Singer and guitarist on brightly lit stage

Saturday night was one for the books as Dirtwire brought their favorite musicians together for an epic night of music. The show featured four unique, eclectic sets as well as numerous onstage collaborations and guest performers.

The night began with a mind-blowing opening beatboxing set by Honeycomb and his magical mouth. Second to the stage, Gone Gone Beyond slowed things down with their brand of gorgeous, spiritual indie-folk.

Moontricks delivered a non-stop hour of power next, barely breaking from the music. Closing the night, Dirtwire and friends brought a dynamic mix of instrumentation and EDM, playing past midnight to a packed house. Their set included appearances from each performer from the night uniting with the headliner for a number.

A musician onstage holding a microphone

Sweet Beats With Honeycomb

The night kicked off with flair from Las Vegas-based musician Honeycomb (real name Gable Johnson). He crafted music from scratch using production equipment and a keyboard. After Johnson laid down a few dope electronic beats, it was time to display his skills on the mic.

To say he beatboxes feels insufficient. The wealth of house and dubstep sounds the man makes with his mouth is insane! The wubby lows and funky, rapid-fire beats he was spitting left the audience in awe.

A highlight of his set was a Gothic rendition of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man. Midway through a chorus, he changed the lyrics to “I am Beat Box Man,” and the crowd sang along in agreement. Johnson also joined Dirtwire on stage for a song before their finale, showing off his oral skills.

Get Intimate With Gone Gone Beyond

Second up were California-based future folk group Gone Gone Beyond. The band were excited to have singer and guitarist Kat Factor back on stage. This was Factor’s first show after a year off surrounding the birth of her daughter. Her haunting vocals permeated the set, starting with a rousing rendition of “Canyons”.

Before performing the song “Shine,” the group dedicated it to all the strong women in the world. They mentioned that Factor’s mom, sister, and daughter were in the house that night, representing three generations of amazing women.

Black & White image of a band playing onstage

Matching the serene sounds of the band were natural vistas, starting with canyons and moving through various scenic landscapes. As the musical moods changed from almost acoustic and began to incorporate electronica vibes, the screen displayed enchanting starscapes.

Beyond the humble visuals, Gone Gone Beyond was all about their music. They debuted a new song, “Coyote,” from an as-yet-untitled forthcoming album. The track features a simple melody and rich harmonies from Factor and singer Danny Musengo. The entire audience harmonized later as they wished Musengo a happy birthday!

Beyond the Basic EDM Experience

At one point, Gone Gone Beyond guitarist and singer Mel Semé repeatedly proclaimed, “It’s good to be alive” as they launched into “Take Your Wings.” The lyrics “Spread your wings and take off to the sky” repeated hopefully throughout its chorus. Semé and Factor exchanged vocals as tribal, tropical beats played out.

Band member David Block, better known professionally as The Human Experience, supplied the rhythms for the song. Gone Gone Beyond closed their set with the soul-stirring track “Coast.” The crowd grooved along to the airy melody.

View of a concert crowd from near the stage

One unique element of having a more chill, downtempo act opening for Dirtwire is that they bring fans you might not expect to see at other EDM shows. I saw cowboy hats mixed in with puffy, purple hair; flannel shirts next to furry head coverings; and western wear mingling with sparkling, shimmery outfits. The thing every attendee had in common was that they all came to get down!

Moontricks Megamix in the House

Making the most of their time on stage were Canadian electro-folk duo Moontricks. Nathan Gurley and Sean Rodman have been making music together for over a decade.

After kicking off the set with their bluesy track “Dark Matter,” Gurley and Rodman launched into a throwback medley. The mix featured songs of the ’60s and ’70s, including the anti-war anthem “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield.

Gurley began showing off his hypnotizing harmonica skills during their rendition alongside Rodman’s chops on the guitar. Without pausing, the pair launched into a funky rendition of The Beatles’ “Come Together.” The song had a “grass-hop” bridge, blending bluegrass sensibility with bombastic hip-hop beats.

Moontricks string player Sean Rodman onstage

With the ballroom showing the telltale signs of a sold-out show, the crowd was starting to heat up, too. Moontricks fueled the fire with their popular tracks “Find My Way” and “Wood for the Trees.” The duo rocked an edgy version of their song “No More,” a collaboration they released with Dirtwire.

Their set seamlessly fused electronic tempos and live banjo, guitar, and harmonica. Rodman also provided live vocals for their music. Joining Moontricks onstage to harmonize on the captivating track “Animals” were Musengo and Semé from Gone Gone Beyond. They stuck around for a heartfelt delivery of “Home,” for which the audience gleefully joined in the chorus.

Closing out their set with another classic cut, Moontricks covered “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers but added a fun twist. Gurley busted out a flowing rap section in the song which contrasted with, yet somehow fit perfectly into, the downtempo rhythm. Adding to an incredible selection of nearly nonstop music, a marriage of natural panoramas and psychedelic patterns onscreen kept the crowd visually engaged.

Embarking on a Spiritual Journey

Dirtwire opened their act with clear intentions to pay homage to the cultures which influence many of their sounds. The performance began with onscreen videos playing while the band remained offstage.

Rhythmic sounds of bells, percussion, and chants filled the venue. After several minutes, the band took the stage. Positioned on either side of the stage, the first two members started with dual tribal drumming. An energetic beat continued as the group unleashed their ‘swamptronica’ sound on the Mission.

Evan Fraser produced twangy sounds from the mouth harp, and Mark Reveley rocked the strings. Then things got wild! Bright lights and a barrage of pulsing, rainbow-casting lasers lit up the arena as house and dubstep beats blasted. This performance was the most EDM-influenced set I’ve seen the world music masters deliver.

Black & White photo of a singer and guitarist onstage

A Star-Studded Saturday Night

When planning their epic show, Fraser and Reveley made sure to invite a lot of friends! During their set, they reminisced on scheming to make a show like this happen one fateful night behind the Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins. We’re sure happy they did!

Serving as the de facto third member for the night, Zaybulon handled frequent percussion duties. Bringing brass blasts to the stage were a pair of talented guests. Chris Hoog slayed on saxophone and Ricky Lucchese tore it up on trombone.

The crowd enjoyed virtuoso violin playing courtesy of Briana Di Mara throughout the set. Her stirring strings added a life to the songs often provided by a founding Dirtwire member — who made a cameo for the final jam.

A saxophone player onstage as bright lights shine overhead
Panoramic view of a brightly lit ballroom
A saxophone player onstage as bright lights shine overhead

The Dirtwire Dance Party

One of the most asked questions on social media forums in the days after the show was not about a musician! Indigenous dancer Migizii Kwe stole the show while she was onstage.

Her energetic, entrancing moves whipped some crowd members into a dance frenzy. Others were left staring as she spun her way into our hearts. While she danced, ritualistic chanting and psychedelic visuals of neon desert panoramas played on screen. On stage, geometric patterns swirled in a hypnotic haze.

During another track, images of native ceremonies played while she twirled. The combination of ethnic music and visuals provided a moving homage to her cultural heritage.

After some family photos with the whole crew, it was time for Honeycomb to drop some sticky, sweet beats. He laid down a beatbox intro and remained onstage during the final jam.

The closing number was extraordinary! There was a sax solo, a mouth-harp-meets-violin showdown (or maybe hoedown is more accurate), and terrific trombone tunes. In addition to the array of already mentioned contributors, a special guest joined the fray.

David Satori, founder of Dirtwire (and Beats Antique), got in on the action. He delighted longtime Dirtwire fans by rocking the drums, mouth harp, and shakers. Overall, this was one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve seen, a sentiment shared in the comments by numerous fans on social media posts since Saturday.

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