Concert Reviews

Mile High Music Festival day two travelogue: BoomBox and Z-Trip

As I crossed the festival grounds toward the Bison tent, where BoomBox was scheduled, I caught strains of Matt Morris and his amazing voice, and Ozomatli getting their reggae-style funk on. I reached my destination just as BoomBox took the stage and immediately knew I was in for a good time. They opened with a slow, smooth, down-tempo number, the live PA and the guitar working beautifully together.

The Beatles "I Want You" was blended in with cymbals and drums surrounding the sample in a syncopated beat, the guitar describing grooves in the steady, driving music while the go-go dances did yoga poses and played with hoops. BoomBox genre-hops, moving from downtempo to pure techno to near-pure rock to indie rock to funk and back again. The result is unexpected, easy and joyful, a pleasure to absorb.

The crowd in the tent steadily grew while Zion Rock Godchaux showed evidence of his musical talent with his singing and guitar-playing. The children of parents as notorious as Keith and Donna Godchaux might have a lot to live up to in some circles, and he manages to transcend his reputation, doing his own thing and doing it perfectly, funky guitar and confident lyrics laid out over Russ Randolph's beats and melodies. The effect is sublime, high-energy and soulful.

Mash-up artist Z-Trip was next in the Bison tent; his mixes are so eclectic and well-blended that he's always great fun to experience. He opened with Supertramp's "Give A Little Bit" before marrying Jane's Addiction's "Jane Says" to some MIA -- a typical Z-Trip meld. He gave Queen's "Fat-Bottomed Girls" similar treatment, slowing it down to slow, dirty breaks, then lightening up Metallica's "Enter Sandman" by upping the tempo and merging in anthem-rock guitar lines, which then led to a disco blend. You really never know what crazy mix you'll here in a Z-Trip set, which is what makes him one of the great operating mash-up artists of the day. The "Beverly Hills Cop" theme met a marching band and then into the opening lines of Robin S's '90s hit "Show Me Love" laid over dark, hard techno. Z-Trip gave a shout-out to Colorado as being one of his favorite places to play. Z-Trip showcased his scratching skills and meandered all over the musical map, proving he's just as adept at packing dance floors as any big-name club record-spinner, dropping in "Rock and Roll All Night," courtesy of KISS, leading seamlessly into that beautiful guitar riff that opens Guns 'n' Roses' "Sweet Child of Mine" and Rick Ross's "Hustlin'" and somehow manages to work that into Phoenix's "1901" and then the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" before paying tribute to Bassnectar with some dark, dirty dubstep. Where Z-Trip gets his inspiration is anyone's guess, but the man's a musical genius, and his genre-bending journeys are always an adventure.
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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