Emerge: Carnival of Shadows was an interesting attempt to put a circus theme on the standard rave set up. It’s not an obvious mix, but it turned out that the erotic-tinged circus aesthetic melded nicely with the typical candy-kid raver style.Musically, the diversity and overall quality of the sets showed the Denver dance scene to be in great shape. Seventeen local DJs and producers played sets that covered the full spectrum, from trance to techno, jungle to house and plenty of quirky stops in between. Several sets stood out, including a fantastic, warped techno set from ((Diverse)), a banging, freaky live set of abstract techy breakbeat from Sound Logic and a brutal, thunderous tag-team set of jungle from Kasia Star and Onket. The crowd was even more eclectic than the music, populated by freaks of every flavor: raver kids and Goths, hippies and drag queens, curious passersby both young and old. The mix of hardcore fans and curious noobs made for a great vibe, as everyone seemed intent on simply having fun and no one seemed particularly worried about who fit in or who didn’t. In many ways it felt like an old-school rave, in the days before the money poured in and the cops decided to bust any gathering that featured a sound system and a DJ.
Besides the music, the entertainment was fantastic. It was billed as an erotic circus and it lived up to the hype. Beautiful burlesque girls, go-go dancers and Rave Dolls abounded, plus plenty of beefy guys baring their chests meant the eye candy was always in excellent supply. If ogling gorgeous, half-dressed people wasn’t your thing, there were fire-dancers, choreographed dance numbers and enough miscellaneous trippy shit present to populate one of Ken Kesey’s acid tests. The combination of great local music, a fun crowd and a visual feast made for a memorable night. – Cory Casciato Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: Seventeen acts spread over two rooms was too much to take in, especially with so much other stuff going on. Random Detail: I discovered I had a very obscure and bizarre personal connection with the door man. By the Way: Every act was local, so if they sound intriguing, it won’t be hard to catch another appearance soon.