Atmosphere headlined Red Rocks with Breakbeat Lou, The Grouch and Eligh (with DJ Fresh), Mr. Dibbs, Souls of Mischief and Danny Brown.Continue reading
On Friday, September 8, a sold-out Fiddler’s Green Amphiteatre hosted a night of performances showcasing iconic hip-hop artists and their legacies. Wu-Tang Clan and Run the Jewels, with support from Deltron 3030, brought a hip-hop supergroup extravaganza that captivated fans from start to finish. This was one of our most anticipated shows of the year since its announcement. It did not disappoint.
“The year is 3030,” announced a voice as the show began. Deltron 3030 — consisting of Del the Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator, and Kid Koala — took the stage. The trio performed tracks from their highly influential concept album, Deltron 3030, and its sequel, Event 2. The group’s golden hour time slot created the perfect atmosphere for their dystopian, futuristic sci-fi themes.
With a setting sun behind them, Del’s raps, Dan’s production, and Kid Koala’s turntable scratches entranced the crowd. The set came to conclusion with an electrifying rendition of Gorillaz mega-hit “Clint Eastwood,” which features two-thirds of the group.
Run The Jewels
After a short break, Run The Jewels (rapper Killer Mike and rapper-producer El-P) made their grand entrance. The stage lit up and revealed props of their famous finger gun and fist logo. Then, the duo (with Trackstar, the DJ, providing the beats) began their set with a kinetic performance of “Legend Has It.” This was the most fast-paced set of the night as the duo performed hard-hitting songs spanning their critically acclaimed discography.
At one point, Run The Jewels announced that 2023 marks their 10-year anniversary and thanked day one fans. In between the raps, there was plenty of banter among the group that kept the tone light and evoked laughter from the audience. The whole performance was a blast and effectively warmed the crowd up for the main act.
2023 is a landmark year for hip-hop as it marks the 50th anniversary of the genre. This summer especially has given us an opportunity to commemorate the history of hip-hop and its key players. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with one of the most monumental groups in rap, Wu-Tang Clan.
Wu-Tang Clan was formed in 1992 in Staten Island, New York. The collective consisted of RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and, until his death in 2004, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (later members and affiliates include Capadonna and Young Dirty Bastard). The group came to prominence with their debut group album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), and their subsequent solo albums. Since then, they have become a cultural juggernaut that has produced numerous albums, comic books, TV shows, and much more.
By the time Wu-Tang Clan’s band (along with DJ Mathematics) hit the stage, every seat in the amphiteatre was full. After a short introduction by the RZA, the band played “Bring Da Ruckus” and “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’” and the rest of the group joined the stage with their respective verses. Every active member was present except for Method Man, who was unable to make it due to a flight delay.
The setlist mainly consisted of tracks from their debut album, with the rappers taking turns delivering their verses. They also performed songs from their solo albums such as Raekwon’s “Ice Cream” and GZA’s “4th Chamber.” The group paid tribute to the late ODB with “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and “Got Your Money,” prominently featuring YDB. The live band added another dimension to RZA’s gritty beats. Every member had their moment to shine before their set ended with the ultimate posse cut, “Triumph.”
A Hip-Hop Supergroup Extravaganza
Wu-Tang Clan, Run the Jewels, and Deltron 3030 all put on a spectacle for fans of every hip-hop era. The generation-spanning careers of the groups led to exemplary performances that displayed the lasting legacy of the genre.
Photos by Joe Pekara
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For the third consecutive year, Canadian duo Zeds Dead (comprised of Dylan Mamid and Zachary Rapp-Rovan aka DC and Hooks, respectively) brought their Fourth of July Backyard Jamboree to downtown Denver. After playing Red Rocks the two previous nights, the duo hosted a roster of artists affiliated with their Deadbeats label for a day of music, activities, food and much more.
Chaos struck when a surprise rainstorm forced the show to abruptly come to a stop. After a short delay and some restructuring of the venue, the festivities continued and Zeds Dead was able to play a final set until the planned event end time.
A Day at the Park
Located in downtown Denver with a scenic view of the Colorado State Capitol and other government buildings, Civic Center Park was the perfect location to for this Fourth of July celebration. With a capacity of 12,000 people, the park allowed guests to comfortably enjoy three different stages along with activities, vendors, and food trucks. The family-friendly event featured bounce castles, lawn games, and face painting. Additionally, a variety of local vendors sold accessories. In between all the music, there were plenty of things to do as people strolled around the venue.
A Stage for Every Taste
With three different stages of music, the event really captured the festival feeling. Each had a distinct theme and provided fans the opportunity to see an array of artists.
In a shady area between the trees was the Altered States stage. Named after Zeds Dead’s downtempo-focused label, this stage had a more relaxed vibe with artists playing sets oriented more towards the experimental facets of electronic music. Artists featured on this stage included Saul Gucci, Pacifix, Soki, Noises, and Mary Droppinz.
One of the coolest structures at Civic Center Park, the Greek Amphitheatre, was home to the Drum and Bass Stage. With exhilarating sets from Fury, Joel Cruz, Bensley, Blossom, Kumarion B2B Smoakland and Delta Heavy, this stage had the most consistently hyped crowds throughout the day.
Finally, the Deadbeats stage was located on the main portion of the site and featured the largest production. This stage featured an assortment of bass, dubstep, and trap artists, and the infamous jamboree hot dog eating contest. The music on this stage started with TWONSKi and was followed by sets from JAWNS, SuperAve. B2B Heyz, Black Carl! B2B Saka (aka Rush Hour), Blanke, and of course, Zeds Dead.
Zeds Dead Get Delayed
Around the time of the hot dog eating contest, screens flashed updated set times. Instead of playing the closing set, it was announced that Zeds Dead would be performing earlier in the evening. There were murmurs in the crowd that this was due to the looming threat of severe weather. They were correct.
Although earlier than planned, the Zeds Dead set started off as well as any of their diverse, multi-genre bass sets. For about an hour, the duo played their dubstep bangers mixed with classic rock songs, drum and bass, and every genre in between. Suddenly the music stopped and they announced that, due to severe weather, they had to stop the music. Almost immediately after, the torrential downpour began and chaos ensued as people began leave and run for shelter.
The Show Must Go On
In typical Colorado fashion, the storm hit downtown heavily and then cleared up almost as fast as it arrived. About an hour after the delay, the Zeds Dead team announced that they were preparing to resume the show. For this last segment of the event, only the Deadbeats Stage was up and running. As people started to fill up the lawn again, Mary Droppinz warmed the crowd up with a super upbeat set. With this fresh new start, the crowd was more energetic than ever.
Zeds Dead then triumphantly took the stage again. The set only ran 30 minutes due to curfew, but not a second was wasted by the duo. They started off in explosive fashion, playing collaborations with Subtronics, GRiZ, and Hamdi, then some of their own classic songs. With the cloudy night sky and full stage production, the ambiance was much different than it had been during their daytime set — it was now a full-blown dance party. The set then transitioned into a more house and dance-oriented style with remixes of artists like Sade. Not a single body in the crowd was still. After a long and turbulent day, the duo fittingly ended their set with a remix of Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”
When attending an outdoor music event, there is always a risk that weather might cause some issues. When attending an outdoor music event in Colorado, especially these past few months, its almost a guarantee. Luckily the weather wasn’t enough to stop the 3rd Annual Deadbeats Jamboree. With the exception of the weather delay, the event was an exciting experience full of music and fun. We can’t wait until next year’s Fourth of July Weekend to see what the duo have in store for us.
Photos by Drew Bower
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