Concert Reviews

Celebrating Shroom Fest During the Super Moon

The largest and brightest moon of the year shone down on Earth this weekend. The phenomenon, called the Super Moon, occurs when the moon is full on the same day as its perigee -- the point when its orbit is the closest to the our planet, resulting in a moon that looks 12 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter. The Perseid meteor shower is pretty active this weekend too, but because the moon is so bright, it's not too visible. The moon has stolen the spotlight.

See also: The Venue Potential of Dryer Plug Studios

To celebrate this, a "Super Moon Party" was held on Saturday, August 9 in East Denver. Dryer Plug Studios hosted the event. It's usually a recording studio, known for recording local artists like Ancient Elk, Rubedo, Wheelchair Sports Camp, and Rowdy Shadehouse. The event wasn't the easiest to find, as it's not a party venue but more of a relatively discreet recording studio. There was a Quinceañera going on in the next building, which we were mistakenly walking into when we saw a teenager in a ball gown. The dark entrance next door populated by tatted-up guys smoking cigarettes looked more like it. Seeing Derrick Bozich of Ancient Elk in floral pants and others in bedazzled sweaters was also more like it.

The walls were decorated with graffiti and a painting by local artist Max Geimer, who was in attendance with a vintage camera around his neck. A large white sheet with the words "these are the good times" hung behind the stage. There was a huge outdoor smoking area in the back which also seemed to double as a junkyard of sorts. There were piles of scrap and an old Volkswagen beetle. Also, a table of very laid back and friendly people.

There were a lot of talk about 'shrooms and the moon. The organizer of the event, Gregg Ziemba, along with Reuben Martinez of Mouse Powell, had realized that the day fell on a Super Moon, when comedian Ari Shaffir's "hosts" Shroom Fest,( Shroom Fest is when fans of the comedian's podcast all over the world do shrooms and hash tag the resulting social media posts, sharing a hallucinogenic experience . "Ideally, I would of loved to have done mushrooms [at the show] personally but it just fell through," said Martinez, who was a bit bummed that there were no shrooms available. Potentially being on shrooms was a factor in the making of Ziemba's lineup for the Super Moon Party. "That's why I had it go from really ruckus bands to trippy, psych house. So everyone can just be like, whoa," he said. One person was planning to bring some shrooms to share, but it didn't work out. "He went on a date, and he totally abandoned us. He showed up during the last show." There may have not any shrooms, but the musical experience was stimulating enough. "It was such a diverse show of different kinds of talent," said Martinez, "and everyone was so nice and easy to talk to."

He and his band-mates, who were in town from Arizona, did rap about shrooms more than a few times over their old hip-hop samples. In between one of their songs, the theme song from Friends played. Both Mouse Powell and Man Mantis, which also played at the show, describe themselves as hip hop, but that definition doesn't accurately and totally describe them. Man Mantis blended samples with synthesizers, and he was paired up with Denver violinist Josh Lee, whose skills were mesmerizing.

The psychedelic ambient sounds of Pythian Whispers were really trippy. It was an interesting contrast with the "these are the good times" stage sheet. It made us feel like we were in a different dimension, or travelling through time (as the party invite had promised). There may have been no shrooms, but there was a bright mood and a building full of talent.

• BACKBEAT'S GREATEST HITS • - The fifty best rap lyrics of all time - The ten biggest concert buzzkills - Five more concert buzzkills - From Phish to Floyd, the ten best light shows

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Gina Tron
Contact: Gina Tron