Concert Reviews

Global Dance Festival at Red Rocks

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Back on the main stage was Savoy, a local trio who blend dance music with rock. Something delayed the group until 8:45 p.m. (their start time on the lineup was listed as 8:30), but once they came on, the live drum kit combined with synthesizers and mixers played up their strengths -- in my opinion, the pounding drums, which gave a harder edge to the trance-like piano lines before dropping into deeper, more complex beats.

On the Global Bass.Code.0 stage, SPECTRE was just finishing up his set and making room for Alert, who's been classified as electro/progressive house, but ... I don't know what you would call what Alert does. He produces all his own tracks, comprising eerie haunted-house noises, distorted vocals, quick and snappy and irregular drums, alien computer sounds, dark and extremely dirty basslines and more. It's slow, almost plodding, until he brings it up to a frantic pace for a few moments, then slows it back down.

"You know what happens when it gets dark at the third stage," the emcee declared as the sun set over Red Rocks. "We send the security guards home!" From this vantage point, you could clearly see the unfortunate souls who couldn't get into the amphitheatre on the hill behind the venue, spinning their glowsticks and apparently having almost as much fun as they would have inside.

Alert kept up his slow, syncopated beats and eerie melodies while I tried to come up with a way to describe him. Finally, I decided on "Squarepusher with nightmares," because he's definitely more toward the IDM/drum-and-bass end of the dance-music spectrum than progressive house. It was an excellent set.

Ana Sia was tearing up the Global NRG Stage with her personal blend of self-described "global slut psy-hop." Whatever she was throwing down, I enjoyed it; it sounded like electro with deep, growling basslines and sibilant high hats. It reminded me of '80s hip-hop with more pronounced bass, pops and rhythm. At the back of her dance area were two aerial performers, executing Brandy Dew-esque moves on two hoops dangling in the air, dressed like raver go-go girls, flipping and twisting. (I watched them for several minutes trying to figure out how they were keeping their wigs in place.)

Meanwhile at the main stage, Savoy was dropping dirty electro sounds with pounding, driving drums, dropping in Gwen Stefani's "Keep On Dancing" and the guitar line from Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing," plus extensive samples from the Beastie Boys' "Body Movin'."

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen