Living in Colorado is amazing. Not only are we surrounded by beautiful mountains, for the most part pretty great weather and great people, we also have what is known as Red Rocks season. The time of year where no matter what genre of music you listen to, our summer days and nights are filled with listening to beautiful music at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Of course, this particular weekend was going to be louder than the rest, as Global Dance Festival was taking place and it is truly an event like no other. Walking in during the evening was a treat as I had the chance to listen to a new up and comer Saturn who was doing a great job at getting the crowd hyped. No matter what you stand in the amphitheater it really is a great view all around and even up as high as I was during his set, I had no problem dancing and hearing the music perfectly. Of course, when you are 16 and playing at such an amazing location as Red Rocks, you definitely know at that point to bring your A-game. The rest of the evening seemed to go by so quick that I barely even had a chance to meet up with everyone I knew was going to be at the festival. Pegboard Nerds went hard right from the start with a nice trap/dubstep mix with your occasional deep house song in the set. Once Seven Lions took the stage I looked behind myself and saw that the crowd was getting larger by the minute. His energy was incredible and his fans were treated to a lot of new music by the end of the set.
Flosstradamus came on and Red Rocks was instantly transformed into a trap and dubstep show. We jumped, we screamed, we laughed, we danced and I couldn’t find anyone around who was sitting still by the end of the set. Now I definitely have my moments as a bass head. In fact, with my festival crew most of the time we are away from the main stage, listening to some heavy bass beat or similar. Yet tonight was a special night because it was the first time I had everyone with me to really get into something different than the norm and being that it was Above and Beyond, I knew it was going to be magical. And if you haven’t ever been to an Above and Beyond set…I suggest you make sure to do it at least once this year because it is truly something that you cannot put into words. I felt lost in the music and one with the crowd by the time the 2 song played and looking back from the bottom and staring up at the whole crowd moving and jumping at the same time was even more special. It seemed as if the lights danced off the side of the rocks to the beat and of course what I love even more, is that every time I looked at people around myself and friends in the crowd, there was a sense of belonging and togetherness that reminds me why I love this scene and culture that I was surrounded in.
By the time I walked in on Saturday I was still recovering from the fantastic time I had the first day. I was unsure if today was going to even top last night but once I walked in and heard that I was entering 3lau’s house I knew that I was in for a treat. I couldn’t stop moving at all during his set and found myself getting lost into the party atmosphere. Doctor P came on and we went from the energy and jumping of a house set to the grimy can’t stop moving to a great dubstep set. Lasers started to come on and instantly I was lost in the moment and had to rush up the stairs to head over Slow Magic. Slow Magic is definitely someone that you should check out if you get a chance and I am so grateful I got a chance to see him while at Red Rocks. The set felt intimate and personable and the sound of him drumming is still a sound I can hear in my ears. Luckily EDM has evolved over the years into a genre that can incorporate several types of musicians into the scene and Slow Magic is one of them. You’ll definitely be grateful you took the moment to check out his set.
After being locked in a trance by Slow Magic I hurried over for the last little bit of Datsik’s set where I could barely get down the stairs without people dancing. He brought just as much of the filth as Doctor P did and all with a big smile all over his face. We were treated to a special debut of his new song with Snoop Dogg and I found myself calling back in love with dubstep all over again. By the time the lights started to dim for our final act I knew this was going to be a treat. "Never Sleep Alone” started playing in the speakers and crowd instantly started singing along with the lyrics. His set consisted of some of his newer tracks and some of his old school tracks as well. He played true to what he knew and we were treated to a great little interlude as he explained his humble beginnings at some of the smaller Denver nightclubs like The Church and Beta, to now coming back and playing at Red Rocks. It was a remainder of the life and career of a DJ and as the music started playing I danced along all the strangers around me that night, our eyes glued to the stage as we were treated to a great finale for day 2.
I love seeing women on stage and I make a big effort to make sure I always head out to go support our female DJs. Luckily Aviva delivered on being as great as I thought she would be, and my body during her set on Sunday didn’t for a bit feel as if I had been climbing mountains all day and all night for the past few days. She was amazing at responding to the crowd and playing exactly what we wanted to hear. During a time where EDM can be so generic and repetitive I was glad that at this moment the entire set felt new and refreshing, constantly keeping me dancing and trying to scream with a voice that had disappeared sometime during day 2. Once Sunday started I had made a plan to sit up kinda high as much as we could to avoid all of the walking as two days of non-stop dancing had finally taken a toll on my body. Still the weather held up perfectly and the lineup for the last night was definitely something I couldn’t miss.
Green Velvet had me up the entire time for his set as “Lazer Beams” was blasting through the speakers and I couldn’t stop moving. Even from the top of the Red Rocks theater I was able to spot his signature green mohawk and see someone who was enjoying coming onto the stage to perform for a crowd. Kill the Noise was just as exciting and the set was perfect for the day, leading us up to what I knew was going to be such a great finale. His track “Far Away” with Feed Me happens to be a favorite of mine and hearing the vocals of the kids on the speakers was something magical.
Benny Benassi and Tiesto were next and I was so excited to see them even though I knew that most of the crowd there don’t even realize that these two have both had a significant impact on the EDM world today. At times a DJ graduates from being someone known to make the hits and popular to a pioneer in the music. Our final two acts of the night had both reached that status. Benassi played a perfect house set and it was great to hear some of his old school though he played a lot of remixes. I was hoping for a second we would get treated to an old Benny set but I still was dancing when I heard him drop Skrillex’s remix of his song “Cinema” to the crowd. It’s always great to see a great DJ on stage performing with such ease and perfect transitions that while I was sad to see him go, I knew that the standard of quality of actual djing was going to continue with Tiesto. Having seen Tiesto already once this year at Spring Awakening, I was glad to see him again as I had such a great time there.
While I long for a surprise announcement that he’s going to be doing a new solo tour with 6-hour trance sets, I couldn’t help but smile watching him drop RL Grime’s “Core” into his set. Of course, he didn’t fail and came through with playing one of my favorites, “Adagio for Strings” and by the time he finished I was wishing that there was another 4 hours to go, regardless if my feet were begging for a break. Throughout the weekend I was reminded again about much the EDM world is evolving. While there are trends and DJs that come and go, one thing that seems to stay the same no matter what generation is an appreciation for a quality show.
Global Dance is great festival put on by individuals that definitely know the industry and strive to bring not only the newest but also some of the greatest. While I had a great time listening to new acts such as Illenium, Aviva and Saturn…I had just as much fun watching DJs such as Kaskade, Tiesto & Benny Benassi grace the stage. It is definitely one for the record books and I strongly suggest if you want to pick one Red Rocks show to go, Global Dance should be it.
AUTHOR CREDIT: SHANNON BALMES PHOTO CREDIT: RANDY EYRE