Ghostland Observatory and Mimosa

| July 1, 2012 | 0 Comments

by Brett Harker

The car ride to Red Rocks on that hazy Friday afternoon was not unlike the many others. We trekked out of Boulder and coasted down highway 93, we passed the Rocky Flats and towering windmills. My girlfriend, Allison, manned the iPod with intent, selecting songs to accelerate our adrenaline and arouse our excitement for Ghostland Observatory and Mimosa. As her mobile DJ set wound through electronic songs, it continuously landed on vicious dubstep beats. I have always been a huge fan of house music, so the ever-growing genre of dubstep is still growing on me. Allison picked some convincing songs, explaining their face-melt-ability and raw energy. Throughout these songs, there is certainly no denying the originality of the sounds and value of production.

We arrived hours early, giving me a chance to observe the crowd. Despite the thousands of ravers, I couldn’t put a finger on the demographic. There were kids who got dropped off by their parents, and couples in their late forties scattered amongst the bro-tank-tops and maxi-dresses of the ragers in their twenties. Throughout the diversity, everything seemed to “smoke.” In addition to the High Park Fire and smoke machines on the stage, at least five of the ten people within arms reach were also billowing smoke. As I tried to wheeze a few oxygen molecules between hip thrusts and fist pumps, the day turned to night.

The opening act seemed to drag on, allowing time for everyone in the parking lot to get sufficiently buzzed before admitting themselves to a night of snarling electronic beats. The hip-hop group, Zion I, provided salvation from the clutter of the previous performer, Free the Robots, who got the night going for the Red Rocks crowd. Their rhymes and rhythm got the energy going like an opening act should, drawing from the vitality of the crowd. As the sunlight continued to fade down, the volume faded up. Zion I’s DJ, AmpLive, brought out a new toy I hadn’t seen before, which was an MPC sampler, built to look like a guitar. For just over a minute, Amp bounced his fingers across this new-age instrument, blasting dub heavy beats and hip-hop samples as the crowd went monkey nuts. Zion I ended with one of my favorites, a piano riff called “Coastin,’” and with that, passed the baton to Tigran Mimosa.

Mimosa has distinguished himself as one of the heavy hitters in today’s American dubstep scene. His entire operation depicts the spirit that Colorado’s electronic scene craves. From his entrance to his exit, Mimosa demands more than attention from his audience; he demands movement. He initiated his set with the theme from 20th Century Fox straight into a dubstep beat that sounded like it was produced from the sound of an amplified zipper. Almost immediately after this song, an enormous female “backside” inhabited the towering screens on stage. It was bouncing up and down behind Mimosa, setting the tone for the rest of his set and the dancing amphitheater crowd. Mimosa’s sound embodies a hip-hop heavy, syncopated, dubstep style, which utilizes innovative production qualities and fresh samples. He has built a huge following in relatively short time in the scene, and I would not be surprised to see him headlining Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the next two years.

Mimosa played past his allotted set time, restricting Ghostland Observatory to start their set at midnight. Ghostland brands themselves as something entirely different from the get-go. They don’t sell merchandise, and their stage presence is unlike anything I have ever seen. Front man, Aaron Behrens, flamboyantly prances through the field of lasers on stage, animating every pop and glitch that is projected from the wall of speakers above him. I can’t emphasize enough how impressive their laser set up was. They beamed like the futuristic weapons of Sci-fi movies, and I wouldn’t be surprised if those lasers lit a few cigarettes out in the crowd! Beyond the visuals, their music even had a laser-like quality to it. The other member of Ghostland, Thomas Ross Turner, provided rhythmic, progressive beats as Behrens sang, played the guitar, and pranced about the stage.

This diverse line-up made a strong connection to the dubstep Allison was playing in the car. And the huge influence that the genre has had on nearly every other genre in the electronica scene, is apparent when seeing shows like this. Through the hip hop of Zion I, to the “Electro-dance soul rock” of Ghostland Observatory, there is a revolution in dance music happening, and Colorado’s EDM scene is leading the charge!

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Category: Electric Buzz

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