Jibs and Jams: Chief Keef, Afroman, Wolfmother at the Block Festival

Marty Party performed at Snowboard on the Block Festival in downtown Denver last weekend.
Marty Party performed at Snowboard on the Block Festival in downtown Denver last weekend.

This weekend, the Block Festival brought jibs and jams to downtown Denver's Sculpture Park. The first day of the festival, which combined music, snowboarding and film, could be summed up in three words: Moshing. Mimosa. Sosa.

As the snowboard community brought together vendors, action sports media, athletes and videographers to the grounds, artists Mimosa and Chief Keef performed to a crowd of fairly stoned teenagers. Mimosa kicked things off with a DJ set, starting with relaxed electronic music. As he mixed in rap songs from Travis Scott, The Weeknd and Outkast, the crowd definitely livened up, singing along with the lyrics. Mimosa then fell back on electronic- and bass-heavy tracks; the crowd calmed, but continued to bob their heads. At one point, Mimosa shouted, "Denver, I'm stoned, too, but, you gotta give some energy in this bitch." That bought him more energy for a while.

“I thought [the crowd] was great, but I thought it was mostly Chief Keef fans,” Mimosa said after his set.

The Block Festival played its snowboard-centric film of the year, with the crowd chanting Chief Keef's nickname —  "Sosa! Sosa! Sosa!" — intermittently through the film. Soon enough, Chief Keef appeared on stage in a rainbow Dikembe Mutombo throwback Nuggets jersey, which met with a roar from the crowd. A mosh pit formed immediately. Chief Keef's crew members incited many mosh pits with their gangster-rap lyrics.

There were probably 25 people on stage, ranging from hype men to Snapchatters, sometimes emptying water bottles into the crowd as they jumped and shoved. More than once during the set, Chief Keef hopped down to the barricades to greet fans. Once 11 p.m. hit, Chief Keef quickly ran through his larger hits like "Don't Like" and "Love Sosa." He ended his set by turning out all the lights on stage, prompting fans to get out their phones and encouraging the largest and most belligerent mosh pit of the night. 

On the second day of the Block Festival, the featured acts were Marty Party, Afroman and Wolfmother. Marty Party, a South African drum-and-bass DJ, was wearing an African pendant to represent his native land. He brought a plethora of electronic sounds ranging from trance, dub, drum and bass, and occasional hip-hop influences. Marty Party’s set offered a faster-paced alternative to Mimosa’s more relaxed set the day before.

After the festival's snowboard competition, Afroman took the stage without any support — just a microphone and a white double-necked Gibson SG guitar. As he was warming up, Afroman said, “The more you smoke, the better I sound." Afroman began his set with his hit "Colt 45," which lasted over five minutes as he drank from a Colt 45 forty-ounce on stage. The musician had an infectious smile as the entire crowd sang along to “Because I Got High.” The audience gave Afroman frenzied applause after every song, especially when the artist asked, "You wanna hear a joke about my dick? Never mind. It's too long." He then chugged the remaining half of his Colt 45. 

Wrapping up the Block Festival was Australian rock band Wolfmother. The trio embodied the quintessential rock band: long hair, headbands, silk jackets and a vivacious sound to match. Guitarist and lead singer Andrew Stockdale shredded through his catalogue and even mixed in some Led Zeppelin licks on his solo during "Woman." Drummer Alex Carapetis hammered the drums throughout the set. The rebellious crowd thrashed all the way through the encore.


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