Global Dub Festival came to Red Rocks 4 years ago and decided that bass was to be had by all. 4 years later and that mantra still holds true as bass legends Excision and Zomboy have been invited back multiple times. Each year only getting better. This year, however, was a bit different.
Not only was I enjoying the bass from in the pit with my photo pass, but instead of hanging out in the middle of the general admission seating, I choose to walk around the perimeter of the crowd, camera in hand, and listen and take pictures. I certainly met some awesome people and had my fair share of head banging, but I did notice that 2015 felt different.
If you’ve kept up on the news coming out of Red Rocks in 2015, you’ll have heard about the noise restrictions that the City of Denver placed on Red Rocks at the beginning of the year. These restrictions placed limits on the amount of bass that could be used, as well as noise levels and time restrictions. There was a petition circulating the internet from change.org to repeal the restrictions from the City of Denver, and give us our bass capital back. The petition sought to point out that the restrictions unfairly targeted electronic concerts and that breaking the new rules could result in permanent bans from Red Rocks.
Having climbed the long winding road to the amphitheater with this in mind, I wasn’t exactly ready for Ookay or Yellow Claw to be performing at Global Dub Festival. I’m also not much of a trap fan and I love my bass music very dearly, but, I went in with an open mind and heard a few tracks from Ookay that I recognized as I began my first ascent of the rocks. I can safely say I didn’t hate his set, though I was not raging or twerking (I’m not sure what the word is for trap music) since I was busy being a photographer.
Heading back down the stairs to the pit for Yellow Claw’s set I was excited to finally see the stage up close for the first time at a show. As we went into the pit and Yellow Claw came out, I was excited and almost forgot I was there to take pictures, not gawk and listen to music, I needed to do all three. I enjoyed seeing trap performed live as the rap portion of the music was much more entertaining than when I hear songs just off the internet. Yellow Claw definitely puts on a show and the crowd was engaged despite the fact they were there for dubstep.
The highlight of their set was when they brought one of the security guards on stage and had him twerk for the crowd. Everyone loved his performance but unfortunately I couldn’t snap a picture in time. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Yellow Claw’s set given that I’m not much of a fan of that music. I may not be opposed to seeing more trap in the future, but I was stoked for Zomboy.
The moment Zomboy began his set, I could tell something was off. I had forgotten ear plugs and I thought I might be in trouble given I would be so close to the massive amount of bass from both Excision and Zomboy. My hearing was fine and I hardly noticed the bass. Throughout the rest of my time in the pit and when I walked up and down the stairs to get more pictures, the bass and resulting whomp seemed distant and muted. Zomboy was incredibly in to his own set and he had the crowd entertained by his shear energy, but standing above the crowd the set didn’t seem all that great. Walking back down the other side of the amphitheater, the sound improved and the crowd seemed more energetic the closer I got to the stage. I loved that Zomboy played Red Rocks again as he is one of my favorites to ever play. The noise issue was nothing he could have fixed (I’d rather a quieter set than hear that Zomboy cannot come back) and so overall it was fun, when an artist is enjoying themselves on stage, it is easy to enjoy yourself in the crowd.
Robo Kitty. This was all I could prepare myself for as the crew broke down the smaller stage and set up to unveil Excision and his incredible production. The curtain dropped and the visuals began and I was preparing to take a few hundred pictures in the first 10 minutes of his set. Excision was the first electronic show I saw and he has always held a special place in my heart. His stage set up was incredible as seen by the pictures in the gallery below, not many artists have matched it, especially at Red Rocks. Again, the noise restrictions seemed to cut off what should have been an awesome Red Rocks set in order to make sure Excision was able to come back to Red Rocks again. There were still some points that the volume was cranked and the bass hit hard, shaking the rocks as we have all come to love. Even from high above the crowd, I could feel the rocks shaking and the reverberations throughout my body, Excision was there to throw down and the crowd was eating it up.
Despite the noise restrictions and how much they seemed to be targeted at this festival specifically, I enjoyed the variety of music that was played. Though trap is still not my favorite genre, seeing it live I can definitely understand the appeal and may stop by a few trap sets in the future. Zomboy and Excision did the best with the restrictions in place and both seemed to thoroughly enjoy playing Red Rocks and Global Dub Festival once again. Having been to Global Dub four years in a row now, I can see that the production and performances will only improve as time goes on (and those restrictions are lifted!). Thank you Global Dub for allowing me to photograph in the most beautiful venue on the planet, I cannot wait to come back next year for Global Dub!