Well, another Global Dance Festival is in the books, and this one was especially epic, as it was the first year the event sold out all three nights on the Rocks.
Pegboard Nerds were on as I arrived Friday night, throwing down the beats that their Facebook page classifies as “crazy shit” as the sky began to darken and the crowds finished filing into the stands of Red Rocks Amphitheater. Around 8:45pm, Seven Lions stole the stage for an hour with an incomprehensive string of unspectacular beats. His set wasn’t terrible, so much as it was forgettable. Given the timing of his act, he was set up for one of the more memorable parts of the evening, just after the stands are full, and just before everyone is too wasted to recognize the performer.
I heard a lot of hype for Flosstradamus, the headliner sandwiched between Seven Lions and Above & Beyond. Floss, a Chicago based duo consisting of the DJs J2K and Autobot, performed a distinctive and high-energy show involving heavy Trap beats and strategic yelling. In addition, they collaborated with Diplo throughout the set, bringing forth a dynamic, far more fluid collaboration than any other main stage performance all weekend.
By the time Above & Beyond jumped on stage, we were long overdue for a little consistency, which is luckily what they specialize in. This part of the evening was without a doubt, the highlight of Friday’s lineup. Above & Beyond has mastered the timeless appeal of melodic trance. For the most part, the set was a repeat of 2014’s Hallowfreak’n’ween, however, this time it was at the most spectacular venue in the world. The system was louder, the lasers doubled, and the graphics were perfect. Every aspect of the performance coexisted perfectly with the mood of the audience and the atmosphere of the festival as a whole. There could not have been a better way to kick of the festivities.
My expectations for Saturday night’s lineup were less heavy than the night before, which ultimately set me up to be pleased when everything turned out to be awesome. Unlike Friday night, the opening acts were consistently, and often unexpectedly better than I could have hoped for. 3lau, was on as I entered the venue, and his set was an excellent start to the evening. Bright Lights graced the stage twice throughout the show, which was more or less a rarity for the main stage all weekend. It is refreshing to have live vocalists incorporated into electronic sets; they tend to add a level of interactivity that is harder to achieve when the DJs spend most of their time behind the podium.
Later, Dr. P and Datsik also brought it home with two rock-solid performances. By the time Kaskade took over, the audience was pretty pumped. Perhaps it takes a night to get going, but Saturday night’s crowd definitely had a lot more momentum going by the time the headliner walked on stage. Kaskade gave an emotional dedication for a couple of new songs, recapping some of the defining moments of his career, that happened throughout a succession of Denver night clubs and venues, until finally he reached Global 2015. Throughout his set, Kaskade unleashed a slew of old and new musical experiments, which kept the crowd engaged without sacrificing his obvious aspirations to expand his musical boundaries.
Sunday, was, as everyone should have already expected, a slam dunk. There wasn’t anything that could have gone wrong, with a lineup like there was, it was either going to be really really good, or just plain amazing. Unlike the nights preceding it, each set on Sunday seemed too short. Green Velvet and Kill the Noise both flew by while I regrettably tried to conserve my dance energy for Benny Bennasi and Tiesto. By the time Bennassi came on, the crowd had the celebration routine down to a science. The atmosphere was perfectly primed for an epic party and Benassi graciously rose to the occasion. Though the set was a far cry from Benassi’s early hit Satisfaction there were certainly flashbacks. Tiesto threw a majestic mix of radio ready crowd pleasers, and rowdy beats that everyone expected.
We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and that these photos bring back some great memories!
© Electronic Colorado