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:

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. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Umphrey's McGee Announces Initial Summer Dates for 2017

Umphrey’s McGee will be hitting the road this summer & here are their initial tour dates for Summer 2017! They include their 15th year at Summer Camp Music Festival, 9th Bonnaroo, and first triple-header at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. This summer also sees a long awaited return to Central Park Summer Stage in NYC and a variety of stops along the eastern seaboard. It’s never too early to plan your Umphrey’s summer road trip. Pre-sale tickets will be available through Umphrey’s Ticketing starting Wednesday, March 8th at 12:00 ET; public on-sales will begin Friday, March 10th at 12:00 ET.

Umphrey's welcomes Special Guests Aqueous in Baltimore, The Marcus King Band in Augusta, and a diverse trifecta of Stick Figure, Snarky Puppy and Bokante, and Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers to the stage for their annual Independence Day celebration Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Discounted Red Rocks three-day tickets are still available through Umphrey's Ticketing. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

WATCH: Lady Lamb - "Dear Arkansas Daughter" - Live from Lincoln Hall in Chicago

Aly Spaltro, aka Lady Lamb, hails from Brunswick, Maine and kicks some serious ass. Just felt spreading the good word with one of my favorite songs by her. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Celebrate 10 Years Of Life In Color In Lansing, MI!

Life In Color's 10 year anniversary tour is to hit Lansing, MI March 24th with Zeds Dead, Baauer & Infuze! Tickets go on sale January 31st on the Life In Color website!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Savoy feat: Fatherdude - "Living Color" -- New Music & Tour Inside

"Living Color really embodies our deep love for Disco and Soul music. The inspiration was to really pull feelings and instruments from our favorite era of Disco ('79-80) but for the production and arrangement to feel current and new, yet timeless at the same time. We wanted to make something that doesn't sound like a trend or something that might be expected of us - but more a culmination of who we really are as artists and what has inspired us the most. Father Dude is an amazing vocalist, and we love how the song ended up with a feel good vibe that just flows.

We're on tour and brining along the homie Puppet! Tickets -"

February 8th The Broadberry Richmond, VA
February 9th The Foundry Philadelphia, PA
February 10th U Street Music Hall Washington, DC
February 11th Middle East Cambridge, MA
February 16th The Fox Theatre Boulder, CO
February 18th Ogden Theatre Denver, CO
February 22nd The Shelter Detroit, MI
February 23rd The Mirmar Theatre Milwaukee, WI
February 24th First Avenue Minneapolis, MN
February 25th Chop Shop Chicago, IL
February 26th Deluxe Indianapolis, IN
March 2nd George’s Majestic Fayetteville, AR
March 3rd Farmer’s Market Oklahoma City, OK
March 4th Empire Garage Austin, TX

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

NYE with Truth and The Widdler @ The Black Box (12-31-16) [Review]

Review By: Justin D'Amico

New Years Eve is always a big deal, but this year the Sub.Mission crew kicked it up a notch at their brand new venue The Black Box. It has only been open for a little over a month now, but the place is already bringing in some major talent for the people to enjoy. For their new years bash they brought out Truth and The Widdler, and tickets went flying. Pre-sales were sold out and a few lucky patrons were able to get the limited remaining tickets at the door. A line formed around the block at 13th and Grant about a half hour before doors opened, the Denver bass family was ready to get the champagne poppin.

This was my first time at The Black Box and I must say they did it right. It's a cleverly designed place with two good size rooms and a fenced in outdoor smoking area to mosey around in the back. A capacity crowd is just about 500 people, so be sure to hop on tickets when you see your favorite bands coming through town. The Sub.Mission Electronic Tuesdays formerly held at Cervantes Other Side are now being held at The Black Box too. If you were like me and still haven't come through, don't slack any longer, get down here and check out this venue it's a great spot and the people in charge are all awesome!

The Lounge is the first room you enter through the front door. First thing you will notice is a pair of huge towers of elite speakers, nearly as good as any other clubs main stage. A bar sits just beside the stage and above the bar is an elevated front of house box. There are a few sit down restaurant style booths in the back of the room to rest after prolonged dub-stepping. Also sections of the room can be used for merchandise displays, and for this show there were unique paintings available to purchase. Massive black light art can be seen providing a backdrop for the stage in the Lounge. In between the Lounge and the outdoor area is a small gaming section with a few arcade classics, as well as a pool table in the corner.

Once you get to the outdoor area you are inundated with visual esthetics. Covering nearly every wall outside is some form of art, either giant murals, custom plywood cutouts painted, and other cool art projects, everywhere you look you see something pleasing to the eye. The outdoor area is surrounded by trees so during the summer months they will provide a natural canopy.

Back inside as you walk back through the Lounge head back towards the front door and go through the big doors to the right you are now in The Black Box room! First thing you will notice is this huge mural painted on the back wall behind the booth. It is displaying all the guys from the film Reservoir Dogs. Also you will notice a set of four towers of speakers and wow do they ever pound out bass. Not only that but the mids and highs sounded very fine tuned as well. Very positive vibrations, and not just from the sounds but also the crowd, as everyone was pleasant and happy to make space for everyone else to dance. To the left when walking in the room is a slightly elevated deck that helps those in the back corner of the room see over those in the front. A second bar can be found in the back right of the room, again with an elevated front of house booth right above the bar. The room is completely blacked out, thus the name The Black Box.

Starting out the night in The Black Box was Subliminal one of the fine producers reppin Sub.Mission. He layed down some ill beats building up to more and more dubstep from a mellow intro. The room already had a hundred or more people boppin around as the line out front started to enter the building. Subliminal was a perfect opener to get the juices flowing and start the celebration.

Back out in the lounge six different Sub.Mission producers matched up in all combinations in order to create a very diverse display of back to back sets. It's was almost like a battle of the back to backs, and all night they did a good job keeping it live in the Lounge. The guys representing in the Lounge were: Caustik, Dillard, CurlyOnE, Sektah, AOWL, and Ind33p. One of the most obnoxious drops I can remember was early in the night where Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" was mixed into the set. Definitely an unexpected song to hear, but it was humorous and the people mockingly screamed the lyrics out. The guys in the Lounge did a good job keeping the people on their toes in transition between the Black Box room and outside. I found myself stopping and observing a lot of the guys spinning in The Lounge, because they were dropping bangers.

The Black Box room really began to tighten up as The Widdler took the stage. He brought the hype meter up a lot getting into some harder bass music. The Widdler was good at transitioning between Riddim, Dubstep, Glitch-Hop and even some Reggae-dub. It was impossible not to at least bob your head while The Widdler blended beats. This was my first time seeing the Widdler live, and now I'm hooked! He is a very nice guy too, he addresses his fans with love and I was able to give him props as he left the stage, he was very appreciative. Just before midnight struck The Widdler stepped aside and helped for a smooth transition into Truth.

The night went fast because it was so much fun, and before I even realized it Truth was on stage and starting to count down the last seconds of 2016. Truth consists of an MC (Tristan Roake) and a DJ/Producer (Andre Fernandez) and they come from all the way out in New Zealand. Tristan started out by giving shouts the the Black Box and Sub.Mission. Then Andre hopped on the mic and said, "Yo, Happy New Year everybody. Who is ready to party? It's 2017! 2016 is over so let's do this!" Truth put it down with mad flavor for this set, going into a bunch of different sub-genres of electronic music including: Glitch, Dubstep, and even a sick Jungle section. Every time a recognizable track was mixed in the people got very vocal with their approval, especially the dudes in the front row, they went ham all night. 

For the final 30 minutes of the performance Truth brought The Widdler back out and they went back to back for the final half hour of the night. The place was super fired up for this, and at nearly every drop you could hear someone yell out, "OHHHH!" The two worked very well together in a back to back format. Whoever was about to be tagged in would always have such a perfect song for the switch, it seemed effortless, but surely that's just because these are very talented producers.

Man, what a great night! Thanks to everyone involved in making this show so special. Much love to Sub.Mission and all they do for the electronic music scene, without you guys this wouldn't be the Bass Capital. Make sure to like and follow The Black Box on facebook by following the link for future show announcements and contests. This is a new year and a new era is starting, you don't want to miss what is coming next.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Brendan & Jake 14th Annual Holiday Show - Park West, Chicago, Illinois 12/10/16 (Review)

The annual Brendan & Jake Holiday Show "For the Kids" returned to Chicago for its 14th year this past weekend at Park West. The night was filled with joyous sing-alongs and masterful re-works of classic tunes to fit the holiday season. You definitely don't want to miss this show full of shenanigans next year!

Check out our exclusive live video of LA Santa, a re-work of LA Woman by the Doors. Sorry in advance for the slightly shaky screen, was taken on a Galaxy S6 by a slightly intoxicated individual ;P


Monday, December 12, 2016

Emancipator Maps & Father King EP + Loci Records Showcase Preview

Maps & Father King EP

Maps & Father King EP
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the release of Soon it Will Be Cold Enough, the debut album from ambient pioneer and multi-instrumentalist Emancipator, real name Doug Appling. Soon it Will Be Cold Enough features Appling's signature blend of melodic downtempo, instrumental hip-hop, and electronica  that has gained him a diverse audience of dedicated fans across the world. In honor of his debut album's 10th anniversary, Emancipator released the Maps & Father King EP last month, featuring remastered versions of two tracks, Maps & Father King, along with four remixes by the likes if Kodak to Graph, Star Slinger, Catching Flies, and Imagined Herbal Flows.

From Emancipator's Bandcamp page: 
"Ten years ago, I released "Soon It Will Be Cold Enough" on CD-Rs, biking to the post office a few times a week to send out whatever orders trickled in through the Paypal address I had posted on Myspace. Somehow it reached the ears of iconic Japanese hip-hop producer Nujabes and was released on his label, Hydeout Productions. In addition to giving the album a professional mixdown, Nujabes suggested a new tracklist that omitted two songs, "Maps" and "Father King". As a special nod to the ten year anniversary of my first album and these two lost tracks which are still dear to me and many of my listeners, I'll be releasing a special Maps & Father King EP on November 11th with both tracks remastered and remixed by four different producers. I'm very excited to give new life to these songs in the form of this special release."

The Maps & Father King EP is available now via Bandcamp and vinyl

Loci Records Label Showcase Tour

Chicago - Denver - San Francisco - Los Angeles

As if the Maps & Father King EP release wasn't exciting enough, Emancipator is hitting the road this winter as part of his Loci Records Label Showcase tour. For the first time ever, fans can experience the magic of Emancipator's live show alongside some of the talented artists on his Loci Records label- Tor, Edamame, and Lapa. 

The tour's remaining stops- Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles- should be considered must-see shows for longtime fans and curious new listeners alike. More info available on the Loci Records website.

Tor was raised in a small mountain town on Canada’s west coast where he started experimenting with music production as a teenager. He further honed his skills while living in Australia, running a small recording studio and remixing some prominent Australian producers. He later produced the Sufjan Stevens hip hop mashup album ‘Illinoize’, which garnered a lot of critical and audience acclaim. 

Now based in Vancouver and inspired by the positive feedback he received from his previous projects, Tor produced the album he had been wanting to make for almost 10 years: ‘Drum Therapy’. It combines layers of downtempo melodic beats, organic instrumentation, and the unmistakable sounds of dusty samples. 'Drum Therapy’ was released on Emancipator’s label ‘Loci Records’ in late 2012, receiving glowing reviews from critics and fans alike. 
Drum Therapy
Since then Tor has been touring all over the US supporting acts such as Emancipator, Bluetech & Random Rab, as well as getting in studio time producing remixes and new music for the next phase of his career.

Edamame is the stage name of Chicago-based ambient electronic music producer Ed Harris. With sounds equally inspired by the great outdoors and the worlds divergent cultures, Ed’s productions often teem with organic sonic textures personally field-recorded during his planetary exploration.
Ed Harris aka Edamame
Edamame has carved out his unique sound by synthesizing instrumental hip hop with downtempo melodies further informed by his deep love for world music. 303 Magazine describes Ed's music as more of an organic experience than emotion-provoking, [inviting] his listeners on a brainwave joyride. Since starting in 2012, Edamame has played live to fans on both coasts as well as internationally, prompting music from his nine albums to score thousands of downloads in addition to airtime on radio stations around the world.

Lapa real name Ilya Goldberg, began training in classical violin at an early age in his birthplace of Perm, Russia. Since moving to the States in 2000 to pursue music full-time, his skill and dedication has guided him on the nomad’s path from the Cleveland Institute of Music to international tours out of his home base in Portland, Oregon. In the classical realm, Ilya has performed with several Russian and American orchestras, chamber groups, and as a soloist. With over a decade of experience as a chameleonic studio musician on violin, viola, and mandolin he is lauded for his ability to fluidly adapt his improvisational mastery to any genre.
Meeting of the Waters
Ilya also fills a unique niche by infusing electronic music with classical technique and a sensibility spanning epochs of music. His collaborators include Random Rab, Lynx, Rena Jones, The Human Experience, Future Simple Project and Devochka. Currently, he performs and works closely with innovative electronic trip-hop producer Emancipator. As a producer under the moniker Lapa, Ilya weaves together musical stories with complexly textured harmonies, expansive melodies, and intricately layered beats. His music blurs borders and transcends boundaries, illuminating the resonance of universal forces and teleporting people to wild, dream-like places of serenity and connection.