By: Kiki Ferguson
Late Night Radio (Alex) started the night off just after 8:40; the venue was still vacant due to how early it was. That wasn’t going to slow down this Denver descendant from keeping the crowd moving with his smooth hip-hop instrumentals and his soulful electronic funk. Alex fits right in the league of genre pioneers, Pretty Lights, Gramatik, GRiZ and Archnemesis. Each artist cultivating their own sound blending traditional hip-hop, blues and funk with electronic melodies and bass.
It didn’t take long for LNR to get comfortable and fans started gathering closer to the stage. Playing tracks of his latest EP Vinyl Restoration Vol. 4 (2014) as well as many other classics off Concrete Collage (2012) also previewing some new unreleased tracks, one titled “So Much” dropping next month. LNR is certainly making a name for himself outside of the CO area touring with talented like-minded artists. LNR is taking his bluely electronic funk to the next level and is rising amongst the scene.
Michel Menert was set to rock the stage next; being a core element in Pretty Light’s musical career you can recognize some similar musical components within his sound. Not only did he co-produce Pretty Lights debut album; Taking Up Your Precious Time (2006), he also played in a band with schoolmates and close friends Derek Vincent Smith (Pretty Lights), Paul Basic (PLM), Cory Eberhard (PL drummer 07-10) and Ben Linder O’Neill (PLM); called Listen. The Bottle of UV vodka was set up on the decks, which could only mean one thing. Michal came out with his drummer and didn’t waste any time before dropping some new unreleased music. Then going into a collaboration track done with Break Science titled “Electric Touch”. Menert being the first artist signed to PLM has high expectations to fulfill and is doing so with his high energy, explosive sound. Almost resembling live drum and bass with rhythmic breakdowns also laying down some lyrics of his own over certain tracks. Menert took it back when he dropped a remix of ZZ top’s La Grange that got the crowd singing, after that he played a song dedicated to his late father. Wrapping the set up with a remix of a track from his friend/label mate Late Night Radio.
If you don’t know well now you know! GRiZ does it all, combining his own electronic funk with all walks of life. GRiZ doesn’t just play his own music, aside from dropping tracks from other producers like; Ratatat, Flux Pavilion and Skrillex he also integrates pop music into his set. Incorporating his own style actually making pop music enjoyable, sampling and remixing songs by Drake, Pitbull, Lil Jon and Jason Derulo. GRiZ amazes the crowd with his melodic saxophone solos as well as his ability to smoothly blend and tease multiple genres. Even mixing in the classic by Basement Jaxx, “Where’s Your Head At”, it’s not only the selection of these older tracks that he includes but also his ability to hold you at ease not knowing what he will throw at you next. GRiZ teamed up with Gramatik to form GRiZmatik and the electro, soul-funk duo created the EP Digital Liberation Is Mad Freedom, which was basically played in its entirety along with his latest EP Rebel Era. One of my favorite tracks of the night which was played within the first ten song was GRiZ’s remix of Pretty Light’s “Vibe Vendetta” the track is my favorite off Pretty Light’s Color Map Of The Sun (2013).
One aspect of the set that got the energy of the crowd above sea level was the amount of hip-hop, funk and reggae tracks teased through out the night. Getting the crowd screaming Wu Tang Clan briefly before jumping into “The Next Episode” by Dr. Dre, after teasing the track “Shutter Bug” by Outkast. Subsequently taking it back a couple of year with “Drop it Like It’s Hot” right into “Play That Funky Music White Boy” which had everyone in the venue singing. GRiZ closed up his set by teasing “Welcome to Jamrock” by Damian Marley into “Ball So Hard” by Jay-Z, after leaving the stage, the “one more song” chant started up and he quickly returned to stage to drop crowd favorite “Gettin’ Live” right into the classic “Tequila Song”. And just like that a perfect night was wrapped up ending the show in fashion with a classic, keeping the happy, positive vibe alive throughout the night.