Far Too Loud may not have had the biggest fam representing in the Masterpiece Ballroom, but he did put down the most radical compound of music that night.

The closer on the Other Side was taken by Efemel, he too brings a variety of styles to the tables. He has a library of trap, drum and bass, dubstep, and just about everything in between. Efemel represents Houston, Texas where dubstep is a precious commodity. He definitely knows how to bring it to the people. He fit in well with this lineup and even though he was over shadowed by Eptic he kept the party alive on the Other Side until closing time.

A similar rush hit the door after PhaseOne as a large portion of the crowd wanted to close out the night with Eptic. All custom graphics were used for Eptic's set, and as I have mentioned before he creates his own cartoon graphics to accompany his music. He always has a mischievous smirk on his face when performing. Eptic represents with a huge arsenal of Never Say Die remixes and mash ups, he is starting to get on that top notch level of mixing like his boss SKisM. The transitions are impeccable and inventive, one I remember in particular he went from "Face Down Ass Up" into "I Can't Stop." There were a number of times where you could hear the audience feel the flow almost like a firework show with audible owwws and ahhhs. You can tell Eptic is having a great time in the bright lights as he goofs around with the photographers shooting him and the crowd. He was super generous and threw a bunch of his dope merchandise into the crowd for the people to wear proudly. I have been able to see about five performances by Eptic now and each time he takes it to another level.


Man was this a loaded night! The first ever dual venue show for Rebudz and Reload Productions and they sold it out. I can't wait to see what is next for their future shows. Much love for Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom and The Other Side maintaining their spot as illest venue downtown in Denver. Special thanks to Emma Ceaglske with Eyediola Photography for again capturing memories of the night forever in her beautiful images. Make sure to be on top of all upcoming shows thrown by Rebudz and Reload Productions by following them both on all social media outlets. As the hype grows the quicker these shows will sell out and you don't want to miss it.




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Electric Wonderland @ The Haus ov Wheres in Denver

 
Review and Photos by: Justin D'Amico


Saturday night a sneaky underground music show was held at The Haus ov Wheres. This was a night of many forms of excellent music and a chill ambiance. Broken2TheWorld and Self-In-Flict-Ed came through with a diverse line up of DJs for the people. Three DJs aroused the ears: Jack Jack, Santospaceship, and Ampliphoniks. They all mixed a different flavor of bass, but all three were dope.

The stage setup was really cool for this show. Santospaceship not only DJs, but he is skilled also in design and production for Ill.uminate a visual design company. He loaded up the stage with lights, lasers, and even had a projector with mapping for his 3D booth design. It was very appealing to the eye. Behind the booth were two more zones that the projector also had mapped out for the purposes of 3D and specially designed images to be displayed on. The walls the projector would shine onto had shapes poking out at you. Mostly a sort of spike or pyramid type of shapes, but this went well with the projection cues specially created for the stage. It was really cool to see a custom light show in such an intimate setting.























The Haus ov Wheres also had a bunch of cool things around the building including keyboards, pianos, 808s and other old school music makers.  It made for a cool feeling to have a bunch of instruments around. The place is basically just an old shop downtown. They encouraged anyone who wanted to hula hoop or spin poi to do so as they pleased, and some of the crowd were really good at it.

First up was Jack Jack he played a lot of high energy music. He kept the heart beating for the people in the crowd. The audience responded well to his drops. Jacj Jack really likes to engage the people by singing along to the track, and inviting the people to do so too. He got into some cool music that I know and love like Porter Robinson and others. Towards the end of his time Jack Jack started to get a bit more zappy with some cool electro drops. He did a great job on the outro as Amphliphoniks joined in the booth.

Chris aka Ampliphoniks was the crowd favorite for sure. He did a great job promoting the show and got a lot of love from his fans. He played for an hour and a half and the whole time the dance floor was packed. He came up with extremely inventive transitions going from one genre to another on a totally different spectrum, it was rather impressive. Early on he had a slick electro feel with squishy bass drops, I was reminded of Feed Me with that type of hype. Towards the middle he switched it up in some glitchy trap drops. Ampliphoniks was all smiles during his set, he seemed really happy that the people were reacting to his music as intended. Late during his mix Ampliphoniks had a speedy drum and bass section which was perfect for getting a second wind into the crowd. He set it up nicely for the closer of the night Santospaceship.

Santospaceship turned over the stage controls to his homie who just got there with a badass fog machine. He got into some trance and progressive to start the set, but then soon after changed it up and got into some dirty dub. For the most part dubstep was not played by the two opening DJs, and this was why Santospaceship wanted to change things up a bit. The stage was glowing and beautiful with a consistent fog so the laser and projector were enhanced further. One song I remember was a song with awesome Rick and Morty samples repeating "Sesh-wan Sauce" and then hard bass. It was a good change up to the room and a great closing set for the show.



I had a really fun time and met a bunch of cool people at this show. As of right now the next show at The Haus ov Wheres is still up in the air, but stay up to date with Broken2TheWorld for more Self-In-Flict-Ed shows that may pop up. Shout out to the underground squad, that was a great time and pleasant vibes for all. See you all next time.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bass Rising @ Cervantes in Denver, Colorado (6/8/17) [Review]


Review By: Justin D'Amico

Photography By: Emma Ceaglske


Thursday nights can be boring, just waiting for the weekend to start, and conserving energy. Not last Thursday, it was Bass Rising an annual event thrown by Rebudz and Reload Productions. This year was maybe the illest addition to the annual throw down. Headlining was Noisia with Dubloadz and a lot of powerful Denver DJs too including Fury, Detrace, TOC, and Finesse. Last Thursday was a ball of energy and the lucky ones in Denver got a huge dose of drum and bass.


For this show Rebudz and Reload put on display an array of lasers and LED panel walls. There were 4 full color lasers and 2 LED walls, one in front of the booth and one behind the booth. The LED panels were mostly used to display the DJ logos for the performers. On the front corners of the booth you could find two lasers, and the other two were hidden on the sides of the big LED wall behind the booth up on stands. Sometimes the lasers would bounce off of the giant disco ball making even more beams to touch. Cervantes was lit proper, but even more so by the talented mixes of all of the performers.




The show got started at 8pm and TOC wasn't going to make it on time, not a problem with all of the talent available in Denver. The homie Finesse tagged in for a killer introduction set. Turns out TOC was in a car accident, nothing major, so he was just running behind. Finesse took the stage and he made it his own. He got into some wonky dub and fired up the people for a night of bass music. Finesse is a badass up and coming producer reppin the Rebudz squad. He is at every show and he knows what is hot, I'm glad he got to showoff a bit for Bass Rising. In the future you will see him get deeper and deeper into the line-up for shows like this.


Around 8:30 TOC made it to Cervantes and he didn't skip a beat. He got into some filthy dub but very smooth on his transitions. A lucky few in the crowd were able to cop his merch, he had fresh shirts and hats to flip. TOC brought his folks out for the show too, and they were some of the coolest people there, I had a conversation with his Dad and he is very supportive of his son. Love to see that, a lot of stigma is placed on the electronic music scene but it is for all ages, and that was definitely a theme for the night. TOC is very high energy on stage he doesn't slow down, steady pace and that was a perfect fit for this night. I like how TOC dances to the drops, he helps you to know when the music is about to change up and when to go ham.


Next up was one of my favorites Detrace, this guy is an exemplary producer with a ton of knowledge. He is rather good at creating a live mix also and always brings some new flame to put on display. Detrace immediately got the place poppin off with melodic builds and inferno drops. His mixes are just brilliant always coming up with a new way to fake you out and that's exciting. He has great dance moves as well, often hopping around to the beat and gently turning the faders because they are hot lava! He changed it up a bit from what I am used to, getting into some dope Trap-step drops. I am always game for a Detrace set, he is awesome and perfectly represents the diversity of Denver electronic music.


It was now time for Fury! He is a master of reading a crowd. Fury has been crushing parties for a minute now, so he always knows exactly what to bust out of the arsenal. Perfect blends of drum and bass with dubstep. Plus he was getting into some video game stuff, coins were coming out of blocks and fireballs were being thrown. Fury is at full mad scientist level when it comes to drum and bass, each performance is completely unique and blunt. Fury just gets right to the point and I love that.

One of the hardest on the Disciple crew came up next, ever heard of Dubloadz? Thought so! He had a busy weekend in Denver also playing Friday night with side project and triple b2b Chode Gang. The trio of Chode Gang consists of three incredible individual producers: Barely Alive, Virtual Riot and Dubloadz. He is so energetic and nutty on stage, not to mention through the decks. He had T-Rex hands, gun fingers, and the hardest bass drops of the night. Cervantes was full of headbangers going hard to the beat provided by Dubloadz for a good hour straight.



To close the night was the highly anticipated Noisia. Definitely enlightening having never seen them before. Martijn van Sonderen was representing the trio and he is remarkable on stage. He did a great job tweaking out the beat making awkward sounds, it was so raunchy. Gotta love a live set with interesting twitches, even with just one of the trio Martijin was quick on the switch and added bonus effects to the beats. For part of the set perfectly catering to the headbangers he got into some metal n bass. The crowd was absolutely riled up by the sounds unleashed by Noisia. Martijin was so happy to be in Denver, and such a nice guy with strong European accent on the mic saying, "I had a really good time, and I hope you did too." To close out Noisia got into a really elite blend of drum and bass, and Prodigy's "Voodoo People." One of the dopest sets I have witnessed in some time, huge love for Junglists.


I was overwhelmed with the energetic music all night, and it was so exciting. This was the most hype Thursday night I can remember in a while. I need to stop forgetting Thursdays, jokes. Great times with the Rebudz squad and Reload Productions, always bringing out the best talents to Denver. Stay on the ball by following both at those links, they have contests for tickets, also meet and greets, sometimes with pizza! Always so thankful for Emma at Eyediola Photography with such superior images that preserve the sacred visuals of the night. More is coming soon so stay up. Laters.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hyper Future Tour @ The Ogden Theater in Denver, Colorado (Review) [4/29/17]


Review & Videos By:
Justin D'Amico

Photography by:
Stetsen Colt Mathias


Saturday was as rowdy as I have ever seen The Ogden Theatre get. Rebudz and Reload Productions brought a tasty line-up to satisfy the appetite of the bass hungry. Showcased on the Hyper Future Tour was Must Die, Eptic, and Gentlemans Club, with very special guests Dr Ozi and local legend Shank Aaron. This was an extra special show for Rebudz and Reload Productions being the first time ever at The Ogden Theatre. Great vibes flowed through out the room all night as well as amazing music.

The stage was configured with a number of LED panels which displayed mind blowing graphics. The front of the booth held the main portion of the LED panels and for the most part that was where the band logos were visible. Behind the booth hanging up high were three more LED panel walls, two tall rectangles and another square in the center. On the rear walls a number of tripped out artworks created an incredible visual experience. One such picture that was morphing with the music was a clip of the show Seinfeld, showing Kramer and Newman screaming, it really got the people smiling. Along with the graphical displays were four full spectrum lasers, two on the front corners of the booth, and another two on stands lifted up behind the booth on the left and right ends of the stage. Together these four lasers zapped the whole room with two separate zones. Having such a beautiful production model is nothing new, as Rebudz and Reload Productions always come through with a colorful array to accompany the music.





Starting off on stage was the homie, and very talented producer Shank Aaron. Lately he has been busy getting things going with his own brand Forest Service, showcasing underground Denver sound and more. Shank Aaron did a great job of setting a chill vibe early on with a bit of reggae to begin his set. He was proudly displaying his new custom shirt, and a lucky few patrons were able cop Shank Aaron merchandise for sale in the lobby of the Ogden Theatre. Slowly he would build up more and more until it was all filthy bass drops. He really started to get things poppin around 9pm as most of the people outside in line began funneling in. Shank Aaron got provocative up there and he primed the people for a night of dirty dubstep.





Up next was a very special guest and crowd favorite Dr Ozi. He made a point to let the people know how much he loves Denver. Very complimentary towards the crowd saying, "You guys are the most beautiful crowd ever! I love coming here." Dr Ozi represents the Canadian bass family, and is a part of the label Never Say Die Records. He literally turned the place into a huge mosh pit immediately, throwing straight fireballs of bass into eardrums. Non-stop ferocious drops for his whole set, and the people went ham. Two of the lasers started beaming out and shifting to the music for Dr Ozi's set. You could tell he genuinely loves Denver and that was a heart warming feeling. Before Dr Ozi left the stage he introduced Gentlemans Club with huge props talking about how they inspired him to become a producer.





For the next hour the people were slapped with trap and bass as Gentlemans Club turned it up to eleven. The full band is a trio of very talented producers: Coffi (Lewis Pittham), Soloman (Saul Mountford), and 50 Carrot (Amani Haskins). For this event there were two of the three in the building 50 Carrot and Coffi. Their energy on stage was awesome, it was fun watching them tag team on the decks, and also hyping up the crowd dancing in front of the booth while punching the air. They did a excellent job keeping you guessing the next drop, with last second switch ups. One part I remember was the build to Flux Pavilion's "Got 2 Know" and then right as it would have normally dropped they blended in a mega hard drop. Gentlemans Club also rocked their dope "Bass Cannon" remix, and that went so hard! It was an unpredictable set with a big variety of styles represented in the mix. For Gentlemans Club all four lasers fired up and the full color spectrum was unleashed. I couldn't help but dance and flail karate hands watching Gentlemans Club slay.





This was such a fun night that before you knew it Eptic was taking the stage and he really knows how to make the bass scream. He plays mostly his own music and remixes during his live sets. However he has collaborations with all the best in the game. If it's not one of his tracks he is representing the Never Say Die crew, the Disciple collective, and Circus Records. He got into some Zomboy, Skism, Dodge and Fuski, Funtcase and more. He also mixed in some Flux Pavilion with the classic "I Can't Stop" but this version brought the roof down it was so mean. Eptic is a talented cartoonist as well and it was cool to see his illustrations used for his graphical background during much of this set. That was something I talked to him about in the past, and he has plans to add a full visual cartoon to his live sets in the future. Eptic was on straight inferno mode, and I wouldn't expect anything less from a champion like him. He finished out his hour by giving a big shout out for the closer and friend of his saying, "Who the fuck is ready for Must Die!?"





Right off the bat Must Die asked, "Who is ready for some new shit?" It was officially time to break your neck, or at least sprain it. I even saw a girl going so hard that she bashed her head into a dude's nose behind her and she may have broken it! Battle scars are to be expected during a Must Die set. His music straight up electrifies your soul, like some sort of cosmic jolt. At one point Must Die was going so hard that he messed up the mix, and all sound cut out. He got on the mic and said, "You guys gotta forgive me for that one. That was my bad, a genuine fuck up." Then he went right back to blowing minds with raunchy bass. It was hilarious, and of course, we all forgave him. Another memorable moment of the set Must Die asked for all of the house lights to be turned off, and asked the crowd to hold up their phones. An eerie bluish light illuminated the room in a whole new way, twas literally lit. He closed out the night with his remix of Flux Pavilion's "Emotional" and it was just that. I had chills from just how moving Must Die's set was, he is so elite.


This was a historic night for the Rebudz and Reload Productions combined squadrons. Finally for the first time taking over The Ogden Theatre, and they did it just right, like Goldilocks. I'm certain they will be invading The Ogden Theatre more often with how successful the night was. The vibes were indescribable, so many smiles, and infinite friendships bonded by the bass. Shout out to my friend and excellent photographer Stetsen Colt Mathias for his crispy images, he has a way of bringing still photos to life like no one else. I can't wait to see what is in store for the future with both Rebudz and Reload Productions. Follow both on all social media platforms so you don't miss out on any future show announcements and contests. They have been on a rocket ship blasting to the sky, and with every show a new faction of Denver bass crew comes through to share in the enjoyment.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Gorillaz Announce First North American Tour in 7 Years!


The Gorillaz have announced their first North American tour dates in 7 years.... Just in time for their new album to hit the stores later this month! 

Check it all out on their website: www.gorillaz.com/

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Umphrey's McGee Announces Additional Dates for Summer 2017. A Return to Chicago, Atlanta, Nasvhille, & More.







Umphrey's is Back on the road this summer and they've just announced a whole slew of new dates including, but not limited to: Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville, Red Rocks, New York City, & Many, Many more. 

Check out the full list and see when tickets go on sale HERE.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Roni Size @ The Black Box in Denver, Colorado (3/11/17) [Review]


Review By: Justin D'Amico


Saturday night The Black Box hosted a true legend of electronic music; Roni Size. Coming all the way from Bristol, England to lay it down for the bass addicts of Denver. I have been a fan of Roni Size for decades but have never had the pleasure of seeing him. Now he is back on the scene with a new feel and even longer dread locks! It was an excellent night and the people came out to represent the old school hero of drum and bass.


A lot of changes have been made to The Black Box in it's short existence and it's only getting better. Sub.Mission is completely on top of their game they have established a club with completely peaceful vibes, everyone there is instant friends with everyone else. Both rooms are now equipped with projectors to add extra light beams and mapping. In the lounge there is an eye popping 3D display wall, which is now brought to life by perfectly mapped projection images. Then in The Black Box room there are two projectors and a huge white screen that comes down behind the DJ booth. Almost everything affixed to the walls glows with LEDs in the club, and outside there is even more artwork. The merchandise area has been modified a bit as well in order to create more room for vendors to display their awesome works or art. For this show you had a choice of dazzling gems and glass ware in one of the two vending areas. Then a large array of paintings and drawings in the other section, all of which were extravagant. I didn't notice before but when you enter the men's room the mirror is entirely covered in band stickers. Also there's a dope bright green neon sign in the Black Box room behind the bar that reads, "Let's Get Weird." The most notable change is an adjustment of the speaker configuration, now all of the mains hang from the ceiling and this provides a bit more room for the people to dance. The quality of the sound systems in both the Lounge, and the Black Box room are incomparable to any other club in the city, massive bass and very sharp mids and highs.



 
The Lounge was free for people to walk in and check out, but in order to come into the Black Box you had to purchase a ticket and get a special black light stamp. The DJs in the Lounge did a good job changing it up with some old fashion techno, a bit of bass house, and even a few moombahton drops. It was a good change of pace from the Black Box which was DnB, and Jungle music thumping.


Starting off the night in The Black Box was Zane and Syntax, who did a tag team set for a couple of hours. You could tell they are good friends because they played off each other very well and always helped one another out to get a great sounding mix going. They started off with pretty beats, and slowly got more and more wonky with the bass line. Sort of an outer spacey feel to the set and from time to time. Hosting the evening was Slim_r_i and he kept the room hype. Zane and Syntax had a great back to back section to close out the set, and it went deep into the bass abyss.


Next up was Shoebox, another junglist with mad flavor. He brought out his own MC to add a bit of a Rastafarian feel to the flow. He was on that "Ba ra pa pa pie" type of spit which I enjoy. He kind of reminded me of the announcer from the video game SSX for PS2 when he was on the mic. Shoebox started out with a very trippy introduction with a ton of bass to your face. The more he went on he got some fast snares going and the people followed along with their feet. Parts of Shoebox's set were so deep it felt like you were in a bass submarine. Slim_r_i jumped back on the mic at the end of the set and got into some more fresh freestyles. Slim_r_i was the perfect host for the night. The room really lit up as Slim_r_i introduced the one and only Roni Size.






When Roni Size first appeared on stage everybody knew it and they screamed with joy. His demeanor up there in the lights was so inviting, it was like you were watching an old friend spin for the first time in a long time. Before he got started he made a point to sign a record one of his fans brought from home, creating an invaluable vinyl. Roni Size had such a big smile it was impossible not to get happy with him looking at you. For the most part he stayed super focused on the task at hand, dropping the filthy, dirty, drum and bass. He, unlike a lot of DJs, doesn't use large ear covering headphones but simply a single ear bud in the left ear. Parts of his set were unexpected, his opening drop was Red Hot Chili Peppers, and he rocked out a Smells Like Teen Spirit drop. He got into some naughty speed garage music too, which I absolutely adored.





Most of the time Roni Size was mixing more than one CDJ to create double and sometimes triple drops. Each and every time he did this it was seamless, perfect blends of multiple tracks making it brand new. Slim_r_i was crushing it on the mic for Roni Size too, an honor to have the privilege. Towards the end of his set Roni Size got on the mic and started talking to the crowd a bit he said, "I don't know you guys, but you know me, so lets make friends." It was surreal to get the see such a legend of electronic music come all the way from Bristol, England to perform for a room of Denver drum and bass-aholics. I felt honored to be there and was in awe of the display put forth. Roni Size is naturally in rare form and I feed off of energy like that.


If you still haven't made it down to The Black Box, you must! It's a great atmosphere and they bring out big name musicians who make it hyphy. I have nothing but love for everyone at Sub.Mission they always have the illest underground artists coming through Denver. This was a dream concert seeing one of my all time favorites Roni Size. Make a point to go follow The Black Box on all social media outlets so you can stay on top of the amazing shows they throw constantly. Every Tuesday is Sub.Mission Electronic Tuesdays at The Black Box and you never know who might pop in for a special set so just be there. Big up Denver DnB peeps, I see you. Laters.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Never Say Die Black Label Tour @ Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver, Colorado (3/4/17) [Review]

Review by:
Justin D'Amico

Photos by:
Emma Ceaglske


Saturday was a highly anticipated night for the rowdy riddim heads of Denver. Together Reload Productions and Rebudz formed like Voltron to bring the people a massive show. The line-up featured the heavy hitters from Never Say Die Black Label: SKisM, Trampa, TrollPhace, and Ponicz. Along with Denver's own !Tyro and contest winner Bloodhound. The place was hot and sticky for such an intense display of dubstep, it was almost to much to handle.


This was the most extensive stage production I have ever seen before at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom. There were nine lasers all together, two coming from the back of the room to the front, and seven on stage zapping over the crowd. It was a literal river of light flowing in the air just above the people on the main floor. From above on the balcony so many beams were glowing that you could barely see the hundreds of people dancing underneath. Absolutely epic laser show indeed, and you know I love me some lasers.


Starting off the night was DJ mix contest winners Bloodhound. They got it going with a few hundred peeps who made it out right at eight o'clock. Denver has the most dedicated crowds, the guys from Bloodhound were stoked to see such a good turnout so early in the evening. They were hype and got the place in the mood for a night of fire. Bloodhound did a very good job with their live mix keeping it fresh and fitting with the theme of the night, dark bass music.



Next was the homie !Tyro, possibly the most talented producer in Denver and emerging fast in the game. Lately !Tyro has been doing big collabs with his friends and fellow producers like Detrace, Shank Aaron, and for his other project Slabs. For the second half of his set he brought up Detrace for a little impromptu b2b which was proper lit. !Tyro was a perfect way to transition into the Never Say Die Black Label squad, he is probably not far from becoming a part of their crew. His crushing dubstep and creative production will soon lead him to a label like Never Say Die I'm sure of it. The most memorable part of !Tyro's set was where he had the crowd sing along to "Woo Boost" by Rusko. It was hilarious to hear everyone yelling out "Wub, wub, wa, wa, wa, wub wubb." To close out his set !Tyro shared some brand new music which was just straight daggers of bass, so crisp and clear the music stabbed you in the heart.

New to me was Ponicz, one of the amazingly talented guys representing the NSD Black Label. I have never had to privilege to see Ponicz before and what a treat it was. He, like all of the Never Say Die producers, is very clever in how he mixes his live set. Starting off he was sort of melodic and eerie and then all the sudden he pulled out the wubs! Extreme riddim and helicopters through out the course of the set. Well constructed transitions and unpredictable changes, this is another theme of many of the artists SKisM endorses. Anyone can spin some music, but a Never Say Die artist will brilliantly twist it into a whole new feel as only they know how to do. Ponicz fits in well with the NSD Black Label and with talent like his he could headline a tour before long. 



The boss man SKisM took the middle of the rotation, and as always he was essentially flawless. He came out with a track that said the word "mosh" and immediately half of the room turned into a mosh pit. It was incredible to see the energy of the room amplify so quickly. If you don't realize it, you should, SKisM is always the best DJ at the show. He never slips up and always has something you haven't heard yet. Not only that he will create triple and quadruple drops live. You rarely see him with his headphones off for longer than ten seconds, because he is always working to perfect his live mix. It's overwhelming how many drops were packed into his hour on stage! SKisM is a great conductor for the crowd too, he always knows exactly how to bop around and dance to every song he is blending into the set. If you ever feel lost just watch him and he will guide you to where the changes are coming next. He loves to switch out the drop at the last second for a harder one, and he does it so well. To close his set it sounded like SKisM had all four of the CDJs spinning with a massive quad-drop, it was beautiful.

It was now time to go hard, as Trampa took the stage. My god does he know he to get things riled up, after about thirty seconds he had more than half of room moshing again. He yelled out to the crowd, "Hey Denver! Enter that mosh pit right now!" This set was a complete headbangers ball, hair was flying around as were bodies, just utter mayhem through out. Trampa has very fine tuned skills with his live mix, he always kept you guessing what was next. A particular section I remember Trampa built up one song, then right before the drop started a second build up, and when that build was at the peak he switched to a third track for the drop! His style is non-stop drops, just about every thirty seconds it was appropriate to flail extremities. Trampa is a mad man on the decks, a perfect example of the Never Say Die Black Label and just how hard they can go.

Closing out the night was the big man TrollPhace. Right away he addressed the crowd saying, "You know this is the last stop on the tour right? I can't think of a better place to be." TrollPhace slammed on the gas pedal and never let up for his whole hour on stage. He got the mosh pits going again, and was able to match Trampa's intensity with super hard hitting bass. During a section of the set he slowed down and told everyone, "Here's a new future bass song, I hope you'll fux wit." He started to play a melodic build up and then all the sudden; dubstep cannons! TrollPhace gets back on the mic, "Did you think I was fucking serious dude?" We were all trolled live by TrollPhace, absolutely classic! He left the room breathless and couldn't have done a better job closing out the night and the Never Say Die Black Label Tour.





Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom was ablaze after a show like that. This was one of the hottest and sweatiest shows I have ever been to. Partially due to the amazing performers, but also because of the dedicated bass warriors that represent their city in Denver. Let's not forget the superhero promoters that put these events together Rebudz and Reload Productions. Stay up to date with show announcements and contests by following both on all social media platforms. Big props to Emma Ceaglske at Eyediola Photography for capturing such brilliant images for us all to enjoy. Coming up next month you can catch the Hyper Future Tour at the Ogden Theatre with the another chunk of the Never Say Die squad including: Eptic, Must Die!, Gentlemens Club, Shank Aaron and more. Peep the link for tickets. Love and luck to everyone in the Denver bass family, see you all soon.