Last weekend, Colorado was honored to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Global Dance Festival at Red Rocks near Denver: the state’s largest and only three-day electronic dance festival that everyone looks forward to during the year. Triad Dragons and Sub.mission Dubstep collaborated to yet again create a phenomenal lineup for 2012.
Friday night the festival kicked off with some local favorites on the main stage including James Egbert, Dragon & Jontron, and Ecotek. Colorado has amazing local artists to offer and I enjoy many of them, but that night Ecotek really stood out and gave an upbeat set that energized everyone the rest of the night. The crowd sang along to Teenage Crime and In My Mind.
The Global Bass Stage, located above the Main Stage, featured artists the likes of Krewella, Harvard Bass, 3LAU and Felix Cartel. The Main Stage had our attention all night with the heavy lineup consisting of Hardwell, Knife Party, and Swedish House Mafia’s Steve Angello. Hardwell was impressive yet again and is one of those artsits that even though I have seen multiple times this summer, he always puts on a new and interesting set. His new track with Showtek, How We Do, sounded so massive bouncing of the rocks and the crowd loved it. This was Knife Party’s first appearance in Colorado, and their set had everyone buzzing about them the rest of the weekend. They definitely know how to engage with the crowd in a more rock kind of way which was a nice difference from other DJ’s. Steve Angello opened up with Swedish House Mafia’s very popular hit Greyhound and continued to grab the crowd’s attention by playing favorites such as Calling by Alesso and Sebastian Ingrosso and the Dirty South remix of Coming Home. After seeing all three of the Swedish House Mafia members at solo shows this summer of course they all put on great shows but I felt Steve Angello had the most diverse and interesting set.
This year the main stage lighting setup was spectacular. Lights and LED panels were placed across the full opening and utilized Red Rocks’ rocky platform to its fullest potential; it was comparable to many stages at the larger festivals across the country such as Electric Daisy Carnival and Nocturnal Wonderland. While the sun was still up, the second day started again with some local talent, Joman played first, followed by the first perfomance of the DJ group Triad Dragons. The members of the Triad Dragons were unknown until their special appearance on stage and were revealed as a trio of Ha Hau, Trajikk, and Kevin Alves. They gave a mixture of house beats and electro drops which the audience found as distinct and different to dance to.
Then it was Nadia Ali’s turn to take the spotlight. I have seen live vocalists before such as Emma Hewit and JES and I love the depth they can add to a festival. Nadia had a short yet amazing performance which everyone enjoyed, as she danced and made each row of the venue sing along to Pressure. The well known locals, Manufactured Superstars came on next. Dressed in their signature astronaut suits with matching dancers and they threw little blow-up astronaut dolls into the crowd. They had a great set and ended with a new poppy single featuring Nick Hissom singing live.
The next artists to play the amphitheater were Morgan Page, Wolfgang Gartner and Above & Beyond. Morgan is a Denver favorite and played his third year in a row at Global Dance Festival. As expected, he showed the crowd why he deserves to come back year after year. He of course played his own, The Longest Road, I Fight For You, and In The Air to sing along to. He then made his way into Denver for a second set at Beta Nightclub. Wolfgang played his newest song Love and War along with Flexx, Space Junk and Illmerica that did nothing short of blow away the crowd as we fully expected him too. Wolfgang is force to be reckoned with live, and I have never seen a disappointing set from him. I recommend everyone catch him on his up coming Love and War bus tour.
Finally the trance group that we had all been waiting for, Above & Beyond took over Red Rocks. They don’t come to Colorado very often and it was a wonderful atmosphere seeing them perform at such a beautiful venue. I took some time away from the camera to just take in one of my favorite groups with my friends in the front row. This turned out to be a great choice as my girlfriend and I were chosen to join Paavo and Jono on stage to drop Sun & Moon. Looking out at the massive crowd was an amazing feeling inexplicable with words, but if you’d like you can check out the video their manager took for us here. The power, energy, and emotion Above & Beyond bring to their live shows is unmatched by anyone I have ever seen.
Team EZ dancers and the traveling performers all put on great performances throughout the weekend and had the audience intrigued for what they would get to see dance and present on stage next. Discoball Man was sure to make an appearance at each of the stages for all of the nights, whereas the dancers had fresh and different outfits for almost every artist. On Saturday, each and every one of the dancers wore a bikini and cooled down the crowd with squirt guns and water balloons as beach balls were tossed around. Sunday’s schedule had to end a little bit earlier than the previous nights, but what it lacked in time it definitely made up for in bass and dubstep. Colorado has one of the biggest bass scenes in the world and the final day of the festival brought many dub fans out to party between the rocks.
We got there just as local heavy weight Ishe was rocking the main stage with Curious MC alongside him. Not surprisingly the amphitheater was already almost half full in support for our amazing local artist and the crowd quickly grew as Figure took to the stage. Figure always impress me with his live sets and original productions, his newest of which The Last Dawn he closed his set with. As the sun set on the final night Adventure Club took over the main stage. Their set was a lot different then when I saw them this winter but this was only an improvement to growing young duo. I couldn’t catch all of it as I had to run up to the Global Bass Stage to see some of Kill The Noise followed by 12th Planet. I’v said it before and it remains true, Kill The Noise is one of the most skilled mixers I have seen, especially in the bass community. He was followed by his good friend and another Denver favorite 12th Planet. They both unloaded a new mix of their track with Skrillex, Right On Time. My favorite track from the Bangarang EP got a little update with lyrics from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song, which made the everyone go truly nuts!
Back down to the main stage to close out the night as Dillon Francis was already in control of the now sold out Red Rocks. Dillon is one of the funniest guys in the EDM community, and he started off by getting the crowd to yell “Fuck TSA” who took his hair gel. Even tho he couldn’t slick back his hair he still managed to put down a set even better then the last I saw from him. It’s no secret that Dillon Francis is going to have a long a great career ahead of him, and I’m glad Colorado gets to see him so often as he progresses so quickly.
But the night was nowhere near over as my favorite act of the night took the stage, Zeds Dead along with Omar LinX. They always go all out for Denver and this time was no different. Hit after hit went by as I waited for the one song I was very hopeful to hear, Cowboy. They have been working on this track together for a long time and tested it in Denver at their last show, now the finished product was ready and it sounded amazing. I will always prefer seeing Zeds Dead with Omar LinX, they have something together that honestly no one else in EDM does. Now to close out the festival was Excision. Excision has always been a little heavier then my taste in dubstep but I’m glad I stuck around for his set. He is very impressive live as he blends between styles of bass music. This made for a very well organized set and the best way to end an amazing weekend.
Thank you to everyone who made this festival possible, especially Triad Dragons, Sub.Mission Dubstep, Global Dance Music, Red Rocks, all the artist and the amazing Colorado EDM family. This is the best event I have ever been to and been apart of, I can’t wait to see what Global Dance Festival will do next year! Although these amazing promotion companies are already working on their next big events. On September 22nd Skylab returns to the Denver Coliseum with a stacked lineup including Porter Robinson, Gareth Emery and Zedd. We will have more information on that soon!