The Bluebird Theater hosted the sold-out, Official Snowball Festival Kickoff Party last night with Raw Russ, Eprom and Paper Diamond.
Alex B., who spins under the moniker Paper Diamond, spoke with Westword recently about his new sound, which, if judged by the response at the Bluebird last night, seems to be catching on quite well.
A late opening and a cold front through Denver, at best, delayed arrival by about fifteen minutes. The floor wasn't even close to looking crowded when Raw Russ was took the stage at 9:30 p.m., but did his best to breathe some life into the crowd.
Russ recently opened for Big Gigantic in Boulder, where Dominic Lalli pulled him out mid-show to scratch over a Wiz Khalifa "Black and Yellow," remix. And it's true to say that Russ can carry a track on his tables just as well as the heavy bass he throws in.
Eprom followed Russ, but definitely took the tempo down a notch or two from the start. He introduced some of his new music in the beginning, starting things off slow and what seemed to be musically disorganized, but eventually came around into one of his galacto-glitch melodies. Alex B. was walking around the crowd during the two opening sets, shaking hands and grooving a little bit. People would yell his name from the balcony, he'd look up with a nod and continue on. This happened a couple times, making it evident that he is respected and established here in Denver.
The merchandise at the entrance had a handful of shirts with graphics for Elm and Oak, Alex's new record label/design firm/clothing line. He announced midway through his set that a lease has been signed on a store front in Boulder on the Pearl Street Mall. Elm and Oak recently signed hip-hop beat makers Two Fresh hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, and who passed through at Cervantes with Mimosa late last year.
The LED light boards for Paper Diamond were all too reminiscent of some early Pretty Lights shows, minus the live drummer. Alex set up his lap-top, dead center between two steel pillars and backlit by symmetrical light schemes, and got to mixin' on what looked to be an iPad. The production quality was immaculate. Between playing bass for Pnuma Trio and producing with Derek Vincent Smith, the sound delivery was crisp and precise. Masterful. The songs, however, didn't follow quite the same suit. A lot sounded real formulaic -- structure -- and basically similar.
At about three songs 'til close, he announced a track he had finished that day, just a few hours earlier, and wanted to drop it. It sounded totally different from a lot that had been played that night, and offered nice insight into the direction Alex wants to take Paper Diamond.
Critic's Notebook: Personal BIas: It's fun dance music with fun lights. By The Way: Two Fresh with Alex B is going to make for some great sound. Random Detail: Feeling the floor shake beneath you at the Bluebird is a great feeling.
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