Bass Invasion Celebrates Its First Year at the Black Box

The party is on at the Black Box.
The party is on at the Black Box. Aaron Thackeray
Sub.mission's dubstep shows were already a well-established tradition in Denver when the organization's founder, Nicole Cacciavillano, purchased her new venue, the Black Box, which opened last November. The agency's much-coveted sound system, Bass Couch, has been shaking venues like Cervantes' Other Side and local art galleries since Sub.mission's inception in 2007. As always, Sub.mission will throw its annual Bass Invasion show this September, but this year will be special: The party is happening September 15 and 16 at the Black Box.

"This year, I get to throw Bass Invasion in my own venue," Cacciavillano tells Westword. "I'm still just getting used to saying that."

It's not surprising that she waxes sentimental about this major milestone. Since its founding, Sub.mission was pretty much born out of the necessity to get underground bass music such as drum-and-bass and dubstep into a landlocked southwestern city that didn't have much of a storied tradition when it came to U.K.-based underground EDM. While Denver is culturally rich in many things musically, it makes sense that dubstep wasn't really one of them until Cacciavillano began booking shows, inspired by her love of the music she didn't hear enough of in the Mile High City. The interest in the music she was booking turned out to reach beyond her immediate group of friends that she was booking shows with, and the result was that Denver is now one of the dubstep capitals of the world, along with places like England, where the genre was founded, and Croatia, host of the annual dubstep party Outlook Fest, which takes place on the water.

This success continued to build, until finally Cacciavillano had enough revenue from booking shows to buy her own venue, a humble but legendary spot at 314 East 13th Avenue in Capitol Hill. The building where the Black Box lives was once the iconic jam club Quixote's and has also been host to other nightlife spots over the years.

[image-2] Cacciavillano officially opened the doors last fall and has extended beyond just booking Sub.mission agency shows. She has welcomed in drum-and-bass bookers Recon and Language, along with a host of local crews and other underground electronic enthusiasts. However, the coming weekend's festivities will be all about Sub.mission, a reboot of the first show the agency ever hosted.

"Bass Invasion was the first large-scale dubstep event in Colorado," Cacciavillano explains. "It showcases what we feel to be tastemakers in the scene."

This year, Mala, one of the founders of dubstep, will headline the party; he will be supported by other big-name artists Leon Switch, Dubamine, and some smaller artists and local openers such as drum-and-bass DJ and founder of Recon booking agency Despise and up-and-coming dubstep local Dalek One.

Perhaps most exciting to die-hard fans is Mala, who got his start in the dubstep duo Digital Mystikz, alongside genre legend Coki. What started as a production duo eventually expanded into DMZ, a play on the duo's name, one of the best known of the genre's labels and also one of the first dubstep nights in London. Now producing and deejaying as a solo artist, Mala continues to create dark, bass-inspired soundscapes.

"Mala has the gems no one else does," Cacciavillano says. "He's the homie. I'll snag him anytime, anywhere I can. Leon Switch has tons of new music and hasn't toured in some time. I'm just looking forward to quality bass music on the best sound system in Colorado."

This year, those who can't afford Bass Invasion tickets will still be able to come to the Black Box and enjoy a free show in the lounge.

This event kicks off the first of a long string of anniversary celebrations at the new club, and highlights the fact that Cacciavillano has already enjoyed much success during her first year of business.

"Bass Invasion goes with the flow. From venues to all night warehouses, the party is always proper," Cacciavillano added.

Bass Invasion will take place from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. September 15 and 16 at the Black Box, 314 East 13th Avenue in Capitol Hill. Tickets are $25 on Friday, $30 on Saturday or $40 for both nights.

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Addison is a Denver-based writer specializing in metal, dubstep, cannabis and LGBTQ issues. She also contributes to OUT FRONT, CULTURE and New Noise magazines. Addison is author of Wicked Woman: Women in Metal from the1960s to Now.