Producer Kayzo performs on an elevated stage

It had been over half a year since Kayzo performed his last Unleashed XL date in San Jose, California. On March 23rd, Denver got to experience the 2024 debut of the tour.

In addition to showcasing various bass genres, Kayzo adds a hybrid element to his XL shows. Live drum and guitar help him achieve the blend of sounds that defines his music and collaborations. Inviting up-and-coming acts and forging creativity via B2B sets aids his vision of opening doors in the industry, similar to the breakthrough artists who came before him.

The night’s lineup and song selection reflected advice Kayzo received as he was starting in the field. During a chance encounter with Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafia at a Guitar Center, the master producer told him, “Break the rules. There are no rules.”

Angello’s cryptic wisdom made sense years later. Those concepts lie at the heart of Kayzo’s Unleashed album and tour.

In a recent interview, Kayzo equated having constant development goals to treating his life and career like a phone app. You constantly update to find the next version of yourself; we’re never perfect or done growing. One of his top goals is to evolve his Unleashed XL tour into a festival of his own. Beyond his own career, he strives to leave a legacy of opportunity for future fresh acts.

Producer Kayzo performs on an elevated stage

Constantly Collecting Data & Evolving

For anyone less familiar with the heavy bass “rocktronic” music and one of its pioneers, Kayzo, I’ll introduce you. After spending much of his youth dedicated to playing hockey at a competitive level, Hayden Capuozzo — who goes by the stage name Kayzo — changed paths. Capuzzo was exposed to various sounds while living and touring across North America for hockey. Growing up in Texas, he’d listened to heavier stuff such as pop-punk, emo, and metal. His Houston peers added southern trap hip-hop influences like Chamillionaire and Paul Wall. Fellow skaters from Europe exposed him to electronica. Exploration led him to early forms of dubstep, which he’d use to get pumped up for competition.

As his sports era was ending, Capuzzo discovered his passion for producing. The creative switch flipped while attending his first festival, Lollapalooza in Chicago. When Perry’s Stage was still just a tent, he witnessed performers like Skrillex deliver the kind of high-energy experiences he had in the rink. Drawn to the rail, he had the time of his life. Capuzzo immediately knew that he wanted to recreate that sentiment and started to learn production and landed at Icon Collective in Los Angeles.

After experimenting with numerous styles of electronic music, Capuzzo realized something was missing. Incorporating rock influences from his youth was a key ingredient to his success. He launched Welcome Records to release his recordings under the moniker Kayzo because his sounds did not always fit into the clearly defined categories of other record companies. As the imprint’s name implies, he embraces all sorts of musicians and releases tracks from established and breaking artists alike.

Diggin’ Up Beats With Slang Dogs

When selecting the opening acts for his Unleashed XL 2024 premiere, Kayzo customized a lineup for the location. Shouting out Denver as the Bass Capitol of the World during his performance, he brought a fitting array of electronic artists.

Producer Kayzo performs on an elevated stage

Kicking off the night were Slang Dogs, who delivered a high-energy blend of styles. Dario Pedracci and David Rangel make up the group. The pair perched atop the elevated stage platform from which each artist would perform. Screens played signature black, white, and red optics of trippy, tormented images, which created a visual hellscape behind the DJ decks.

The duo began with funky dubstep accented by hip-hop and world music flavors. A growing crowd got pumped up by remixes from superstars Paramore and hardcore band Knocked Loose. One personal favorite was a fast-paced redux of Linkin Park’s “Lying From You.” Slang Dogs closed their hour with a soaring new mix of Paramore’s “Decode.” Voyaging from ambient into upbeat and funky, and splashed with heavy components throughout, they brought the crowd on an audio journey.

Cranking Up Killer Collaborations

Two B2B pairings were on deck next. First up, matching SORA and SweetTooth together onstage was a brilliant move. Their sounds are drastically different but work together magically.

Bringing a sexually charged hip-hop and dub-laced vibe, SweetTooth kicked off their time together. Joining in with crushing dubstep drops, SORA complemented the flow. The pair were pure energy throughout their high-flying, interactive set. Like, seriously flying: Each artist jumped from the top of the DJ table at one point. As the beat of another song hit, SORA plummeted comically to the platform floor. The duo bounced around the space, providing the most energetic hour of the evening.

Yellow stage lights shine on a crowd

As stage lights flashed in chaotic strobe patterns, one highlight was a punishing remix of a SVDDEN DEATH track. The pinnacle of the performance was a member of Hostage Situation tagging in for a song with SweetTooth. Their banger “Bad $#!T” played, and the crowd went insane. SweetTooth descended the platform to leap around on the main stage. The nearly filled floor area jumped along with him, as a somewhat cordial mosh pit flowed in the midst.

Big Time B2B Bass Blasts

The second B2B act belonged to Versa and VKTM, and it was a bass-head’s dream come true. Crunching dubstep pulsed and pounded the crowd. Rhythmic chops and drops complemented overhead lighting that strobed the audience.

Matching his Venom-esque mask, VKTM had creepy, twisted visuals backing his tracks. Mechanical noises produced by Versa partnered with depictions of industrial machinery onscreen. Equipment like forklifts and Tonka toy-type dump trucks were surrounded by swirling, colorful imagery. He also utilized audio clips of safety instructions to provide a hint of hazard to his mixes.

The back-and-forth barrages of bass between the artists reminded me of heavyweight boxers in the ring trading epic punches. Later, the twosome collaborated on heavy, trippier tracks. With the front row headbanging hard and a massive pit opened up, the crowd raged.

Poppin’ Off in da Club

The final opener of the night was Gentlemens’ Club, and they delivered a rager! Bringing UK house tempos and a festival atmosphere, happy vibes defined their act. The genre-bending trio consists of members Coffi, Soloman, and 50 Carrot. They blurred the lines between numerous EDM styles, kissed by dubstep elements. Gentlemens’ Club brought a house party feel to the Ballroom, and everyone cut loose.

Stage lights shine down on performers

The eclectic crowd of ravers, headbangers, pop-punk emos, and metalheads all came together to shake it out on the dance floor. Audience members threw their hands in the air like they just didn’t care! There was no mosh pit. Lights flashed, and mind-bending depictions played onscreen, alternating with the group’s Bitcoin-esque logo. Waving fans and flow props flailed through the thickening haze. Excitement was mounting as Kayzo’s headlining set drew near.

Crushing it With Classics

Kayzo encored the Unleashed XL tour he debuted in 2023, with Denver the only 2024 date announced. To deliver the heavy-hitting gig, he had onstage help. His band consists of drummer Ty and guitarist Ben, and they brought the energy of a live concert to the production. Wailing licks and pounding beats accented the fierce selections Capuzzo dialed up for Denver. Positioned atop podiums on either side of the elevated production platform, they jammed throughout the act. Each of the three connected pulpits also served as a secondary LED wall, providing an optical extravaganza. A dazzling array of lasers and spotlights beamed from the staging setup, illuminating the audience.

A relentless barrage of bass pummelled the crowd as Capuzzo toured through hard rock, metal, hip-hop, and dubstep influences. He paid homage with a rework of the Papa Roach song “Last Resort,” which helped launch his career. What started as a vocals-only singalong of the chorus quickly melted into a frantic electronic breakdown.

One high point was a triumphant introduction to Europe’s classic cut “The Final Countdown,” which faded into techno. Another quintessential moment was his remix of Linkin Park’s song “Numb.” The flock of fans belted out the lyrics along with the recording. Beyond the headbanging and mosh pit, what heavy show is complete without a wall of death?! As the tones shifted from the electric to the rocking side, Capuzzo directed fans to open it up.

Artist perform onstage in front of bright lighting

Introducing Kayzo, Version 2.0

Capuzzo expressed love for Denver and its dedicated fanbase several times. At only his second concert of the year, he mentioned spending the past couple of months toiling in the studio. He expressed the anticipation building to bring Unleashed and new music back on the road. One of several fresh tracks dropped throughout the night featured an ID from a new Kayzo project with MUST DIE! and Space Laces. That alliance is known as Hivemind. The futuristic flow drove the crowd crazy! Breaking out at BULLSEYE! in California in December of 2023, the trio has teased appearances this year.

From the first act to the end of Kayzo’s set, attendees absorbed various musical styles. His diversity unites fans from a bevy of classifications of bass. His live electronic dance metal at-mosh-sphere continues to blur the lines between what defines the hard rock and dubstep.

Collaborating with budding metal acts like Bad Omens is one way he accomplishes this. Their hit “Suffocate” is a consistent crowd favorite. By releasing music from promising new artists via Welcome Records, he provides an outlet for unique and experimental musicians. He takes talented acts with less name recognition on tour to expos them to his fan base.

Kayzo possesses a can’t-stop work ethic and willingness to break the industry’s unwritten rules. With that mindset, he accomplishes opening doors for other musical visionaries and continues to advance his orbit.

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