I had no idea what to expect. None. I don’t generally find myself listening to trap music and that’s basically what this lineup consisted of. I was however, excited for Major Lazer and What So Not. As a huge fan of Major Lazer and their newest album, Peace Is The Mission, I was excited to see what Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire brought to the stage. More on that act later. Let’s start at the beginning with Stööki Sound…
Red Rocks was hot as hell. So hot in fact that Stööki Sound experienced technical difficulties that sadly cut their set short. What they did play however was amazing enough to get the growing crowd at Red Rocks pumped up and excited for the rest of the night. As far as opening acts go, I couldn’t have thought of anyone better to open for Mad Decent Block Party. Stööki Sound brought the heat and turned the crowd up despite the sweat dripping from everyone’s brow. The next act took the heat of his set and the heat glaring off the rocks personal, and decided clothes weren’t necessary…
Quickly a theme of the night.
Party favor brought a fire festival trap set to Red Rocks and he played one of my favorite remixes of all time, Dillon Francis’ “I Can’t Take It”. The awesome trap remix included a favorite line from Dillon’s snapchat “Better gimme that beer Darlene!” Who Darlene is and why she hasn’t brought handlebar mustached Dillon a beer, we may never know. But what we do know is that Party Favor dropped his shirt midset to the delight of many in the crowd and he seemed to play even better after that. Truly showing his skills as a dj and producer, Party Favor gave us plenty of proof and more reasons that he should come back to Denver ASAP.
Grandtheft was up next and with some of the best remixes and original tracks in the game. The sound of Red Rocks showed its true colors as the sound reverberated across the steps and through the people filing in from top to bottom. As the bass hit with tracks such as ‘Keep it 100’ the crowd only went wilder. Singing loud and dancing with their hearts on their sleeves, Grandtheft had a sold out crowd at one of the most spectacular venues in the world in the palms of his hands. He only got better. Choosing to play more of his tracks showed us that not only had he matured as a producer, but his skills with original tracks are worth showing off and he was definitely correct. It was great to hear Grnadtheft in all his glory.
Mad Decent Block Party had been exactly that thus far, a party. With What So Not taking the stage as only half the former duo, Emoh set out to show Red Rocks that the What So Not brand lives on and will flourish while Flume does his own thing. With more relaxed songs like ‘Higher You are’, the crowd was able to cool off as the sun finally began to set and cool off attendees. The laid back set had everyone smiling and vining to the music as What So Not played many original tracks, showing off production skills that needed to be flexed. The crowd wasn’t phased at all by the change of pace in tracks as the slower trap and house music made for wonderful moments to dance and enjoy the show without worrying about a trap elbow to the back of the head. (I didn’t see anyone get hit).
Two of the Amsterdam trio Yellow Claw took the stage and set the metaphorical roof on fire (Red Rocks…Outdoors….). With loud and in your face trap songs like ‘Prison Riot’, Bizzey kept the crowd hyped as the MC while Nizzle showed off his skills on the decks without a laptop in sight. Though some of the things they did with pumping up the crowd felt scripted, I still actually enjoyed the hype and the trap anthems that were thrown down. Each track bigger than the last, Yellow Claw was making a sold out crowd go absolutely banana’s and it was fun as hell. I even got my trap elbows in there. Front man Bizzey had enough of the heat and spent most of the set shirtless, showing off an array of tattoos and continuing the shirtless tradition!
Up next was Keys N Krates and a live performance that had everyone at Red Rocks in awe. Live drums, keys, and mixing, the trio played a slower set much like What So Not as the sun set over the back of the venue and cast the entire stage in a beautiful shadow. Providing the crowd with many original fan favorites, Keys N Krates upped the ante by playing some unreleased music near the end of the set to a stunned crowd. The first time I had seen Keys N Krates I wasn’t too impressed and didn’t stay long. This time however, I saw and heard the appeal, I think they deserve some more love from me at Dancefestopia next week. Thanks Mad Decent!
Here is where I was confused. 2Chainz.
I know the name, but the fact that he was a legit rapper didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. It was clear from the beginning of his set that everyone else was familiar with him and his songs, I was the exception. I’ve never seen a rap “set” but from what I could tell, his raps were accompanied by a DJ and I recognized a few of the songs. Though not enough to dance or rap along. Instead I spent the majority of his set people watching and he was killing it. The crowd loved him and his short monologues in between songs as well as the songs themselves. Maybe it just didn’t appeal to me, but looking around, everyone at Mad Decent was excited as hell for his performance. Kudos for coming to an electronic party and getting the crowd hyped beyond all reason.
Major Lazer. Who I was waiting for all night. One of Diplo’s many side projects, but there was no sacrifice in production. The stage was stacked with dancers and LED screens for days. The decks even had extra room in front for girls to dance on the decks as tracks were being mixed live right behind them. What I found out is that Major Lazer is as much as show as it is music to dance and sing too. Not that it was a bad thing, but the pyro, cryo, confetti, and shots of a shirtless Diplo made the crowd even wilder. The folks of Morrison must not have known what they were in for by the sound system hit hard with every drop and Diplo was not shy about testing its limits. The album ‘Peace Is The Mission’ was on display as many tracks from it were played, including a few surprise guests: 2Chainz and Wild Belle, both performing tracks with Diplo, Jillionaire, and Walshy Fire. My favorite moment had to be when they had the crowd hopping and running left and right along the steps of Red Rocks. I’m sure it was a sight to see from the stage. Hopefully Major Lazer makes their way back to Denver soon as I, and the rest of Colorado, will be eager to check them out.
Overall Mad Decent Block Party exceeded my expectations for a show that featured almost exclusively trap music. Though it still is not my go to genre, I have a newfound appreciation of trap music and the energy it can bring to a crowd. The sold out crowd was on its feet all night, dancing and singing away just like every other concert I’ve been to there. I will definitely have to make it a priority to see each of the acts whenever I can as Mad Decent had me partying all night. Thank you for that. I really appreciate it.
Special note: thanks to Drew Carey and Electronic Colorado for the pictures! I was not able to get any really good shots of my own and Drew is a much better photographer than I!