Friday, July 25, 2014

Global Dance Festival @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre [7/18/14-7/20/14] (Review)

Review By:
Justin D'Amico

Last weekend was the 12th annual Global Dance Festival at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. Formerly called Rave on the Rocks, the event has evolved into a huge collective of top electronic artists on three stages. Global Dance Festival was a massive 3 day long bash with big names in all electronic genres.

Red Rocks Amphitheater is an incredible location for both the optical amazement and perfect natural acoustics. The amphitheater's main stage is nestled right in the middle of a wondrous geological rock formation. There are two famous rocks, Ship Rock and Creation Rock, on each side of the rows of seating terraces leading down to the main stage. When coming to Red Rocks there are four different entrances and a number of different parking lots. From some lots you have to hike up a bit to reach the main stage, and from there it's another hike up to the top. There is one small parking lot at the top mostly designated as handicapped parking. At the top of the amphitheater is an open platform with a beautiful view, on clear days you can see the skyline of Denver fifteen miles away. Red Rocks is a place like no other for a show, or even better a festival! The sound is awesome and the sights are epic.

For Global Dance Festival the three stages were set up strategically to not have sound bleed over between the different areas. The main stage was of course the amphitheater, the second stage was located on the top platform of the venue, and a third stage was on a separate lower terrace located off the back side of the top platform. Each stage had its own charm and all three had interesting views of either the foothills or the famous red rocks.

The audio and visual staff for Global Dance Festival was on point the entire weekend with spectacular sound, lasers, and graphics. The laser specialists at Amazing Lasers, in particular Laser Hands, dazzled the crowd with a sick laser formation crossing the stage using both Ship Rock and Creation Rock as a canvas. The live laser show is all created on the fly, so a talented laser operator is key in timing cues with the music. The graphics displays were for the most part controlled by VJ Infinight, he did a great job using images from live camera feeds, turning them into works of art. For every artist VJ Infinight had a number of creative ways to display band logos or other unique images, and have them dance along with the music. Aspects like lasers and graphics cannot be set on auto mode, there are a whole crew of people steadily making adjustments to frame each magical moment in time.

Most memorable performances at Global Dance Festival 2014


I am a huge fan of Savant, and he never lets his fans down. He makes superb music of every electronic sub-genre, tweaking and morphing glitches into his own perfect sounds. Savant creates more music than pretty much any other producer, and he mixes and masters all on his own too. During his set he had a couple mistakes, but it's to be expected when you are raging as hard as he does on stage. Savant also mentioned that he isn't a huge fan of trap and festival music during his set. Then he showed us how he puts his own personal spin on those styles and slayed. Savant also had a special guest with him, fellow producer Mr. Bill, he was just hanging out enjoying the festival and Colorado. The two didn't end up doing anything together live at Global Dance Festival, but I suspect they will have musical collaborations in the near future. They were probably working on new stuff in the hotel after the show. With how much Savant produces, it wouldn't surprise me.


The place was buzzing so hard on Saturday night for Destroid! I had never seen a Destroid show before, just clips online, and I knew I was in for a treat. For this performance Destroid went all out and brought Messinian to join the crew. Messinian led the crowd on the microphone providing a little extra in the hype department. Destroid went above and beyond my expectations with the hardest music all weekend and intense visuals. This was a set to remember and I am already eager to see Destroid again.

Andy C and Armanni Reign

The set by Andy C with Armanni Reign as his MC was totally drum and bass massive. Andy C was pretty much the only artist at the festival who goes with the fast drum and bass beats. Andy C went so hard it was like a mosh pit in the whole amphitheater. The crowd was under Armanni Reign's control, he would ask for noise and it would blare, he would ask for hands up and they would rise. I really enjoy good drum and bass music, it reminds me of Detroit and all the junglists who spin out there. It would be really cool to see more festivals incorporate drum and bass artists in the mix. A good variety of styles makes for a better festival, when everyone is playing trap music it can get dull. Big ups to Andy C and Armanni Reign for throwing down a booming drum and bass set.

It was surreal to attend my first ever concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater and have it be this massive electronic festival with a ton of music I love. Global Dance Festival was a blast, I am so happy I was able to be a part of it. This is one festival everyone who loves electronic dance music must attend at some point in their life. Big thanks to everyone who made these three days so impressive, especially the founders of Global Dance Festival, Ha Hau and Kostas Kouremenos. This weekend was one for the ages, see you all next year at Global Dance Festival 2015.


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