Sonic Bloom 2017. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on what was yet another year, I figured I would list my favorite sets for this week’s “List’n Up” post. As is the case with every festival, I didn’t make it to every set I wanted to, including Haywyre, David Starfire, Yheti, The Polish Ambassador, and most of Gigantic Cheese Biscuits (I KNOW!) This is also my personal opinion, so I’m not claiming these were the best, just my own Sonic Bloom 2017 faves. It’s too hard to list them in any particular order, except for number 1…cause that shit was just too good.
Ill-esha has been one of my favorite Colorado producers ever since we had her on The ELCO Show last year. Not only is she an exceptionally talented artist and musician, she’s a kind-hearted and genuine person. Admittedly however, I haven’t been doing a good job of keeping up with her music lately. That will certainly change after hearing all the dope stuff she was dropping at the Meadow Stage, most of which I had never heard. The production was clean, the bass was heavy, and the transitions were smooth. And of course we can’t forget about her nailing those live vocals and the keytar.
Another long-time local favorite, Jay Jaramillo has been putting his blood, sweat, and tears into this festival and the Colorado scene as a whole for years. He’s solidified his place as a Bloom regular, and deservedly so. Seeing him rock out a late-night set at a packed Hummingbird Stage was inspiring. The energetic crowd was clearly digging it, as he dropped countless bangers including the tracks of his just-released EP, Cortex. Jay was clearly also having a good time, evidenced by that trademark grin that just wouldn’t seem to disappear. Shout out to his partner in crime Unlimited Gravity, who certainly contributed to the raucous vibe.
Ehren Wright, aka SoDown, has probably blown up more over the past year than any other Colorado producer. It’s been so cool watching him come up from nothing and seeing him now sell out shows, release top-notch music, and earn festival slots. He surprised me at Bloom 2016 with just how hard he threw it down, but I was ready for it this year. He didn’t disappoint, as he brought it even harder to the Hummingbird Stage, which was packed to the gills. Few artists out there can bring such heat to the decks and still manage to jam out on a live instrument like he does on the sax. Don’t be surprised to see SoDown on the main stage the next time he plays Bloom.
Desert Hearts Showcase
The Desert Hearts Showcase, featuring Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, & Porkchop, was just what I needed to put a little pep in my step on a groggy and sluggish Sunday. What started off as a small, rogue gathering of house and techno in the desert has since flourished into an internationally-recognized crew, record label, and festival series. It’s safe to say they’ve got a strong foothold here in CO after a showcase at Cervantes a few months back and a packed all-day danceathon to close out Sonic Bloom 2017.
Unfortunately I missed about half of Minnesota‘s set, but the vibe and crowd was on point. He headlined the main stage, and it was one of the bigger crowds of the weekend. It was also one of the more ethereal and melodic sets, but certainly not lacking any bass. Minnesota has really developed a sound all his own over the years and I look forward to his return to CO.
If it weren’t for Golf Clap absolutely bringing the fire, I would have seen more than the last half of Joker‘s set that I caught. This was probably my biggest scheduling conflict personally, as they were two of my favorite sets of the weekend. But seeing Joker bring that nasty, seamless bass after missing his last show at The Black Box, which was after a couple of cancelled shows, was especially sweet. And seeing his drop ‘Midnight’ live was the cherry on top.
Poolside, an old nu disco favorite of mine, was the perfect comedown after Space Jesus’ rowdy set. Vibing out to their mellow sound was like, well, chilling poolside on a warm summer’s day. The dance floor was a sea of grooving bodies and smiling faces, and the tone was set for what would be an epic following set from Golf Clap.
Going into it I was only a little familiar with Space Jesus, but I had liked what I’d heard so far. Coming out of it, I’m definitely now a fan. Originality is what I admire most with music, and this guys has it. He’s not the first bass music artist, but he certainly has a sound that I haven’t heard anywhere else. Grimy. Heavy. Weird. Bass. Still waiting on that “biggest drop of the night” though….
1. Golf Clap
The only set of the weekend that was undoubtedly number 1 for me. The Detroit house duo was also the most surprising to me. I hadn’t listened to much GC lately, and the few tracks that I had heard in the past were fairly chill ones. This set was the opposite of that. These guys brought it and they brought it big. If you like dirty house sets that seamlessly navigate through one track after the next like a barreling freight train, this is the artist for you. And I’m not talking about that catchy mainstream “house” music by some guy in a priest outfit. These guys bring it hard while still staying true to their Detroit house music roots. I think it was when they dropped ‘Bout That‘, that I knew this was the set of the weekend.