Concert Reviews

Review: Sonic Bloom, 6/24/11


"With strategically placed subwoofers stashed in a field surrounded by mountains, the heavy bass frequencies sounded like a herd of elephants descending upon us in every direction with bubble-wrapped feet."

On Friday night, the Sonic Bloom Festival kicked off its first night at its new location in Georgetown at Shadows Ranch. Formerly dubbed the Zilla Campout, the festival has grown into a full-fledged electronic music gathering with the natural beauty of the Rockies providing the ideal listening and visual experience for electronic music fans and those attending simply for the community that Sonic Bloom has fostered over the past five years.

In addition to providing a picturesque new location, festival organizers spared no expense on sound and art with well lit art installations throughout the campground. Zilla, one of the musical projects of Jamie Janover, who helped put on the fest, played right after Human Agency on the main stage. Zilla, which consists of Janover, Michael Travis (String Cheese Incident, Eoto) and Aaron Holstein (VibeSquad) offered the most compelling set of the evening. Although there were some labored transitions at times in which Travis's drums didn't quite mesh over Janover's beats, when it all came together during the drops it was well worth enduring the unavoidable musical speed bumps that come naturally with this sort of improvisation.

The opening ceremonies kicked off at 4:20 p.m. with simple gratitude prayer, thanking the unified powers that be for the new location, the people attending and the artists. Dayquill opened the afternoon, following the prayer with a sonic sweep, checking all frequencies from 20hz to 20khz on the main stage's Funktion-One sound system -- the same superior audio technology used at Beta. With strategically placed subwoofers stashed in a field surrounded by mountains, the heavy bass frequencies sounded like a herd of elephants descending upon us in every direction with bubble-wrapped feet. MartyParty took full advantage of the soundsystem during his set with his heavy drops, including a well placed "Hard in da Paint" sample from Waka Flocka Flame.

The CODome located across the bridge, over the river and through the woods, showcased plenty of local talent provided by the Sub.Mission crew. Project Aspect and Unlimited Gravity both dropped sets, winning the crowd over as Unlimited Aspect. These guys are growing musically in the best way possible, both as unique artists exploring their talents, and together as a team of trailblazing producers in the scene.

DJ Ishe, situated on the main stage, had an absolute blast with the system. Corey Blecha, a Sub.Mission crew member, put it best: "This is one of the hardest working DJs in Denver." And it's true, he's pushing the dubstep and whomp scene in more places, at more times and purer than anyone else right now. Of course, Whomp Truck, also at the forefront of Denver dubstep, got a shout out during Ishe's set.

Jason Hahn of Prophet Massive closed the night out -- or opened the morning, rather -- with a long and heavy sunrise set in the CODome. It was nearly full of people burning their dancing wicks to the very end.


Personal Bias:It's blasphemous to utter these words where I am currently sitting, but I hate camping. It's not my thing. The draw for me here is the music, the people, and the experience of a festival. Random Detail:The first emergency crews arrived on site this morning at 10:30 a.m. on the call that someone was having a seizure. Everything in moderation. By the Way: Lunar Fire displayed amazing skills on the boxes flanking the main stage.

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Britt Chester is a writer and video producer living in Denver, Colorado. He's covered breaking news, music, arts and cannabis for Westword since 2010. His work has appeared in GQ Magazine, Village Voice, YES! Weekly, Inman News and the Winston-Salem Journal. He likes running, cycling, and interviewing people.
Contact: Britt Chester

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