Sunday, July 21, 2013

ARISE Music Festival Preview - Loveland, CO August 14th - 18th


We’re excited to present our preview of the ARISE Music Festival in Loveland, CO (a little over an hour north of Denver) at Sunrise Ranch. Running from Wednesday, August 14 through Sunday, August 18th, ARISE is a “music, activation, and co-creative camping festival.” The festival schedule allows for early bird camping with special extras on 8/14, music / yoga / presenters / workshops 8/15- 17, and a decompression day with more special extras on 8/15. Several festivals are hosting early bird events, but Arise seems to be on the forefront of scheduling a Sunday with no mainstage headliners booked. We see this as a great way for folks to get back to normalcy without dredging through a case of the Mondays. As well as musical performances, ARISE features four unique stages, one of which is a 400 seat domed theatre that will offer alternative events such as speakers, panels, and film screenings. Buy your tickets at this link.

As each day of the festival has an extremely varied line-up, festival goers will have a tough time deciding which artists to check out. The ARISE festival hosts multiple big name acts as well as giving support to the several members of the local music scene.

On Thursday The Motet and Toubab Krewe scheduled. Hailing from Denver, CO, The Motet has been on the scene for over 10 years. The funk, lead by drummer Dave Watts and highlighted by keyboardist Joey Porter, is sure to get everyone hot.
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Toubab Krewe, from Asheville, NC, has been a world-jam staple for several years on festival line-ups. Bringing authentic African instruments, percussive heavy grooves, and undeniable hooks, Toubab Krewe has no genre specific origin; world heavy.

Cirque du Soleil esque, Quixotic hold two slots at ARISE. Featured both Thursday and Saturday. This group mashes original music production with exciting stage theatrics. Recently featured on TED Talks, they have been described as a performance with “grandeur and explosive artistry”. This is definitely an act not to be missed.

Regionally local acts like Octopus Nebula will bring some electronic vibes to Thursday’s line-up. Colorado’s own, Octopus Nebula is representing live-tronica in full respect. They’ve been gracing just about every Colorado festival stage this summer and are branching up and out in the region.

Friday’s lineup continues to provide fans with lots of choices for entertainment. Performers like Greensky Bluegrass, Atomga, The Magic Beans and event Chali 2na will be keeping Colorado rooted in analog instrumentation and classic styles.

Greensky Bluegrass, hailing from the Midwest, hold strong to original bluegrass styling while staying relevant in today’s festival scene. Relentless touring for the past 6 years has shown that Greensky is in it to win it as they continue to push the bluegrass envelope by adding distortion and even horns to some of their songs.

Atomga has recently been dubbed “Denver’s newest party band” and is striving to live up to the crown. With afrobeat at it’s roots, Atomga adds horns and tons of funk to the mix to keep audiences moving.

Along the same lines as Atomga, The Magic Beans also bring analog instrumentation to the stage on Friday. Also local to Colorado, they keep the stage bouncing with funk based grooves comboed with improvisation.

Living legend Chali 2na, from Jurassic 5, will step on stage Friday to continue pushing his solo, classic hip-hop mood. After J-5 stopped touring, Chali 2na has kept the beat going with his first solo release in 2009. Chali has been touring around the world with his 3-piece band, House of Vibe, and will bring the head-bobbing, O.G. hip-hop to ARISE Music Festival.

On the flip side of Friday, there are a number of DJs and electronic acts playing. Some of our highlights include Michal Menert of Pretty Lights Music, ProJect Aspect hailing from Denver, and Desert Dwellers who are hitting the CO Festival season very hard this year.

Michal Menert has been making big moves ever since the CO-based label Pretty Lights Music started picking up major momentum. Menert offers festival goers the hometown sound that Derek Vincent Smith has made so popular over the last few years but also puts his own spin on this sound with more soul and less wobble. The production of Menert is both chill and head-bobbing at the same time. Fest goers looking for a thought-provoking and danceable set should not miss Michal Menert on Friday.

In the same electronic vein and also another CO local is ProJect Aspect. With an enormous amount of original music sprinkled with remixes, ProJect Aspect promises to bring the bass. Desert Dwellers are no strangers to Colorado, especially this festival season as they grace the line-ups of many CO music fests including ARISE. Hailing from New Mexico and Southern California, Desert Dwellers, scheduled for a sunrise set Saturday morning, bring an eclectic and varied set of influences together featuring numerous electronic genres laced with psychedelia, dub, and world grooves.

On Saturday, the final day of music, look out for more CO local music from Denver Disco, Future Simple Project, Digital Beat Down, and Inti as well as some more excellent beats from West Coast based producer Random Rab.

On the local tip, we are excited for Denver Disco to be representing their ever popular dancefloor friendly sound on the festival scene. Denver Disco has been growing strong this year throwing local parties in Denver and Boulder with their resident DJs, Fun Factory and Falcon Punch, but also continually featuring bigger acts that know how to bring the Disco sound like Orchard Lounge and Tiger Party. We are not entirely sure what the Denver Disco set at ARISE will be like, but we can count on some Nu Disco to keep us hopping all night.

More beats from Denver include Digital Beat Down, a local duo of drummer Andy Lubner and instrumentalist Nick Pilz on guitar and synths. DBD has a rich appreciation for the DJ culture and although they create the majority of their sound with analog instruments, they aren't afraid to drop samples and remixes from the likes of Disclosure and Booka Shade into their jammy sets. DBD has been hitting the festival season hard in Colorado this year, and we are excited to see what they have in store for us at ARISE.

Another Colorado local, The Acidophiles, produce a style they have coined “climactic-dubtronica”. Genre bending will prove to be a huge highlight at ARISE Music Festival and Thursday is kicking it off right!

Similar to Quixotic, who plays their second set on Saturday, is Future Simple Project. The electronic fusion project also features a spectacle of fire dancers and hoopers. Often featuring live instrumentalists and vocalists, Future Simple Project works to blend the bass music genres with more organic electronic music. Another spectacle of an act is INTI who features major girl power for their high energy dance pop meets Latin hip hop stage show.

Random Rab hailing from the West coast will be bringing his down tempo bass music will sure to be a highlight of Saturday. One of the more prominent national acts on the bill for Saturday, Random Rab
comes from a diverse musical background which is apparent in his electronic stylings. A multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Random Rab’s sets incorporate both psychedelic and danceable elements for a thoughtful and body-moving show.

ARISE Festival is helping to set a new tone for the camping festival season. It's easy to feel the intense positivity and healing nature of music at most any camping festival, but so far, music festivals do not strive to enact the ideals that they instill in music fans. Hopefully, ARISE Festival along with a few other conscious festivals in Colorado, can start momentum toward summer celebrations that are as sustainable as they are fun. With an ambitious line-up ranging from mainstream heavy-hitters all the way down to local up-and-comers, ARISE is setting up Colorado for a legacy of legendary camping festivals.

See you all at ARISE.

Written by Matt Nigro and Phil Buck

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sonic Bloom 2013 Review

(Polish Ambassador w/dancer)

Sonic Bloom 2013 took place at Shadow's Ranch in Georgetown, CO over June 13th-16th. In my opinion, this event was a great success. Dubbing itself "Colorado's Premier Electronic Music Festival", Sonic Bloom 2013 was just that. Bringing world class acts to around 4,000 people in the mountains of Colorado, Jamie Janover and the rest of the Sonic Bloom crew stepped up the production, the acts, and the vibe to create a community of ragers submerged in electronic sounds.

(The Grouch & Eligh)
I was unfortunately only able to attend the event Friday and Saturday due to day job responsibilities, but was not shorted any sort of party. Attendees enjoyed heavy hitters like Random Rab, The Grouch & Eligh, Opiuo, Wick-It The Instigator, and Dessert Dwellers on Friday's line-up. Random Rab, as scheduled, should have only graced the stage three times. But when it was all said and done, Rab turned into house DJ #1, performing at least 4-5 sets over the weekend with several collabs included. The Grouch & Eligh were new to me, but brought the party to the main stage with bouncing hip-hop lyrics and style. Another new name for me was Opiuo. The Australian headlined the Main Stage Friday night and offered sexy disco influenced, funk/electro; similar to the sounds of the "old" Pretty Lights. Wick-It The Instigator, of Nashville, TN, stepped up the jam on the Dome Stage. Living in the Nashville area myself for several years, I have seen Wich-It grow from a hip-hop/mash-up DJ playing a tiny cigar bar in Murfreesboro, TN to Main Stage festival slayer. Wick-It threw the party into overdrive with less womp than other recent sets I've seen him play. His mash-up style is still very prevalent and had everyone dancing. The schedule ended Friday/Saturday morning with Desert Dwellers playing a sunrise set that put everyone's heads right for Saturday morning. Look out for these guys to begin takeover of the down-tempo world!

(Random Rab)
(Wick-It The Instigator)
Saturday started hot and got even hotter. Fans saw some analog instruments pop-up from artists like YAMN, and the Werks. Both bands brought funk styles with jam attitudes and had everyone moving. Favorites, Orchard Lounge played the Dome Stage in the evening and followed their set by a surprise private camp ground set that I was lucky enough to catch. New-comers Intergalactic Fantasy Safari tore up the Hummingbird Stage Friday night with their dubstep style. They even handed out several stuffed animal party favors to their fans. Big-timer, Polish Ambassador, joined by VJ Liminus absolutely crushed the Main Stage Saturday night. Recently stating that Denver, CO holds the highest fan base in the States, look for Polish to be around and don't be caught dead missing his set. Lazer guided space travel describes his music quite well. Also, look for a new Polish Ambassador side project coming out called "Wildlight". Saturday's line-up was closed out by yet another excellent sunrise set. Random Rab brought the down-tempo, world influence to the Dome Stage Sunday morning. After the last note, I was completely exhausted, yet exhilarated at the same time.

(Polish Ambassador w/Liminus)
Experiencing only one half of the Sonic Bloom offerings, I felt slightly jipped that I had to take off mid day Sunday. But thinking back on the experience at this point, I feel 100% satisfied with the event and will definitely be heading back to Sonic Bloom in 2014. Word on the street is that this was the last year that the festival will be held at Shadow's Rach as attendance is pushing the grounds to it's limits. Look for new location announcements soon.

Thank you Sonic Bloom for bringing new music to my ears as well as solid party favorites to move me!

Love ya, Mean it!