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.




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