Amon Tobin at City Hall, 12/31/12
Amon Tobin approached the stage shortly after the official countdown to the new year and immediately launched into a set that blew minds and caught some folks -- who may have only been familiar with music played on his ISAM tour -- off guard. His New Year's Eve set at City Hall was full of low-down dirty drum-and-bass and void of any of that new-age fast dubstep. For the first moments of 2013, Tobin absolutely tore City Hall apart with 170 bpm breaks, while showing remarkable courage in his choice of samples.
See also: - Slide show: Amon Tobin at City Hall - Amon Tobin on the perks of technology and why all electronic music is called dubstep - Dubstep for Dummies, a primer for newly-minted dubstep fans - Review: Future Simple Project at the Other Side, 10/28/10
Unlike those of a lot of other DJs, Tobin's sets do not consist of -- nor do they rely on in any way -- a massive drop at the end of a redundant bridge. At City Hall, he showcased more of his playful and fun side, setting up for a big drop and then rolling into a smoothed-out tempo of beats that stopped you in your tracks. This gave the entire set a whole new vibe; in order to enjoy and appreciate the music, you needed to pay attention rather than just wait for the drop.
It became very evident who came for which artist during Tobin's set. The audience didn't pile out, but it weened in back a bit, and the energy was focused more on the music as a whole than just a ten-second clip. Drum-and-bass isn't for everybody, but Tobin's set was the best way to ring in the new year, thanks to a diverse track listing, perfected transitions in the set, and the ability to change gears entirely without train wrecking the crowd. Closing with a Metallica riff that felt peppered with Bassnectar influence, Tobin officially rang the new year with one of the most diverse drum and bass sets ever played in Denver, all the while never fleeing from his persistence to think outside the box of creativity
EPROM, the main support for the night, was met with mixed emotions. Some thoroughly enjoyed the trap-heavy set, while others weren't really feeling the slow beats and minimal use of samples and sounds. Riding the wave of trap-thirsty bass-heads, EPROM brought things up and down in his near-hour set, ramping up slowly to the countdown, which brought a shower of confetti raining onto the crowd.
Prior to EPROM bringing the dirty south to the Mile High, Kastle brought a monster low end, with bass production that was so on point it had the ceiling panels, which happen to be sheets of metal, vibrating with a ferocious rattle that took away from the set if you happened to be in the top balcony. Kastle's set was a great warm-up for the night, and complete with some visual production starting up on the LED panels, City Hall swayed with the casual bass beats.
Future Simple Project, an act we've watched grow from weekday sets at smaller venues into a massive duo of experimentation with sound, really has found a niche for its exotic take on dance music. The act has also adopted a taste for trap -- or perhaps everyone is just moving along the same evolutionary path -- as the music was much more upbeat and modern, with strings on the tracks, which gave a much more organic feel to the otherwise electronic-heavy tunes.
Personal Bias: Amon Tobin makes music that he enjoys, which in turn translates to music his fan base enjoys. It's creative, different, and always leaning toward the spectral end of experimentation and innovation. I like new things.
By The Way:Does anyone know the name of the violinist during FSP's set? He was awesome.
Random Detail: No fights. No disruptions. This night brought out some really peaceful people who wanted to ring in the new year with fellow music fans and with a smile on their face.
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