Words by: Nick Boeka | Images by: Matt Blake
Rocky Mountain Crystallization :: 09.12.08 & 09.13.08 :: Denver, CO
I walked down Welton Street heading towards the familiar atmosphere that makes up both Cervantes' Masterpiece and Quixote's True Blue, thinking I knew what to expect of the weekend. Both venues are located right next door to each other, owned by the same people and definitively the jam friendliest venues in the Denver area. But, upon entering the front doors, something was different, something was better, something was electrified off the register. The two venues had been utterly transformed into an indoor festival, complete with venders, lounge areas and one of the best light shows and setups I had ever witnessed in these two venues.
|Eliot Lipp - Rocky Mountain Crystallization|
This weekend, Rocky Mountain Crystallization, the inaugural event thrown by Boogie Down Productions, literally transformed the typically Grateful Dead themed rooms into a full-on dance club. Massive light rigs, including a jaw-dropping LED panel display and cubes, dominated the main stage. Even the smaller stage in Quixote's was retrofitted with many moving and beaming lights. There were live painters, including Kris D, J Garcia, Michael Garfield, Todd Shepherd and Krystleyez, and the always entertaining theatrics of the Kaivalya Hoop Dancers, who used glowing objects, fun toys and even fire dancing to complete the whole visual experience of this unique Crystallization. Throughout the weekend, I overheard comments ranging from awe to disbelief in how well the venues had been decorated and the atmosphere that was created because of those efforts. Each night showcased four DJs per stage, and because they had opened up the middle passageway between the two venues, hopping back and forth was really easy. And JamBase had an opportunity to speak with many of the artists and painters throughout the weekend.
Friday, September 12
Future:Simple is comprised of two talented, up-and-coming artists from Boulder, CO, Raja Ananda and Mikey Fisher. Their set started the event off, and unfortunately before many guests had arrived. Regardless, their style is a healthy mix of the new glitchy sounds taking hold in the electronica scene, adding flairs of dub and breaks. This duo is one to watch in the coming years, and I'm hoping that they can get on the road to start playing more clubs to infect more audiences with their sound.
|VibeSquad - Rocky Mountain Crystallization|
DJ Space Invader
Here was another act that also met the hardships of starting early in a long scheduled night of acts. DJ Space Invader opened in Quixote's and threw a set mixing elements of dancehall and dubstep. I wandered back and forth between this set and the one in the other room, and found myself being drawn more towards Cervantes', where the action was starting to pick up.
There were several acts that brought me to Denver from the Bay Area, and Ana Sia was one of them. Her dirty sound is guaranteed to get your ass moving. By the start of her set, the crowd had nearly filled the room, and it was obvious that her draw was bigger than her time spot. She has a way of flirting with the audience, feeling what we want, and delivering via the knobs and buttons in front of her. Her set was very well received and I couldn't stop complimenting her throughout the rest of the night on how sick it really was. With this performance, the next time she comes out to Colorado, I'm hoping that she can be showcased more in a late night or even headlining spot.
Tim Bowers (DJ Rootz) is a Boulder native currently living in San Francisco. His unique style and approach to mixing makes him a solid DJ, and when he takes over I know that I'm in for a great set. This evening was no different as Rootz managed to attract and pull listeners from Ana's set and hold them captive with his beats in Quixote's. At this point, the venue was filling up quick, though was still comfortable to move around.
|BreakbeatBuddha - Rocky Mountain Crystallization|
Aaron Holstein (also of Zilla) began his VibeSquad set just as Ana was finishing, and it was apparent that the Boulder native had a strong draw. The audience in Cervantes' quickly transferred themselves over to Quixote's to provide a packed house for Holstein's set. He fed off the energy and spirit from the crowd, using effects and sonic manipulations to slam the crowd with heavy bass. I had heard that earlier in the evening the subwoofers in that room had gone out, but you could have fooled me as I made my way to the front of the stage, feeling my shirt ripple with each kick drum hit. By the end of this set, I was primed and ready for The Motet.
DJ Pumpkin Patch
In the only suspect stage placement of the weekend, I felt that Mike Saltsman's (DJ Pumpkin Patch) set was under appreciated. His sound was more house than any of the other artists, fusing Euro-dance and pop cuts into a non-stop set of up-beat, danceable music. I picked up on influences ranging from Daft Punk to Chromeo, and all of it was mixed with effective precision. This New York area DJ won over new fans this night, and his return to Colorado is expected.
Headlining the Quixote's stage was a premier name in the breakbeat scene, Anthony Traynor, aka BreakBeatBuddha. Traynor has been spinning for well over 15 years and is a defining voice in this scene. His set transitioned perfectly from Holsteins, and it was a strategic move that paid off, locking much of the crowd into his groove, instead of allowing them to drift to the main room.
|The Motet - Rocky Mountain Crystallization|
The main headliner for Friday evening was the return, or at least partial return, of the full Motet. One of Boulder's favorite bands, comprised of core members Dave Watts, Dominic Lalli and Ryan Jalbert, and joining them this evening was new keyboardist Joey Porter, who absolutely owned the crowd with his Clavinet and Rhodes chops. They also featured a new vibraphone player, whose name I didn't catch, that pulled double duty on synth lead and effects. Let me tell you, for a band that is constantly reinventing their sound, The Motet came out this evening and dropped it so heavy that there wasn't a still body in the entire room. Whereas Watts has typically been the leader, Lalli had an opportunity to showcase many of his new originals, which have more of an electronic edge than the classic Afrobeat sound many are familiar with. If this is any indication of what The Motet will be offering, then my advice is that you don't wait a single second before getting your Halloween ticket for the gig at Cervantes', which will feature the music of the Talking Heads with Kyle Hollingsworth on keys, among many other guest musicians.
Continue reading for Saturday's coverage of Rocky Mountain Crystallization...