Live Review: Global Dance Fest 2008 at Red Rocks
Click here for a slide show of the event.
Global Dance Fest
July 19, 2008
Better Than: Drinking the juice from a glowstick
Global Dance Fest is evidence that despite dance music’s low profile on the pop culture radar, it’s still a big deal. The festival easily sold out Red Rocks and probably could have filled the place for two more nights if they had wanted to make it a multi-day event. When I arrived, around 6:00, the place was already jumping and by the time the sun started to sink in the sky the place was so full it was hard to navigate without bumping into some candy-bedecked raver kid. This is a good thing, in my dance-music-loving eyes.
For the first couple of hours I wandered around, soaking in the vibe, stopping only briefly to check out any particular DJ. It wasn’t until Dieselboy took the main stage I really focused in on the music. Dieselboy, as usual, delivered a solid set of aggressive, gnarly jungle. It did seem to be a little less abrasive than the last time I saw him play, a few years ago. It still wasn’t easy listening by any means. He had an MC with him who did a good job hyping up the crowd, although jungle MCs don’t really impress me since they seem to spend most of their time yelling for people to “make some fucking noise” rather than adding anything substantive to the music.
Junkie XL followed Dieselboy with a set of progressive and trance infused breakbeats. His set was nice, but I could have gone for something a little edgier. On the other hand, the crowd ate it up and it did seem to fit the mood of the party well. It certainly wasn’t bad, but it lacked teeth and I wasn’t able to focus on it much after the first few tracks.
Next up was Deadmau5, who took the stage wearing a giant mouse head. You have to love the themed costumes. His set mixed elements of techno, progressive and electro house in a pleasing, crowd-friendly amalgam of some of the hottest sounds in dance music. Overall, his set was the best thing I heard all night, but my deep/minimal-loving ears still found it a bit too obvious to really set me on fire.
By the time Ferry Corsten took over, the crowd was a sea of waving glowsticks, shining and glimmering in the gorgeous, warm night. Corsten has become one of the world’s top DJs on the back of sugary, goopy bubblegum trance and he certainly didn’t deviate from that blueprint much. I had to leave before his set was over, and, as I predicted, he never sounded better than when I was walking the ancient, natural beauty of Red Rocks, while his scintillating string pads and sweet synthesizer sounds bounced off the rocks.
Overall, the entire fest focused a little too intently on the most popular, easily accessible aspects of the dance music underground for my particular tastes, but that wasn’t a big surprise. Old-school heads such as myself weren’t the main target, and the young, clearly novice fans that surrounded me seemed absolutely transfixed. The whole event had more of a concert vibe than a party vibe, but that probably had a lot to do with the venue, which made dancing difficult. Despite the fact that I personally was not in love with any of the music I heard, it was encouraging to see the next generation of dance music fans cutting their teeth on some easily digestible sounds and paving the way for the future. -- Cory Casciato
Personal Bias: It has been years – I don’t even want to say how many – since I could honestly say I really liked any kind of trance
Random Detail: I learned a new word: “prostitot,” for the very young girls running around in little more than their underwear and sequins.
By The Way: The Triad Dragons/Global Dance crew really know how to throw an event. The execution was stellar.
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