As the days get longer and the nights get warmer, June is one of our favorite times of the year because it means that Sonic Bloom is right around the corner. I know I’m not the only one who’s eager to step foot onto the grounds of Hummingbird Ranch, the gateway to the Spanish Peaks, on June 14th. Year after year, the curators and team of Sonic Bloom work hand in hand in creating 4 days of endless fun, electronic music, lifetime memories, performing arts, and educational experiences for our enjoyment. Being the heart of festival season in Colorado, this year marks the 13th annual weekend that we will never forget.
Sonic Bloom welcomes you with warm vibrations to the environment that inspires creativity, unites all forms of human creative expression, and the place you will call home for four days. You will find yourself immersing into the evolution of the festival. Among three different stages, international artists as well as local artists such as Lucid Vision, kLL sMTH, and Mass Relay, derived from MHSM (Mile High Sound Movement), will give you a taste of their best quality beats, giving you a glimpse into their minds as artists. You won’t be disappointed. Alongside some local performers let’s not forget about the legendary headliners; Shpongle, Keys N Krates, Nightmares on Wax, and Liquid Stranger. In between are many more captivating performances, but I can’t spoil it all!
Beyond the music aspect, Sonic Bloom also offers various activities and workshops to keep you entertained and educated about the things you’re interested in. You can easily customize your experience among the diversity of workshops, art galleries, and music. Zone out in a meditation class, practice your skills during a yoga workshop, learn about evolutionary astrology and more at the Oracle Portal. Take your pick from more than 20 knowledgeable speakers and ceremonies to listen in on.
☺ Here are some tips to ensure you have a great festival experience ☺
♫ ARE YOU READY? ♫
The funk is weird in all the right ways when it comes to this specific group of artists, taking funk, jazz, and electronic to Red Rocks for the third annual Rage Rocks. Any guesses? Yupp, Lettuce is bringing back the band in full funk mode along with the legendary Floozies! This Friday, June 8th will mark the 5th year that Lettuce has played at Red Rocks, the 4th year for the Floozies, and traditionally the 3rd year for the combined bands and the fans they unite for the groovy expedition of Rage Rocks 2018.
The Floozies have grown dramatically over the years, consisting of band members Mark Hill and Matt Hill. Together, these brothers have composed six albums since 2008, their latest album being “Funk jesus” released in 2017. They never cease to energize the crowd with their electronic funky beats! Hand in hand, Lettuce, the future funk band, is known to provide a unique live experience to their audience with every show they play. Just released is their newest Contemporary jazz fusion album, “Witches Stew” which is a tribute to one of their biggest influences, Miles Davis. Lettuce consist of band members Adam Smirnoff on Guitar, Adam Deitch on drums, Erick Coomes on bass, Eric Bloom on the trumpet, Ryan Zoidis reppin alto, tenor, and bari sax, and lastly Nigel Hall bringing it all together with vocals, keys, and the organ. Each band member brings fresh ideas to the table to help create the overall experience that we all know as Lettuce.
Together, these two bands will take you on a groovy journey through the depths of all things funky but diverse at the historic venue of Red Rocks. Along with openers “The Funk Hunters” and “Jaw Gems” fans are awakened by the funk, the dub, the hip-hop, the electro, the jazz, and more! The Floozies and Lettuce are, as said before, “can’t-miss live acts.” With that being said, Rage Rocks welcomes YOU, to funk nation.
Sup Cultureheads? It’s been a while. Being that I’ve spent the majority of 2017 haunting many of the underground music venues here in Denver, when I was offered a chance to cover Gryffin’s sold-out Denver leg of his Castle in the Sky tour, I felt the need to embrace the change of pace. Since the start of his career, Gryffin has gained recognition for remixing some well-known songs such as Tove Lo's "Talking Body", Maroon 5's "Animals" and Years & Years' "Desire”, branding each with his self-described “melodic house” style of production.
Sold out shows are always interesting in terms of when people actually decide to show up, oftentimes people will opt to forego the opening sets and arrive strictly to see the headliner. But being that this particular show was 16+ AND happening on the night before Thanksgiving, this school of thought didn’t apply. From the moment of arrival in the midst of Aaokay’s support set, the 550 person room looked to be completely filled. Which is fine with me, at my age I don’t live that front row rail rage life anymore so premium real estate isn’t much of a concern. I prefer to stand in the back, I’m tall so I can still see, also because it’s close to the bar AND the merch table. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.
As stated previously, the Bluebird had filled to capacity at this juncture, and the crowd was clearly eager for the set to begin by the time the sound checks were completed. Gryffin definitely didn’t disappoint them with his entrance either, bounding onstage with a zeal and energy that would be maintained for the duration of the set. This is something that a lot of EDM artists either don’t do enough of, or don’t get enough credit for, with Gryffin being in the latter group. The sheer amount of energy expelled over the course of the set was actually exhausting to watch, and to do so every night for the duration of a 37-date tour is fairly astounding. Since being thankful is the theme this time of year, be thankful for getting to watch this type of energy on display instead of being the one having to expel it nightly.
One of the things that you don’t get when your show preferences lean more towards hammerhead techno rather than festival-style EDM is much production value. And what this disparity is due to remains somewhat of a mystery: maybe it’s the limitations of the venue, the preference of the artist, or the perceived pretension of the crowd, but there is a noticeable absence when comparing the two different experiences. But one thing is for certain, Gryffin’s live set is geared more towards the EDM crowd, where visual stimulation is an important part of the experience. In this regard the production did not disappoint at all. The setup allowed the stage to be illuminated from nearly every angle, with different intricate schemes accompanying each track. The Bluebird isn’t the biggest of venues, but a true test to production value is to move around and see if that illumination follows you - and from the back by the bar, to the balcony, to front stage right-it did. Nobody was left out no matter what their vantage point.
In terms of the set itself, Gryffin likes to incorporate a mix of older remixes along with originals of his, with electric guitar playing a large part in the originals. He also spanned the length of his career a bit, playing his “Desire’ remix along with newer tracks such as “Youth”, “Feel Good”, and “Whole Heart” all of which this tour was geared to support, also serving to highlight his signature “melodic house” sound. He even threw in an M83 remix in there - for the old-heads in attendance, which if so, was much appreciated. Overall the energy was high, and he had full command of the room. If you haven’t had a chance to check out a live set from this guy, do so the next chance you get. Everyone can find something they like within it, and in a scene filled with so many niche performers who prefer to simply stay in their lane, viewing somebody willing to push the envelope was a refreshing find that left this jaded writer looking forward to his next Denver stop. Although next time it’ll be at a bigger venue, without question.
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Always one of our favorite festivals, Arise dropped their initial lineup announcement this morning, and they didn't disappoint They've got a mix of national and local acts, plus an eclectic mix of electronic, hip hop, jazz, and jam bands to offer playing across five stages, in keeping with the tradition of years' past.
Since we started covering Arise three years ago we've seen the likes of the Polish Ambassador, Emancipator, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Joe Russo's Almost Dead, Ziggy Marley, Jurassic 5, Papadosio, Elephant Revival, Atmosphere, Tipper, Lettuce, and Beats Antique grace the main stage at the Sunrise Ranch. And while all of those national heavy hitters prove to be the draw for quite a few attendees, what we've always respected the most is how hard the Arise crew works to showcase the bevy of local talent that we have here as well. And this year is no different. Local standouts like Bridget Law, Bass Physics, Dynohunter, Gasoline Lollipops, Dragondeer and more will be playing in Loveland for the 2018 iteration. In terms of headliners, so far we've got Thievery Corporation and Slightly Stoopid set to play, with two more to be announced in the months ahead. Check the full lineup above, and we'll see you on the Ranch.
For more info, ticketing prices, and availability please check out their website HERE