Club Vinyl, one of Denver's hottest nightclubs, will be featuring music on both its main stage and its rooftop patio for this year's Westword Music Showcase. The club is known for its four levels, each of which presents its own vibe and style of music. The rooftop area boasts a beautiful view of the Denver skyline, as well as fire pits and hookahs to create a chill atmosphere for listeners. The main stage, however, is home to a top-of-the-line Funktion One sound system as well as an LED light show. On Saturday, June 25, some of Denver's top local acts will take over the main stage from noon to 6:10 p.m., and will grace the rooftop stage from 12:40 to 7 p.m. Here's a look at the acts playing Club Vinyl for this year's Showcase.
Main Stage: 12:00-6:10 p.m.
DJ Squizzy Taylor
The first act to perform on Club Vinyl's main stage on Saturday will be DJ Squizzy Taylor. The self-proclaimed "Wave God" has been on a roll since releasing his King of Hearts mixtape earlier this year, which blends catchy hooks with the kind of beats that are sure to fill the dance floor to maximum capacity. The young DJ has already garnered an impressive amount of success since bursting onto the scene, with performances supporting world-famous acts such as Rick Ross and T.I. now under his belt. What is perhaps most impressive about Taylor is his skill in all aspects of deejaying and production. He seems able to produce in any style he chooses, and he knows how to keep a crowd moving in a live setting, scratching discs in sync with the rising and falling of the crowd's energy. He'll do just that when he opens up the Showcase.
It's hard to believe that an artist whose name is inspired by a Mexican slang term for underwear would become one of Denver's most prominent DJs, but Chonz has done that and more. The Denver native graduated from UCD with a degree in music and recently went back for a master's in communication, launched his own radio show on KS107.5, and is involved in granting scholarships to high-school students for CU's Summer Music Industry Program. These accomplishments are impressive not only in their measure, but in their variety, as well, proving that Chonz is a more than just a skilled DJ. He's able to DJ in all different styles, covering hip-hop, funk, Latin and more, earning him residencies across the city as well as performances in cities such as L.A. and Vegas. Chonz's skill on the turntables and innovative accomplishments make him not only one of Denver's best DJs, but also one of the most important.
Since arriving in Denver from his home town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, DJ Topshelf has established himself as one of Denver's premier DJs. In addition to being a member of the Core DJs group, he's featured on Sirius Radio's Shade 45 with his own mix show, and recently made an appearance on the highly revered Sway in the Morning. He holds down an impressive list of residencies across town, including Tryst/The Drink on Wednesdays, Cold Crush on Thursdays, Proof on Fridays, and Bar Standard's Saturday-night hip-hop parties. His ability to combine well-known contemporary hits with underground tracks and a Southern flare even earned him a spot on our list of the ten best hip-hop DJs in Denver, so it's no surprise that we can't wait to see him tear it up at the Showcase.
Milky.WAV (formerly Black Jordan) is another popular Denver DJ who will perform at the Showcase. His style comprises a seamless merge of trap, R&B and hip-hop, though he likes to experiment with other genres as well, like Latin and electronica. He combines his love of turntabling with the influence of older R&B and soul artists like Marvin Gaye and Teddy Pendergrass and East Coast and Southern hip-hop scenes, is aided musically by his experiences playing woodwind instruments. His lavish trap-soul beats provide a solid foundation upon which to craft new soundscapes and lay down killer remixes. In addition to his membership in the Denver-based artist collaboration Souls in Action, Milky.WAV holds down several residencies around the city, at venues including Bar Standard, and has a performance at Sonic Bloom on the horizon. Be sure to catch his set and be transported to trap-soul heaven.
After cutting his teeth as a DJ in Washington, D.C., Albany-born Sam Warren moved to Denver in 2013 to continue crafting his innovative version of techno and deep house music. He creates this style primarily by employing beats that rise and fall with the pulse of the crowd and complex melodies that aren't heard in most house music. His infectious style has earned him supporting spots for internationally recognized house acts such as Scuba and Claptone. In addition, Warren has performed at festivals like Colorado's SnowBall and last year's Westword Music Showcase, where he was voted by the public as best DJ in the Turntablist category. If you don't already believe the hype, catch his set tomorrow at Vinyl, where Warren is sure to further cement his reputation as one of Denver's most exciting DJs.
Anton Krueger, better known as Bollywood life, is a Denver native who spent his youth exploring different musical outlets with his friends and getting involved in Denver's DIY music scene at venues like Rhinoceropolis, focusing on noise and drone styles. After briefly relocating to Orange County, Krueger learned production skills from up-and-coming trap artists. This experience translated into his ability to create his own electronic music with skill and precision. As Bollywood Life, Krueger has released an impressive three-song EP called Manya, on which he effortlessly rides waves of glitch and electropop to create tracks that are both intriguing and endearing. His experience running visual effects for Slow Magic and Giraffage also gave way to Krueger's blossoming interest in various multimedia forms beyond music. His original style of electronica and focus on all aspects of a musical experience are sure to contribute to an exciting performance at Showcase.
Local DJ Michael Trundle, aka Boyhollow, will close out the Club Vinyl main-stage portion of this year's Westword Music Showcase with a raucous set that is sure to end the night on a high, dance-worthy note. Boyhollow, who has referred to himself as an "old goth" (and also happens to possess a master's degree in literature), is known for the eclectic mixtures of genres that he brings to his DJ sets, which mainly include indie, rock and electronica. He also gets a lot of cred for his remixes, one of which, a Danzig song, earned him a compliment from Girl Talk. However, Boyhollow is probably best known for founding Lipgloss, a popular Denver club night that occurs every Friday. Be sure to stick around for Boyhollow's set, because it's sure to bring all different listeners to congregate on the dance floor.
Rooftop Stage: 12:40-7:00 p.m.
Opening up the rooftop portion of the festival will be Felix Ayodele, better known as Felix Fast4ward. The Illinois-born turntablist and multi-instrumentalist is known for his imaginative, rhythm-heavy compositions. He uses a looper as the glue to keep those compositions together as he shifts between guitar, harmonica, flute and other instruments. Ayodele also has a penchant for spreading the joy he gets from music: He teaches music production to kids through the Youth on Record organization. Ever since missing his flight back to Houston when visiting a friend in Denver, the Mile High City has been Ayodele's home. Since then, Felix Fast4ward has been performing around Denver, building his craft in the city's vibrant deejaying scene. With avant-garde tendencies and a wealth of musicianship, Felix Fast4ward is sure to impress at this year's Showcase.
The electronic dance-pop duo of Shannon Webber and David Samuelson makes use of synths and dials to create a sound unlike most dance music today. Webber howls with unbridled intensity over the groovy beats and dark synth melodies provided by the shrouded Samuelson. The music feels sort of like having a dance party in a graveyard with a bunch of ghosts — intense and eerie, yet sensuous and invigorating. They seem to have perfected this style on their new album, Pussy Blood , which dropped just last week. Church Fire has been a staple of the Denver electronic scene for some time now and is a Showcase veteran, with this being third consecutive performance at the festival. Because of its unique style and hefty amount of experience, you definitely won't want to miss Church Fire's set.
Elliot Oveson, aka DJ Wushu, has brought his talents as a turntablist and mash-up master all over the country, leaving his mark in the Midwest and on the East and West coasts before settling on Denver. His electronic hip-hop sets are known for their mash-ups, which manage to be eclectic in the styles represented while simultaneously being certified party starters. A prime example of this is his mash-up with Spencer Foreman, WTF Volume 1, on which the pair combine A Tribe Called Quest, Jay Z and TLC to create a track that is the perfect blend of romantic and danceable. In addition to his own deejaying, Wushu is one half of the bass-heavy EDM duo Basscrooks with Akbar Mohabbat.
Since 2005, jilly.fm has brought her own R&B-influenced, island-vibey sound to Denver's vibrant electronic scene. Her skills as a mash-up/remix artist are supplemented by her abilities as singer-songwriter, making her one of Denver's more versatile artists. This has earned her some impressive accolades: performing with artists such as Hayden James, the Garden and ASTR, as well as recently joining Souls In Action, a Denver-based artist coalition. jilly.fm can also hang her hat on having performed at festivals like Denver's Underground Music Showcase and the Lucidity Festival in Santa Barbara. She's sure to bring the same level of electro-soul magic that earned her these achievements to this year's Showcase.
SUR ELLZ has made it his mission to explore all different sorts of sonic landscapes in his futuristic brand of funky neo-soul. Last year, the 23-year-old singer/producer released his debut album, Magic, which serves as an impressive, soulful mission statement for ELLZ. His tunes gracefully fuse Frank Ocean-like vocals and musical themes with pulsing beats and waves of electronic sounds to create tracks that are both experimental and palatable to all listeners. ELLZ's relatively new career has already seen him grace the stages of various local venues, such as Summit Music Hall, as well as participating in last year's Black Summer festival. Most recently, he released the single "Seasons," an ambient ballad that sees ELLZ joined by Kid Astronaut. His sophisticated songwriting and masterful use of a variety of sounds put SUR ELLZ at the forefront of Denver soul/R&B.
The final set of the night will come from John Hastings, aka RUMTUM, an electronic producer whose affinity for fiddling with knobs and dials has given way to rich, creative instrumental electronica. Much of RUMTUM's creative influence comes from the natural and spiritual world, which is extremely palpable in the dreamy, otherworldly quality of his extensive catalogue. His dabblings with live instrumentation, namely drums and synthesizer, lend strong rhythms to his trippy sound of glitchy blipping. His set is sure to serve as a powerful but chill ending to an evening of great music on the Vinyl rooftop.
The 2016 Westword Music Showcase takes place in the Golden Triangle neighborhood on Saturday, June 25, with Dillon Francis, Cold War Kids, Matt and Kim and more, as well as 100 Denver bands across a dozen stages. Get your tickets for the 2016 Westword Music Showcase here. Current GA ticket prices are $45, current VIP ticket prices are $95, and the Showcase 4-ticket Squad Pack is $140. Prices increase tomorrow on the day of show.
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