The best EDM shows in Denver in November
Since his debut solo album Dreaming of Something Bigger, Michal Menert has been steadily touring the country building a grassroots following in the same way Derek Vincent Smith of Pretty Lights did when first hit the scene. Menert has one fans over with his galactic spaced out grooves, which draw heavy influence from the golden eras of soul, funk and hip-hop. El-P and Killer Mike are slated to share this outstanding bill.
Porter Robinson started making electronic music at the age of thirteen using Sony ACID Pro, but he didn't perform his music live in front of an audience until a handful of years later. Since then, Robinson, who's barely old enough to drink, has led a bit of a charmed existence for any modern purveyor of electronic dance music. He's toured with Skrillex, shared stages with the some of the biggest names and performed at multiple large music festivals. Like any worthwhile artist in any style or tradition, Robinson definitely brings a signature sound to his music with an artful blending of beats and synthesizer composition, improvised and otherwise, with no obvious attempt to mimic his peers.
It was only a matter of time before someone brought Dirty South beats into the world of EDM, and Flosstradamus has certainly set the precedent for what a good trap show is supposed to be like. It's like Flosstradamus slipped drum and bass tracks in a potent cup of lean. Trap music has been around for awhile, but in this new era acts like Flosstradamus are bringing chopped beats and bangin' kicks to the dance floor.
Simon Green's Bonobo project has taken chilled-out downtempo on a meandering journey through complex syncopation, sweeping strings and heavy bass lines since 1999, when he released the single "Terrapin" on the Tru Thoughts label. Since then, Green has created four full-length albums for both that imprint and the epic Ninja Tune. His use of exotic instruments like the sitar blended with soulful, funky horns and gentle cymbals creates a soundscape reminiscent of a laid-back DJ Shadow. Bonobo's albums are sweet, hypnotic and often melancholy, and his live work kicks the energy up a notch while maintaining his signature blissed-out downtempo feel. -- Amber Taufen
Coming from across the pond, James Zabiela brings his netherworld house to Denver. Although not quite minimal, Zabiela is very choosy in what sounds make it into his mixes, which makes it easier to enjoy the complexities of what he seamlessly builds into his sets. This is not a club banger type of set, but Zabiela can move a room in the right way, and shoulders should be swaying all night.
As founder of the now-famous DimMak record label, Steve Aoki has built his dance party into an empire. Pulling nearly every hard working act in pop music on board, his tracks all focus around one idea, and that is to make sure your ass is partying. His live show antics range from paddling through the crowd on a raft, tossing cake into the screaming audience, and stage diving right into the heart of the party. Essentially, Aoki helped usher in the hyper party of a concert, but his electro-house music alone can keep you sweating well into the night.
Paul Oakenfold is a legend. Bringing trance music from the underground into the mainstream, Oakenfold has amassed a massive catalog of songs that range from club bangers, bog-room anthems and movie scores. He was a Grammy nominee, long before Skrillex even touched a CDJ. With over thirty years in the scene, Oakenfold has stood the test of time as the reigning champion of trance.
Claude VonStroke, the founder of the illustrious Dirtybird record label, brings a saucy take on house music; he flirts with genres from all over the spectrum, nodding to hip-hop, garage and soul, while infecting the dancefloor with his playful, upbeat style. Although he's long been a presence on the festival circuit, this year was the first that Dirtybird as a label hosted stages at festivals across the country, including HARD, Electric Zoo and TomorrowWorld. Unlike many festival staples, though, VonStroke and his proteges don't play the latest tunes. They're too busy scoping out the sound of the future and sculpting it into their own creations, envisioning and creating the cutting edge of what's new in the house world. -- Amber Taufen
NORAD has become the home for house music in Denver, and with Duke Dumont coming just before his HARD Day of the Dead performance in L.A., it proves once again that NORAD and HOME Denver are always one step ahead of the curve. With mixes that jump in and out of disco feelings and house styles, Dumont knows how to rock a room and keep it grooving until the wee hours. To boot, Dumont gives an almost '80s dance party feel to his sets while keeping the contemporary vibe alive with his passion for melodic house tunes.
Nu-Disco in 2013 is what dubstep was in 2011. It's the hottest sound going. Granted, Treasure Fingers hasn't missed a step in the disco world since he burst on the scene over a decade ago. His mixes in the past few years have landed on the hottest playlists around the world with nods from heavy hitters like Pete Tong (BBC Radio 1) and A-Trak (Fools Gold Records), among others. Given nu-disco's rising popularity, it was only a matter of time before this Atlanta-bred producer climbed the ranks of stardom to earn his place atop the Beatport and Hype Machine charts as one of the go-to producers for hot remixes and original dance tracks. Throw on your dance pants and get ready for sweaty disco throw down with Treasure Fingers and the Denver Disco crew.
Pete Tong is truly a pioneer and legend in the dance music realm. With over two million listeners tuning into his weekly two-hour BBC radio show, this king of the airwaves has a catalog of music that could only be rivaled by the entire Internet's vastness of sounds. Tong has King Midas-like foresight when it comes to playing unheard tracks and championing artists who gain tremendous exposure when he debuts their tracks.
The music of Excision is a fitting soundtrack to the desolate, gritty, apocalyptic landscape of a future ruled by homicidal machines. His tunes are warped, stuttering affairs studded with samples from both sci-fi and hip-hop. Wobbly bass that can double as a sonic weapon is the foundation for eerie, meticulously designed timbres that create a claustrophobic atmosphere around his twisting beats. The resulting tracks are masterpieces of the dark side of the dance floor. As a DJ, he fuses his own tracks with similarly sinister material from other artists into a gnarly, rapid-fire blitzkrieg. Catch Excision at the Boom Festival at 1STBANK Center with Deltron 3030, Funtcase vs. Cookie Monsta, Brillz, Ill.Gates and Robotic Pirate Monkey. -- Cory Casciato
Born in Leeds, England as Christopher Mercer, Rusko has become one of the most sought-after dubstep producers in recent years. He inherited a love of music from his mother, a folk and country singer who performed in a band called Ventura Highway. She stopped being an active musician when he was still an infant, but being around guitars his entire life left a mark on Rusko, who learned how to play at a young age and who used two small tape recorders to record songs, radio shows and other sounds to fuel his creativity. Rusko later attended the Leeds College of Music, and that's when he focused his efforts on beat-making. Catch Rusko this time around with Roni Size and Dynamite MC.
Gaining a grassroots following with his catchy dance remixes of hip-hop, classic rock and a gaggle of other genres, the Polish Ambassador following is rabid in their love for the yellow onesie rocking producer. Along with Liminus, his visual guru, the duo create an environment of pure enjoyment in both the audio and visual realm of production by engaging the crowd with a synchronized light and sound show. Utilizing life experiences to enhance his own music, the Polish Ambassador banks on his relation to his audience's real life feelings and experiences by delivering an original set that rollercoasters from low, chilled out grooves to intense, in-your-face jams that don't solely rely on classic hooks, but also original lyrics that draw you into the moment.
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