July 5, 2011 3 comments
So I’ve got a little theory that I’m testing out: everybody goes hard at Red Rocks. Pretty rudimentary theory, right? But I’m talking waaaaay harder than normal. We’ve all been to small venues and seen good bands play at venues that were too small for their skills. But this is another story altogether. I would take the raw energy of a show at Red Rocks over the most intimate small theaters any day. Red Rocks is the pinnacle, it’s what musicians strive for. The biggest names that put on monstrous show night after night go even more balls-to-the-wall when they play Red Rocks. But what about the bands that haven’t really “made it” so to speak? The up-and-comers who are fortunate enough to open for those fortunate enough to headline at a place like Red Rocks? (That makes sense, right?) Well I’ve got about 15 bands in my sample group, and every single artist/group that plays Red Rocks throws down. HARD. Saturday night was no exception. And the headliners were the cherry on top. Com Truise and then The New Deal started the night off, after which MiMOSA hyped the crowd up for a co-bill where Lotus and The Glitch Mob each played full sets.
Unfortunately I missed Com Truise and only heard a little bit of The New Deal as I was walking in, but I liked what I heard. I read an article yesterday that said The New Deal was hanging up their boots after 12 years, which is unfortunate for me as a new fan. Their 2011 tour is their final run so this is your last shot to catch them. Here’s Gone Gone Gone, a track that I’ve really enjoyed for the last couple of days.
I made it inside the venue for the majority of MiM0SA’s set. It was upbeat, energized, fluid. He really had a handle on his tracks and seemed very organized up there, not to mention grateful to be playing such a sick venue. It was really refreshing, like settling in on your first date after the awkward phase is over… Arrogant musicians are the worst. MiMOSA kept it cool and set the tone for what was to come the rest of the night. When he dropped 58 Degrees (the title track off his most recent EP) in front of the 7,000 fans already inside the venue at that point, I got chills. You can download MiMOSA’s EP, 58 Degrees here. Along with the track 58 Degrees, I’ve included his Sebastien Tellier Roche remix as well as his Dirty Vegas remix, which is just a delight to listen to.
Next was Lotus. Lotus was the atypical band Saturday night, as their shows feature lots of improvisation jam and far less in-your-face-bass than the dub-step/electronica groups surrounding their performance. However, I think it’s safe to say that Lotus stole the night. I’d seen them 4 times before their Red Rocks show and my only complaint in the past has been that they are almost too mellow and my interest is fleeting at times. They usually leave me very satisfied, but knowing that there is something more that they just didn’t tap into. Not the case Saturday. They pulled out all the stops and played an almost flawless set (minus about a minute of technical difficulty right in the middle during their song Dowrn). The light show was awesome and their improvisation was on point. There was no fleeting attention span despite some serious ADD.
The unanimous highlight of the night came right in the middle of the Lotus set. The band brought down the house as fireworks blasted off in the distance, and thousands of people in the venue simultaneously blasted off. There was also a lightning storm, which I can only say completed the light trifecta (venue lights, fireworks, lightning). I want to say that the fireworks were affiliated with Lotus or AEG Entertainment or something, but I can’t actually confirm that. And besides, calling it badass does it justice anyway.
Below is a video from a Lotus show in Dallas in 2008. The song is Umbilical Moonrise, and is the second to last song they played Saturday night. I apologize for the less-than-stellar video quality, but you get the picture. It’s crunchy as hell… pseudo-baby-making music in the jam scene
The Glitch Mob came on last, even though technically they were co-headliners with Lotus. The Glitch Mob (TGM) was a mix of emotions for me. They are the group I was most excited to see, since I had never seen them before. I’ve been listening to them a lot lately and really enjoy their studio stuff, and they hold their own when I blast something of theirs in a turntable room or whatever (turntable is the future, FYI). I like TGM a lot but I could see the crowd fading in and out as the night progressed. It could be because after Lotus, TGM was almost the polar opposite genre (heavy whomps, electronica/dub-step, etc.), or it could be that TGM’s set showcased a couple of newer songs (including their new single Warrior Concerto off the July 12 EP “We Can Make the World Stop”), which meshed nicely with their sound, but overall lost some of the crowd’s attention. The musical highlights of TGM’s set were the rap mash-up “West Coast Rocks,” which sampled 90’s tunes, the song Fortune Days, and their cover of 7 Nation Army to close the show.
Their set was like something from the twilight zone… very surreal. I actually heard some grumbles from a few die-hard fans that it was a very similar set to their show on Halloween, but since I didn’t see them in October it didn’t bother me one bit. Seeping in amongst the futuristic beats on Saturday were a couple of epic throwdowns, though. TGM started off strong with Animus Vox (off their album Drink the Sea), but throughout the show they weren’t always at their peak. They took an inordinate amount of breaks to say thank you and let the build-up mount, but when they finally brought it, Red Rocks went NUTS. Even the people who were clearly in way over their heads knew something special was going on.
The guys definitely looked comfortable on stage, and even took a second to say “Thank you Red Rocks! We feel like we’re playing in our living room!” When Drive it Like you Stole it came on as the start to their encore, everybody felt it in the air, and nobody’s hands could stay still. To top it all off, their light show was easily the sickest light show I have ever seen. It’s not even a competition. Seriously, TGM’s lights were leaps and bounds way cooler than any other concert I have ever been to. And they even had the cirque du soleil business going on with sexy girls doing tricks hanging from curtains dangling off the rafters. Just check out the pictures and try not to wet your undies.
Keep in mind: I’m not a critic, I just review shit. Umphrey’s McGee review to come in a day or 2. Follow me on twitter @naschner to live vicariously through me.