Each year, 10,000 dance music fans and some of the world’s biggest artists make the pilgrimage to Morrison, Colorado, home to one of the greatest venues in the world: Red Rocks Amphitheater. The natural amphitheater is carved from the ancestral Rocky Mountain range, which has been gradually uplifted and eroded over millions of years. The park now stands as a reminder of the incredible powers of geologic movement, and today incites movements of a whole other category. Red Rocks Amphitheater has become home to Global Dance Festival, one of our nations premiere dance music celebrations. July 17th, 18th, and 19th, thousands of dance music fans grooved below the 160 million year old rocks, reminding us why we love to Global Dance.

Seven Lions

Based on what others have relayed, I wasn’t expecting much from Seven Lions, but I was pleasantly surprised with the diversity of his set. Featuring visuals of snowy mountain peaks, Jeff Montalvo (or at least his set producer) knows how to win over the hearts of Colorado fans. With everything from slow, melodic dubstep to hard hitting electro and festival trap, Seven Lions provided a little something for everyone Friday night. The set began with a heavy rendition of Velvetine’s The Great Divide and slowly moved into electro, and eventually trap bangers. (We would shortly find out trap, of every style, would be the eminent theme of the weekend).

Lane 8

Global Dance brought this up and coming deep house, or rather, “dreamy back rub house”  producer to the NRG stage for the mellow dance tunes of the evening. The top stage seemed to draw a more mature crowd of dancers who attended solely for the musical experience. Fortunately, we were able to escape the festival trap, florescent tank tops, and creepy old man stares for this safe haven atop the rocks. After years of attending Global Dance events at Red Rocks this was the first year I felt compelled to leave the main stage to check out some lesser known artists at the top stage, and I was never disappointed at what I heard. I hope Global continues to recognize the intimacy the smaller stage creates as well as the importance of providing sounds that cater to a different audience. Just as we hoped he would, Lane 8 graced us with a legendary deep house set and the fabulous Global Dancers were as on point as ever at the NRG stage.

Be sure to check out Elijah Pantoja’s exclusive interview with Lane 8 HERE.

 

HOLY FLOSSTRADAMUS. For those of us at Global Dance Festival to get down and dirty to some grimy bass music, this set truly answered our call. One of the only trap specific sets of the weekend, Flosstradamus provided us with an hour of pure filth like no other artist could have. The trap king dropped heavy tracks from artists such as Daktyl and Zed’s Dead as well as plenty of his own tracks, closing with his remix of “Bitch Better Have My Money.” “Soundclash,” his recent collaboration with TroyBoi, was definitely a crowd pleaser, as well as a favorite among many of the festival’s DJs. With the rocks bumping and the crowd jumping, Floss lead us into the nutty hours of the night.

In the short transition between Flosstradamus and Above & Beyond, Global Dance laid a big announcement on all of us Colorado dance music fans. The legendary Martin Garrix will be coming to Colorado for the first time to headline Skylab 2015! Other headlining artists, venue info, and ticket release date are still to be announced, but definitely put this Colorado festival on your fall calendar.

Above & Beyond

Friday night, we entered the festival gates armed with a killer homemade sign and matching tie dye outfits, ready to push the frickin’ button. For die-hard A&B fans, we know the “push the button” dream all too well, but for those less versed in the ways of this infamous dance music duo, I will put the tradition into layman’s terms. Every Group Therapy set that Above & Beyond plays, the duo (and occasionally trio) invite a desperate audience member to join them on stage. The lucky chosen one, gets to push the button that ends the buildup and begins “the drop” of one of their tracks. Previously, the invite occurred during the progression of the famed song “Sun & Moon,” but since the release of their new album We Are All We Need, the pleas begin during “King For A Day.”

We pushed our way to the front of VIP with huge smiles on our faces, and persistence in our hearts. This was my third time seeing Above & Beyond’s set and this WOULD be my chance to get on stage. Never once did we allow that sign to fall below eye level, even though we designated shifts to allow for arm resting/ heavy-dancing breaks. When the deciding moment finally came, I could have sworn definitive eye contact was made between Tony McGuinness and I. We definitely shared a moment. But apparently that’s not enough. Another lucky girl (wearing about half as much clothing as I, may I add) was chosen. With tired arms and defeat in our souls, we made our way down the maze that is the Red Rocks exit, conspiring our plan of attack for our next Group Therapy session.

Disregarding our disappointment, Above & Beyond played a killer set. While some critics may accuse A&B of dropping the same set every year, their new album definitely adds some new sounds to the lineup. One of the most memorable tracks was a dance inspiring remix of the 80s new wave track “Blue Monday” by New Order. Above & Beyond truly brought dance music back to its roots Friday night of Global Dance Festival.

 

 

Bus to Show

We had the great fortune of riding to and from Red Rocks with the incredible team from Bus to Show, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing intoxicated driving accidents and arrests in the greater Denver area. Since 2007, Bus to Show has made a relentless effort to provide fun and safe transportation to and from concerts and festivals, all while fostering community among event goers. Thanks to their efforts, DUIs in Boulder have decreased by over 30%, meaning there are 30% less unsafe drivers on the road each time Bus to Show provides transportation. Also, with each group that chooses to ride the bus, another car remains at home and off the highways, reducing our overall carbon footprint. That’s incredible.

Each night the Bus to Show members boarded the bus, Electric Sloth provided the party tunes and the good vibes, which was greatly appreciated by all. We created a little family of Global Dancers before even passing through the Red Rocks gates, sharing glitter, festival tips, and artists recommendations. Later into the evening, we were reunited with our Bus to Show crew on the rocks, where we shared a moment dancing on solid ground.

When the night came to a close, we could count on good ‘ol Matty, one of the dedicated Bus to Show drivers, to greet us with a smiling face and a safe ride home. We brought the night to a close with some cool-down tunes, grooving into the night with our newly found friends.

Make sure to check out Bus to Show for all of your party transportation needs in the Denver area.

Illenium

This up-and-comer continues to impress me every time I return to Colorado. Illenium has exploded onto the electronic music scene, gaining wide recognition for his melodic progressions and dreamy bass lines. If you have not yet heard what this artist is capable of, definitely give him a listen and lookout for new song releases over the next year.

Slander

Los Angeles based duo, Slander, has made some big leaps onto the festival scene this year. After landing the biggest gig of their lives at EDC Las Vegas, tearing up the Red Rocks stage, and selling out numerous venues across the country, Slander will play main stage at TomorrowWorld 2015. Definitely be on the lookout for more greatness to come from these talented producers.

When Slander announced they had some new music for us Global Dancers, I couldn’t have been more excited to hear what this brilliant duo had in store. Let me say, I was less than impressed. If glitchy, repetitive trap with no real breakdown or song progression isn’t your thing, than stick with their older material that we have all grown to love. Slander made everything right by closing with their “heaven trap” remix of Above and Beyond’s Love is Not Enough. I danced through the end of the set continuing to be impressed by the range of incredible music I had heard so far at Global Dance Festival.

3LAU

Justin David Blau, better known as 3LAU, always brings the crowd pleasers and the party starters. The energy of the main stage was intoxicating as he dropped his banging progressive and electro house tracks. Bright Lights came onto stage to accompany 3LAU with the vocals for his 2014 single How You Love Me.” This was one of the only sets of the weekend that featured a live vocalist, which was refreshing to say the least. 3LAU also dropped an unreleased dance remix of Clean Bandit’s Grammy winning track “Rather Be,” which truly got the crowd jumping.  

 

Doctor P

We were transported back to the days of mid 2000s dubstep, dancing to classic old-school Doctor P tracks such as Flying Spaghetti Monster and Tetris, one right after the other. Like a tribute to an old friend, Doctor P dropped plenty of Flux Pavillion’s festival favorites including Bass Canon and I Can’t Stop. He also played some impressive new material, such as his own rendition of Yogi and Pusha T’s “Burial”. We also heard some grimy English trap from Doctor P’s personal favorite from Circus Records, Diskord.

Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Doctor P HERE.

Mako

Never having heard of this producer before, I was unsure of what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by their set, especially some of the new material they dropped. Check out the Los Angeles based duo’s collaboration with Steve Angello “Children Of The Wild,” the perfect song to power the youthful summer shenanigans your summer has in store. After bringing the teenage angst dance music of the eveningMako closed their set with a banger remix of Mr. Bright Side by The Killers. 

Slow Magic

I first saw Slow Magic earlier this year at Sasquatch Music Festival, but due to the large crowd, I was unable to experience the full majesty of the experience. And can I just say: WOW. Never have I been brought so close to tears by electronic music than Slow Magic’s set, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience. Slow Magic’s forward thinking sounds leaped into the scene in 2012, but he has made a sudden climb into fame the past few years, playing over 100 major shows and festivals.

It’s interesting to see a musician who is truly dedicated to the musical experience. The face and name have little meaning when the artistry of a live performance is so distinctive and deep. With little argument, no other artists was able to fill the NRG stage with such an enthusiastic crowd. We danced along side some true Slow Magic fans, each sporting their own electroluminescent headgear, never daring to bare their faces.

His entrancing, cosmic sounds transported us to a place where dance music regained its true meaning, while providing a well needed rest from the bass heavy sets of the weekend. But don’t confuse a lack of bass with a lack of energy! Slow Magic engaged the crowd in his performance by bringing a drum down into the audience, inviting his fans to experience the tribal beats and instrumental passion first hand. I had the opportunity to dance with some true Slow Magic VIPs of the shorter variety: Slow Magic’s children grooved along side me, looking up at their dad with pride and wonder. When the mini technicolor wolves disappeared backstage, I thought we may never see them again, at least not until electronic music surged up through their veins and they found their place in the scene with their father and many other talented producers. But before I knew it, two wolf pups emerged from behind the stage, each rocking their own electroluminescent masks and drum sticks in tow. The wolf family brought the set to a heart-warming close, as the father-son trio rocked into the later hours of the night. The wolf pack brought us the best set of the weekend, hands down.

Terravita

Terravita followed Slow Magic on the NRG stage. Had they not proceeded an act as jaw-dropping as Slow Magic, I probably would have enjoyed this bass-heavy, hip-hop influenced set, but we were in the mood for something different. Although their set wasn’t what I was hoping for, this trio definitely deserves a listen. Their aggressive house and D&B styles are bound to become one of your go-tos for uniquely heavy bass music.

Kaskade

After leaving Slow Magic’s set at the top stage, I really wasn’t ready to stop dancing (or come back to reality), but I was ready to see what Kaskade had in store for us. I last saw Kaskade at Decadence NYE where he was headlining among a diverse group of artists including the illustrious trio Big Grizmatik and Flux Pavillion. Kaskade’s dance focused set provided a break from the bass-heavy theme of the New Year’s Eve event, but incited little enthusiasm from me this year at Global Dance. Hearing nothing more than festival trap and club dance anthems all weekend long, I expected something unique, even groundbreaking, from a producer as renowned as Kaskade, but I was sadly disappointed. Although his set was less than awe-inspiring, it was interesting to hear some of his older tunes as he recounted his journey to fame, playing small Denver nightclubs such as The Church and Beta. It will be interesting to see which up-and-coming producer will be telling his “climb to the Red Rocks stage” story next.

 

Kill the Noise

A real festival favorite, Kill The Noise brought the party tunes to the main stage for the last day of Global Dance Festival. We got a little taste of some new material, including a banging new collaboration with GTA. Bringing us huge remixes such as Kendrik Lamar’s Mad City, Kill The Noise truly brought something incredible to the rocks. Be on the look out for Kill The Noise’s new album, dropping this fall. He played quite a few exclusives from this album and I was extremely impressed with the diversity of the sounds I was hearing. Everything from dubstep, electro house, D&B, trap, and more can be expected from this renowned Los Angeles producer.

Benny Benassi 

After a weekend of festival trap, dance hall anthems, and hip hop remixes, I was ready for some true dance music. And who better to deliver than the illustrious Benny Benassi. Bass-heavy dance music and progressive house could not have provided a better conclusion to a great festival weekend.

Rather than ending on a high note, Tiësto played the main stage after Benny. After opening with a repetitive house remix that completely disgraced “Lean On” by Major Lazer, DJ Snake, and MØ, I knew I couldn’t expect much from this forever celebrated DJ. Yes. Tiësto makes music. House music. He’s a legend. He’s also old. We get it. Now move along.

Most played songs of the weekend (BY A LONG SHOT)

Dillon Francis – Bruk Bruk

Flosstradamus & Troyboi – Soundclash

Runaway (U & I) – Galantis

Back to Ü – Jack Ü (feat. Kiesza)

Flosstradamus – Moshpit (ft. Casino)

Yogi – Burial (ft. Pusha T)