City Hall Amphitheatre recently renovated their outdoor stage by adding new balconies, railings, bars and enough dance space to make John Travolta antsy. With the newly erected retractable roof extending over the stage, the debut night for the new venue might as well have been the best one of the year. Featuring fifteen acts on three floors and stages, City Hall's sold out New Year's event certainly set the precedent for the year in electronic shows.
Riding the coattails of a successful Christmas night performance at Cervantes, ProJect Aspect opened up the amphitheater for the night. As the line outside weaved along the wall of City Hall, the rooms within the building began to pack in with curious party goers. Some people just walking around in awe at the size of the place. Some people just slack jawed on party favors. Either way, everyone was hunting for a good time.
With live artists painting, collaborating and working in mediums ranging from oil paints, fluorescent, water colors and digital media, creativity was not lacking. Nor were the wide-eyed onlookers expressing serious admiration at the work. The convergence of so many forms of art at shows like this opens the doors to the expansion artistic of expression, hopefully appealing to everyone.
The hula-hoopers filled the main room, swirling about with flashing rings and working their hips to the sounds of Ishe. RumbleJunkie followed that set and the stage opened up for a bit. The maze of City Hall was opened up and relatively easy to navigate at the the beginning of the night. The back stairs were allowing access to the upstairs Glitch room where Jansen and Freddy Todd were grinding through sets. Windows along the wall on the top floor gave view to the mayhem and madness of the outdoor stage. The planning that went into the night paid off for everyone in terms of accessibility, which can sometimes burden a crowd of people who want to see it all.
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With Fresh2Death coming to a close and a steady stream of people filing to get prime placement for Eoto, NastyNasty was taking hold in the Glitch Room. The main room downstairs, or the "Dubstep Hall" was not very forgiving in terms of mobility. People love their dubstep and Liquid Stranger did not let anyone down.
Larva Ink hosted the countdown outside. A relatively small and pace-breaking moment in the heat of the all the chaos. People wanted to hear more music! Cheers were let loose, kisses were exchanged and the confetti fell from the skies. And then the music came back. Shoulder to shoulder and nuts to butts, the entire place was packed and eagerly anticipating Eoto.
It was all over when they walked out. The Boulder based electro-guitarist/drummer duo brought out the demons as the clock melted onward into the new year. Along with the added roof, City Hall hooked up a new wall of speakers hanging from the rafters and lining the floor. Adding a new sound balcony, literally days prior, proved successful in terms of engineering. The metal roof housing the semi-outdoor stage distorted some of the sound, but that's nothing a little bit of insulation and a ear check from a sound engineer can't fix. Find yourself dead center about fifteen people back from the stage, and it's all good.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Random Detail: Despite offering three artists at any given time, the sound quality was surprisingly good inside and out. Probably some tweaking needed outside to counter the reverberating metal roof, but that will come in time. By The Way: Project Aspect opened the main stage and followed Eoto at 2 A.M. after the close. Two sets, two stages, one night. Props for the energy. Overheard: "Why would I listen to Eoto when I can go download the set after the show anyway?" Because it's live music. Hey guy, spare us your ignorance and let someone who really wants to see them live get a ticket next time.