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Thursday, June 30,2011

Dance party at a storied venue

Electronic artists reflect on what it means to play at Red Rocks

By P.J. Nutting
The Glitch Mob

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is about to host a slam that will leave electronic music fans, and their glowsticks, spinning. The Glitch Mob is coming to take over with an all-star lineup Saturday, July 2, bringing together friends and sounds that range from psy-dub to post-rock.

As Red Rocks welcomes newcomer and synthophile Com Truise to the glorious amphitheatre, it also says goodbye to others — this show is the last chance for fans to catch The New Deal as they swing through Colorado on their final tour. The established instrumental trio has earned massive amounts of love from both the electronic and jam scenes during nearly 13 years of playing.

“It feels appropriate that we’ve played all the places that are close to our hearts,” drummer Darren Shearer tells Boulder Weekly. “We feel good about where we’ve been in the last 13 years, and we feel good about leaving it where it is.”

All the groups at the show have fond memories of playing at Red Rocks, and for The New Deal, this weekend’s performance, their second at the amphitheater, will be especially poignant.

“The fact that one of our last Colorado shows is gonna be at the most beautiful venue in the world is not a terrible thing,” Shearer says.

Justin Boreta of The Glitch Mob, the San Francisco-based trio responsible for establishing glitch-hop as a prominent genre of electronic music, cites Red Rocks as critical inspiration for its upcoming album, to be released July 12.

Boreta has toured with the group the world over and still believes Red Rocks is “one of the most beautiful, majestic venues in the entire world.” It’s also the place the Mob got their break — Sound Tribe Sector 9 believed in their music and teamwork mentality enough to book them during one of their set breaks at Red Rocks in 2007.

“It was life-changing,” Boreta says. “And now, to feel that we took the momentum that they handed to us and ran with it, took inspiration from people we look up to and now we have our own show there, it’s just truly mind-blowing.”

Boreta says Red Rocks is the focal point of their upcoming 35-show tour, the only chance they will get to fully flex their muscles and play completely through their upcoming album. One of those tracks, “We Can Make The World Stop,” is Boreta’s choice for a symbol of how it feels to stand midway up the stands, where the majestic red rocks and the Denver skyline are both visible.

“It’s really coded into the whole thing; we can’t help it,” he says. “It’s playing outside in a beautiful spot, and you really feel like you’re sitting on the edge of the world when you’re at Red Rocks, and you’ll hear that.”

Boreta says the headlining gig will be a mind-blowing and humbling experience.

“Underneath the stage at Red Rocks, there’s a tunnel that goes from the main stage to the center of the crowd, and all the greats of music have signed on the wall,” he says. “So I’m walking on this stage thinking, ‘I’m just some guy playing music on my laptop, and here I am signing the wall next to Ziggy Marley.’”

Glitch Mob fans should also like the set from MiM0SA, the wonky stage name of Tigran Mimosa, a Los Angeles-based producer whose darkly psychedelic instrumentals draw from glitch-hop and West Coast influences to create a fresh take on dubstep and glitch.

Mimosa first played Red Rocks last year, when he opened for Pretty Lights. His first Red Rocks show, predictably, blew him away.

“It was really warm,” he remembers of the Pretty Lights show. “It rained a little bit, but I also remember seeing stars at one point. It’s just amazing to look up and see the big, red rocks and a crowd of 10,000 people.”

Longtime Boulder favorite Lotus will bring added balance to the evening as an instrumental group that has won followers with a balanced mix of uplifting melody, a textural approach to sound and geometric guitar solos. The lounge-tech sounds of Nomad launched them as reliable jamtronica artists, and they have continued further into a rock-informed Chemical Brothers approach with the more recent Hammerstrike and Oil On Glass.

Lotus member Jesse Miller alternates rocking the bass and samples/keyboards, as well as co-writing Lotus’ songs with guitarist Luke Miller. Red Rocks means many things to Luke Miller, whose high school graduation was held at the venue.

“It’s very beautiful, but it has a lot of personal connections,” he says. “It’s like a look back, almost.

“I feel like any time you play Red Rocks, it’s a celebration, not only of the music but also of the naturally incredibly beautiful spot.”


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Nice article! I had heard about Red Rocks Amphitheatre; they are just awesome. I read your whole article and I really glad to know so much about them. It’s not easy to perform before huge public but they did it and each time getting more appreciation. Thanks for sharing.

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