Well before the rise of electronic dance music in the mainstream, Colorado has always been a strong hold for EDM. This past year we saw more acts than ever come through town, including a record number of which that performed at Red Rocks. We were on hand for most of them, and below we've compiled a list of the ten best EDM shows of the year. Keep reading to see which ones we picked, and as always, if you disagree, feel free to tell us and then weigh in with some picks of your own.
10. Gramatik at the Fillmore, 11/17/12 Gramatik has come a long way since we covered his initial Colorado shows. Since signing on with Pretty Lights Music, the glitch-hop/jazz producer has blown up all over the world. In November, he debuted a new light show for his tour, and the electricity was flowing from the Tesla-like coils directly into the crowd. With Talib Kweli on the bill to boot, this show was a no-brainer to include here.
9. Deep Medi Musik at City Hall, 4/7/12 To celebrate the success of bringing dubstep to Colorado ears for past five years, Sub.mission brought out the big guns with Deep Medi Musik acts like Truth, Mala, Silkie and Quest and Commodo setting things off at City Hall. This special night displayed some of the best dubstep in the world, and served as a fitting celebration of Sub.mission.
8. GRiZ at Altitude Music Festival at CU Boulder, 4/28/12 GRiZ's performance at this University of Colorado Program Council show firmly established the notion that the young saxophonist/producer would surely find success in the local scene and even more in the national limelight. Since this show, GRiZ has toured the country as direct support for acts such as Big Gigantic and Gramatik, and even headlined his own shows. However, on CU's campus on this night last spring, it was GRiZ that stole the show from Gramatik, Zion I, MSTRKRFT and Robotic Pirate Monkey.
7. Porter Robinson at the Ogden Theatre, 7/7/12 With his stock rising rapidly, Porter Robinson, who's not even old enough to buy a beer yet, absolutely threw down at the Ogden, displaying some fine mixing skills and admirable prowess in Ableton, making it abundantly clear why his tracks have been garnering so many spins internationally.
6. Skrillex at Red Rocks, 8/9/12 After topping this same list last year, Skrillex returned with a show that wowed at every level and pulled out all the stops with fireworks, a spaceship DJ booth, confetti and plenty of pyrotechnics. Still among the best of the best, Skrillex and his camp clearly know what it takes to put on a great show.
5. Netsky at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, 3/20/12 Netsky (aka Boris Daenen) is a drum and bass master that's found international recognition thanks to his involvement with legendary label Hospital Records. He's played stages at some of the biggest festivals in the world. At Cervantes', he showed us why his music works so well with the dubstep crowds and why drum and bass is not going to anywhere anytime soon.
4. Nero at the Ogden Theatre, 4/24/12 If it wasn't for acts like Nero, a lot of other artists wouldn't have amazing tracks to remix. At the Ogden Theatre for this sold-out show, the act was joined by star vocalist Alana Watson, who performs on many of its most popular tracks. The stage setup was intense -- a large booth made of speakers and televisions backed by strobes and moving cans -- but it was the live vocals mixed with the spot-on production of Nero that really stood out.
3. Paper Diamond at the Ogden Theatre, 9/14/12 Paper Diamond mastermind Alex Botwin, co-owner of Elm & Oak, created an entirely new stage show to go along with his constantly evolving style of dance music. With Paper Diamond, Botwin's obsession with music has led to even stronger obsession with production, and here absolutely blew everybody away with new music and a tastefully orchestrated light show.
2. Excision at the Ogden Theatre, 2/16/12 Excision offered up the loudest bass-barrage we've endured to date. Banging 100,000 watts of sound, Excision's show was filled with everything you could want from this type of show, from heavy bass anthems and massive drops to a kick ass light show and a highly impressive undercard.
1. Rowdytown at Red Rocks Amphitheater with Big Gigantic, 10/1/12 With the first ever grand-scale visual mapping on both the flanking rocks of the venue, Big Gigantic's Rowdytown show, featuring Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Dillon Francis, GRiZ and Raw Russ, easily earns top honors. Performing a healthy dose of new tracks and old hits, the Boulder-based electronic duo more than delivered on its debut headlining show at Red Rocks.
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