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.