Behind a cloud of smoke and haze, the members of Savoy took to their raised podiums in front of a frenzied Red Rocks last night behind a glowing panel of pulsing lights that simply read "SAVOY." This build-up to the first drop was crucial, steadily adding to the anticipation with yelps of joy from the crowd at each tease. When the group finally delivered the entree, they served a feast of electronica with a generous helping of lasers.
Savoy, who found fame and recognition while attending the University of Colorado in Boulder (and whose members have since graduated) have reached the ranks of the world's top DJs. Distanced from any distracting, and often obnoxious, over-the-top light show, the DJs-plus-drummer didn't have anything to prove to their alma mater other than the fact that they are progressing into a new realm of dance music.
Thankfully, at no point during the night did the audience hear their remix of "We No Speak Americano," though it's arguably be the song that turned so many on to Savoy. Instead, they delivered a diverse set of old and new tracks including many off their latest effort, Supertrail, a seven-track EP released for free on August 28.
It's not easy to pick out each sample and cut used during the set, but that doesn't mean the big bangers weren't recognizable. "Devil's on Horseback" recalled the style of Deadmau5 (think early 'Mau5, like the days of "Ghosts n Stuff") with an enthusiastic build, culminating in a venue-joining drop that the crowd ate up.
Ben Eberdt and Gray Smith, the two masterminds behind the controllers, don't follow any sort of formal structure for a show. If a drop is coming, they have no problem dialing it back and teasing the crowd. It's noticeable, and quite funny in fact, watching the crowd wait and wait until they do deliver -- but then it's pure insanity. Granted, the venue wasn't full, but the energy levels were set to "rage," and those goals were certainly met with each new track delivery.
Above the crowd, the ceiling appeared painted through the haze and smoke thanks to the cross-hatched rainbow spectrum of seven lasers spraying the mountainside, crossing the otherwise open-air venue and creating a club environment. Savoy's music is the perfect blend of several subgenres of electro (house, complextro, dubstep, etc), with random sprinkles of heavy bass, but it relies mostly on the non-stop, fast-paced beats that skyrocketed them to success to begin with.
Continue reading for a review of opener Krewella.
Last night was Krewella's second time performing at Red Rocks in 2012 (not bad for a group that released their first album, Play Hard, on Beatport just a few months back), and they definitely stole the show. The group's extended set (partly due to a last-minute cancellation from DirtySouth) showed that Krewella has more diversity than just what you've heard on the radio. Sure, Krewella played "Feel Me," "Killin' It," and "One Minute," but the trio also offered up new tracks that show Krewella is ready for more than just the radio. During the 90-minute duration of the set, the audience probably heard the entire Play Hard album while the trio still managed to fit in a few less familiar tracks. Granted, some of the more generic dubstep tracks came out and detracted from the allure that sets Krewella apart. Nonetheless, the set was powerful, and it's safe to say that had Savoy cancelled at the last minute, Krewella could havee easily headlined the night. Sofi, a female vocalist whose voice can be heard on a host of club bangers, took the stage for a short, 20-minute set that mostly consisted of her dancing and occasionally singing over her tracks. The echo effect on her microphone was a nice touch, but for the most part she played hype-woman for her own set. She was a nice intermission between Krewella and Robotic Pirate Monkey, and she later came out to sing on "Under My Skin," which is her collaborative effort with Savoy.
Continue reading for a Critic's Notebook.
Robotic Pirate Monkey, a Boulder-based trio of artists, have come a long way. From their early beginnings playing weekly at The Goose bar on The Hill, to their local fame from albums Disturbing Pleasant Streets, and Colors in Disguise, RPM has now established that it is a force to be reckoned with. Last night's audience was given a tasteful rendition of the group's take on "Jolene," a Dolly Parton remix that was intertwined with the Etta James sample from PrettyLight's "Finally Moving." A lot of people were there to hear RPM, and they were given exactly what they came for: Uniquely synthesized beats with a range of samples -- including one totally badass throwback to GZA's "Third World." DirtMonkey and Lt. Dan sat in the opening spots for the day, which meant the filling venue got a real taste of Denver's dubstep talent. DirtMonkey, rocking a "Play Me" records shirt, delivers perfectly mastered tracks, and his subtle efforts behind the tables show that his flawless production is confident and powerful in the studio as well.
Personal Bias: This show just seemed awkward from the beginning, and I was real bummed that DirtySouth cancelled. I heard that he got in a wave-runner accident and broke every bone in his body. I doubt that happened.
Random Detail: There was a company called Got Aerial shooting with Focus 4 Design with a helicopter. It was the coolest thing I've ever seen for video at Red Rocks, and I'm sure everyone was blown away. Can't wait to see that footage.
By the Way: The venue was at about half capacity.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.