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Travelogue: Snowdown, Brother Ali and Raekwon

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With SIA happening in Denver all this week, there's been no shortage of shows this week. As you know, the Backbeat crew goes hard in the streets. Last night, we caught bits of Dilated Peoples, Twista, DJ Vajra and the Foodchain at Snowdown 2012, Brother Ali at the Ogden with the ReMINDers and a surprise cameo by Atmosphere, and we closed the night out at Casselman's with Raekwon. Page down to read all about it.

City Hall served as ground zero for all the party shenanigans with snow-style go-go girls, tons of people milling around and product placement galore. There was an early VIP crowd who was rocking out to the sounds of DJ Cavem, and DJ Large Child in the private upstairs section in the venue. There was free beer, and the tunes were extraordinary. People were already spinning themselves into a tizzy.

Downstairs on the main floor the Foodchain threw down. Champ Sound Killa kills the band's intro every time the crew performs. The swelling sounds brought the crowd to the main room, and the band responded with a boisterous, energetic performance. They gave out a ton of Brunch CD's and milled around in the audience for a while before Vajra's performance in the amphitheater. DJ Vajra came out the gate killing it pretty hard with tons of bass, and he was just in time. The party people were packing into the venue and getting their party on. The amphitheater is so huge, people watching while meandering through the labyrinth that is the venue is almost as entertaining as the entertainment. After Vajra's set, Dilated People took the stage pretty promptly. Watching from behind the sound booth on the second floor, it was hard to see exactly how people were responding to the music but from the looks of it, the hands in the air and flailing bodies were a great sign.

The ReMINDers were just closing out their final song by the time we made it to the Ogden following an impromptu and unannounced set from Atmosphere. Get Cryphy, due at Winter on the Rocks tonight, was on the decks and got the crowd heated up in anticipation of Brother Ali.

Shortly before he came out, though, Slug took the stage again and picked a couple names out of a hat for winners of tickets to Winter on the Rocks, the coveted sold-out performance happening tonight. But, right after the names were announced, Brother Ali stormed the stage and delivered an insane solo performance, commanding respect and holding the whole place at attention.

Next up was Casselmans for Raekwon's appearance at the Skull Candy gathering. The party was well underway when we arrived. There was a boxing ring set up in the middle of the floor where a boxing match had evidently taken place. We missed that, and gladly so. Es-Nine was on hand holding down the DJ duties for all the artists and seemed to be doing a great job as evidenced by how many people were partying like the world was ending tomorrow.

Raekwon later made his way onto the stage with his easy, laid back demeanor and gave a performance that lasted well over an hour, invited the Lady Wu-tang (due Saturday night at City Hall) up on stage to kick rhymes to some Wu classics. The night ended with swelling hearts, tons of sweat, and a good amount of mileage on the old broom, still our favorite method of transportation.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.