Sonic Bloom Pre-Parties | Colorado

Editor's Note: As Colorado prepares for this weekend's Sonic Bloom Festival (July 26-28 at Mishawaka Amphitheatre), JamBase jumps back to the last weekend of April with a look the two Sonic Bloom Pre-Parties that raged through Boulder and Denver.

By: Tk Kayembe

Sonic Bloom Pre-Parties - Night 1 :: 04.24.09 :: Fox Theatre :: Boulder, CO

Jamie Janover by C. Taylor Crothers
Those privileged enough to have attended a Sonic Bloom in the past know that it is an undeniably remarkable festival, different from the plethora of others that take place every summer. Nestled away in small mountain towns along Colorado's front range, Sonic Bloom has been an annual summer gathering integrating the talents of phenomenal musicians with exceptionally gifted artists of every variety. While Bloom's ensemble includes an array of artistic architects from all over the map, it pulls a great deal of its guests from its home base in Colorado. Bringing together local gems such as live painter Krystleyez, visualizations from Aeon Child, hoop, fire, fusion and interpretive dancing from The Kaivalya Dancers and visual artists like Rainbow Michael, Sonic Bloom feels like its own smaller, well contained universe. So, for our enjoyment, and to up the ante for this year's festival, the ever so adroit Jamie Janover condensed his weekend brainchild into a two night pre-celebration.

Beginning the Pre-Parties the first night was young Reuben Garst, aka S.P.E.C.T.R.E. His style blends filthy low-end whomp subs and drums with cut up boughetto a capellas. Respectably snatching samples by '90s faves like Ginuwine, Busta Rhymes, Salt n Pepa, he carefully merges them with well produced backing tracks from the likes of Tipper and Mimosa. While many dance floors are left bare at a 9 p.m. concert launch, this was not the case for Reuben as he gave the gratified early bloomers something to dance about.

Vibesquad :: Sonic Bloom Pre-Party by Kayembe
Following S.P.E.C.T.R.E. was Beats Antique, a twosome who brought their distinct Middle Eastern influenced psy-hop from Oakland. The eerie moans of a reverb laced fiddle and drones from oily horns impel all that is still to move, the lifeless to spring fourth and dance, and the dull to shimmer. Picture a modern electro-soundtrack for Rudyard Kipling's Kim conceived the last night at Burning Man. During their time allotment the stage was an obscure mob of pumping arms, flickering visualizations, and... rubber masks? Yes, during their tight-rope walking, side-showish track "Roustabout," the two laptop wielding gentlemen disappeared and then re-appeared in masks - soon to be joined by a collection of other masked individuals who danced and spun about like tops on stage. I'm positive they gained quite a few fans during this run with their crazed tunes that were quick to catch onto and even easier to dance to.

The LYNX & Jamie Janover collaboration is one that sprang from the perfect combination of two extremely gifted and creative minds combining elements of folk, hip-hop, trance and electronica together to create a compelling live performance and sound. LYNX harbors an incredibly powerful voice, which she presented with poise when she wasn't spitting confident flows, conscious spoken word or beatboxing to her attentive crowd. Janover kept it sweet, gracefully hammering out enchantingly calm sounds from his dulcimer, and supplying backing drum beats with his mini-kit. They kept the show faultlessly moving for a captivated, swaying audience with a serene atmosphere they developed together.

Bringing the first night of the Sonic Bloom Pre-Parties to a close was Vibesquad. A collaborative with Zilla and Sporque, as well as his solo venture, Aaron Holstein aka Vibesquad always seems to keep ahead of the curve. Synth kissed bass lines, produced on synthesizers and saturated with effects, dominate Holstein's tracks, which he pairs with drop-filled drum loops he painstakingly produces himself. Getting the party started immediately, Holstein danced about behind his laptop, a smile carved into his face as he twisted knobs on his midi-controller, trickling effects in and out of his soulful bass-hop. Soon, a group of breakdancers spilled out onto the stage, displaying incredibly difficult and skillful moves, splattering dumbstruck expressions of wonderment on the captivated faces in the crowd (see vid below). Taking an innovative approach to sound is what Holstein has become known for, well, that and the faces he makes while playing. It's always comforting watching a musician dig their music just as much as the audience does. Ferociously raging the stage with all his might, Vibesquad pleased mountain-dwellers with another special night of lobe grinding music.

Continue reading for Night 2 of the Sonic Bloom Pre-Parties...

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