Review: Zion I, MiMOSA, and Ghostland Observatory at Red Rocks

June 19, 2012 No comments yet


Friday night was nothing short of spectacular as Zion I, MJF regular MiMOSA, and minimalist prog-rock duo Ghostland Observatory took stage at the greatest venue on Earth. Doors opened at 6, with a pair of openers even before Zion I. MJF hit the scene around 7:45, just in time for one of hip-hops growing names to take the stage. I can’t sit here and pretend like I know a ton about Zion I, but what I saw was pretty impressive. Zion I kept the energy up for entire set, and brought it home with Coastin’. Coastin’ is the track that everyone knows, and brought the crowd into a frenzy as the set-break ensued and MiMOSA prepared to take the stage for his first co-headlining gig at Red Rocks.

Zion I – Coastin’

MiMOSA is no stranger to big venues. He has played Red Rocks before, and he recently had big gigs at some music festivals, including Snowball Music Festival in Avon, CO and Bonnaroo, in Manchester, TN. He will be continuing his run of festivals across the country all summer.

MiMOSA’s show had a different feel this time around. His set on Friday had much more of hip-hop vibe than the other times that I’ve seen him, assuredly in part because he followed Zion I to the stage. I will say that MiMOSA showed up to wow the crowd. After his performance at Red Rocks last year when he opened for Lotus and the Glitch Mob, Tigran (MiMOSA) was adamant that playing to a nearly max-capacity crowd at Red Rocks was the pinnacle of his musical career. No doubt, he set out to relive that experience this weekend. He played for nearly two hours. During his set, he dropped a little Sandstorm on us. How he managed to revamp and refresh one of the most overplayed tracks in music’s history is beyond me, but he did it! Portions of his set took us up and down, and at times Tigran chopped and screwed his way to the dancing shoes of the audience. And of course, no DJ set is complete these days without playing a remix of Waka Flocka’s “Hard In Da Paint.” MiM0SA’s set on Friday held true to form. The bass shook the rocks. Whether you like DJ sets or not, MiMOSA brings an energy often lacking in his counterparts, and a refreshing attitude to the game. Future trill, indeed.

MiMOSA – Fluorenscence

MiMOSA co-headlined, but Ghostland Observatory was the final performance of the night. What a way to round out a Friday night at The Rocks! Ghostland has been touring relentless these past couple of years (more like a decade), and they just continue to get better and better. I can’t think of a band that encapsulates the ideology of rock more than Ghostland Observatory.

Ghostland’s entire approach to music is a flawless melding of the two distinctly different personalities of its two members, Thomas Ross Turner and Aaron Behrens. Turner, the producer/drummer/keyboardist of the duo, finds solace in the minimal, Behrens’ interests lie more along the lines of psychedelia, rock and various country and blues artists. Behrens has been compared to the likes of Freddie Mercury. How’s that for a real fucking rockstar?

The result of these contrasting styles is somehow a shimmering, pulsing pop music that is at once kinetically alive with Behrens’ striking vocals and driving guitar work, anchored firmly by Turner’s percussive beats and Moog-generated melodies and hooks. Common descriptions include “electro-dance rock,” “synth-funk,” and “Freddie Mercury-helms-Daft Punk.”

Their name is awesome, their attitude is inspiring, their music is captivating, and there is no one in music that can rival their light show. You’d think with all the powerhouse light shows in the jamband world (Phish and Umphrey’s McGee both have sensational light shows), and a burgeoning EDM and dub-step scene, someone somewhere would compete with Ghostland’s light-prowess. Shouldn’t Skrillex or Bassnectar be able to pack just as much of a punch? Surely an artist by the name of Pretty Lights would rival!? NO! The undisputed champion of light shows is Ghostland Observatory, and deservedly so. Just look at the video I was able to take on my phone… LOOK AT IT! And next time Ghostland is in your neighborhood, you’d do yourself a favor by checking them out.

ghostland observatory-midnight voyage

Ghostland Observatory – Paparazzi Lightning