A night full of experimental, live, epic acts, Hard Rocks was simply an unforgettable night of music. From Porter’s live set to the hard rock, live performance of The Glitch Mob, the show was a testament to the complexity and variety that has come to define the EDM scene. Almost entirely experimental acts, each with their own sound, the show ranged from Trap, House, Dubstep, Synth, Glitch, to Rock, making for an incredibly unique lineup.
Keep on reading for my review of the most magical, memorable moments of this years Hard Rocks.
Let’s be honest, there is a reason Porter Robison has such a large cult following: Few artists are able to match the production, live ability, & quality of Porter Robinson. After a hiatus to revamp his sound and performance, his live show is a force to be reckoned with; its more than just a concert, its a journey through Synth, Static, Glitch, Techno, K-Pop, and House. Looking around you can see how much that journey has come to mean to people: teary eyed faces were screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs, flower children dancing their heart and soul out, pausing only to share their joy. There are few shows you can go to and find such a loving, dedicated community (the only acts that come to mind are Bassnectar and Above & Beyond) and if you get the chance, you absolutely should experience it. No matter your music taste, you absolutely have to see Porter’s Live set the next chance you get; I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Putting into words the deep, reverent significance Porter Robinson’s music holds in my heart is beyond me; to begin to understand it, you have to experience him live. When you look around at a Porter show, you can spot that significance in the vibes of the crowd. Passionate, loving souls gently swaying to the lyrics we’ve all come to hold so dear. When the first beats of Lionhearted played, screams joyously erupted and the entire crowd began singing along with Porter to his empowering smash hit. Breaking down the best moment of this show was Hard (heh heh) but in the end, it goes to Porter; From all of us dedicated, loving fans, thank you so much for the effort you put into making your shows the spectacle they are. We love you.
The Glitch Mob is, if nothing else, dedicated to live performance. Their armada of live equipment rivals the king of the sound himself; their custom made DJ decks and sound boards, dynamic and immersive visual art, and entirely live shows should be held up as examples of just how electronic shows should be done. To add to their already fantastic performance pieces, they designed and built massive drums, reminiscent of airplane motors.
“The idea of the blade was to bring the drama of a live rock show to an electronic show, the craziness and the kinetic energy of hitting drums as hard as you can…really getting into the life performance is what we live for.”
With dedication like that, the work speaks for itself; the drums not only look fucking bad ass but brought exactly the Rock ‘n Roll vibe they were seeking.
Sticking to the albums order, The Glitch Mobs extended live mix of these two tracks was the highlight of their killer set. As they banged the drums with all their power, the crowd was thrown into an electric frenzy: head banging, sweat flinging, and screams of joy as far as the eye could see, the rhythm of the drums dictating the collective heartbeat of the crowd. These two songs are already two of the best produced, original tracks in the Electronic Scene, but seeing them live elevated them to a whole new level.
Too often, DJs interrupt their performances to chant some nonsense to “hype” the crowd: “Get ready to jump,” or “I wanna see all your hands in the air,” (Looking at you Skrillex). But every once in a while, an interruption can add to the show, bringing an element of community otherwise absent. With the moon in full form, peaking out from a thin, wispy layer of clouds, the Glitch Mob had all in attendance howling at the moon like music crazed werewolves. The Glitch Mob, straight killin’ it.
The Deep House track that has become an overnight sensation and a surefire start to an epic dance party, Deep Down Low was the highlight to an overall mediocre set by Dog Blood. After an almost year-long hiatus from the festival scene, Skrillex & Boyz Noise’s duo threw a set that seemed to please die hard fans, but left me feeling disappointed. For the offspring of a techno champion and a dubstep populizer, the incredibly quick and lazy beats they played were straight disappointments from such incredible acts….but you can’t go wrong with Deep Down Low. Watching different rave crews compete to see who can get the lowest always makes for a kick ass time, even if it has to carry the rest of the show.
Seeing Gary Richardson, the founder of Hard Presents and long time concert promoter, throw down an experimental set that ranged from Bass to House was simply epic. He could of stayed off the mic and let his music speak for its self, but that seems like a minor complaint considering the set he played. Now if only we could get Pasqule Rotella, the founder of Insomniac, to do DJ sets again; it’s wonderful to see the man who put it all together throw down some sick beats with the best of ‘em. Keeping doing epic shit Garry, we all appreciate it.
An integral part of any show is the community built around the music, and few places does that shine through more than in the Lots before a Red Rocks rave. Sure, you have a few drunken dicks, but mostly you find passionate souls who’ve been waiting months to see their favorite DJ live. I met people from as far away as Maine last Thursday, each with their own unique dedication to the music scene. The next time you make the trek to RR, plan in time before the show to go make some new friends, it’s always a blast.
It was simply epic.
Article and photos by: Michael Newman