Mission Ballroom filled up early in jubilation of one of the most melodic shows to hit Denver at the end of the summer season on September 14th. Jai Wolf, the headliner, surprised the Denver crowd by performing a back-to-back set with Myrne as doors opened.
The night kicked off properly with a high-energy, housey set as the fans flooded the dance floor in an escape from the wet weather. The pair got the crowd rocking early as they dropped a club edit of Taylor Swift’s “Style.” The most diehard and longtime Jai Wolf fans made the dance floor theirs as the Foreign Family and Jai Wolf merch-covered dancers took center stage under Mission’s iconic disco ball.
It was Myrne’s second-ever Denver appearance. He set the tone for a night filled with singalong vocals that would echo throughout the venue. Remixes of Lane 8, RÜFÜS DU SOL, and Hozier fascinated the crowd with melodies. A jaw-dropping mashup of “Innerbloom” and the lyrics of Fred again..’s “Billie” stole the set with incredible creativity spread out across an abundance of original tracks.
Following a stage rearrangement, Evan Giia took center stage with a dramatic introduction of pulsating visuals. Her MEMBA collab “Back Online” began ringing through the speakers as she began her vocal performance. As she’s married to one half of the duo, their collaborations were dispersed throughout her set including the heavier, trap-influenced “Walls Down.”
The energy remained high as she kept the focus on her crowd work and dancing. Partway through the evening she performed her new single “SWIM,” which recently was released on a Foreign Family Collective compilation, effectively changing the pace as the grief-stricken track harmonized out to the crowd. After that, she thanked the Denver crowd for “allowing her to be vulnerable and share” the new track with them. Ending on a high note of teases from her upcoming album, the set ended with her hit songs “West World” and “Don’t Let Me Go” with ILLENIUM and Dillon Francis.
27-year-old Carl Garsbo, better known by his stage name Kasbo, came on in direct support for this leg of the Blue Babu Tour. His set exhibited an immaculate display of audiovisual synchronization with gorgeous visuals to pair perfectly with the uptempo, melodic tracks. A scene of orcas flying through space and quivering, geometric plantlife moved with the lighthearted vocals through the set. He rinsed older tunes such as “I Get You” with Lizzy Land and “Found You” with Chelsea Cutler, setting the vibes high among the crowd.
The fans along the rails spilled emotion as they sang along with each other to the sentimental music. Following the performance of some amazing new tracks from his upcoming album, Kasbo hit the crowd with his remix of “The Little Things” by Big Gigantic, much to their excitement. While he debuted several new tracks onto the crowd all night, he never lost the vibe, curating a perfectly balanced set with some of his most recognizable tracks. As he trends upwards in his music career, I don’t suspect it will be long before we return to this venue for his own headlining event.
Coming full circle, Jai Wolf (real name Sajeeb Saha) came back to the stage to cap off the night. He opened his set with what could only be described as a pharmaceutical commercial style vocal and “ad read.” It mentioned “Exiting the loop” following a list of side effects such as sedation, addiction and disassociation. A growing, melodic chorus rose from the speakers as the vocals of “If I Don’t Look Down” accompanied the rising intro. Immediately afterward came a high-energy intro edit of the track, and a taste of the light show designed to surround the small, circular stage. The simple layout and openness of the stage design felt incredibly intimate and added a sense of vulnerability to Jai Wolf’s presence in front of us. No large LED walls covered the stage as the focal point of the intricately designed lighting layout.
Shortly following the intro, Jai Wolf dove into a heavy mashup of “Telepathy” and “Drive” accompanied by a laser-shooting robot visual, revealing the full scale of the extra production the crew brought with them to Denver. Following a tour bus breakdown on the way to the venue, the crew still delivered with extra production including a larger-than-usual LED wall compared to other tour stops. The crowd was immediately blessed with “Moon Rider” and its incredible visual depiction of a starship’s space excursion.
The massive, nearly full crowd erupted into song as they harmonized with the vocals of Wrabel to one of Jai Wolf’s most recognizable tracks. “Tennis Skirts,” a fairly new Jai Wolf release, captivated the crowd with the illustrations of a tennis ball and racket ebbing and flowing to the beat on the backdrop.
Ending the night strong, Jai Wolf performed “Starlight” into “Don’t Look Down,” successfully closing the loop of the night before our inevitable exit. The loop was broken, however, as an encore of “Like It’s Over” to “Indian Summer” pulled the crowd in one last time to celebrate the evening’s emotional reckoning with music. The production, unreleased tracks, and live edits of the Blue Babu Tour reset the expectations for a Jai Wolf live set to those of the past. The reimagined music paired with his stage presence, and the impeccable visuals truly wrapped up his team’s vision.
The phrase “exiting the loop” offers a central theme to each stop of the tour. The music and messaging throughout Jai Wolf’s Mission Ballroom stop resonated with that sentiment. The well-timed lyrics of self-reflection, acceptance of uncertainty, and overcoming losses and addictions carried weight through the softer, less dancey undertones of the set.
The evocation of feelings within you rained down onto everyone in the crowd as they all found a set of lyrics they could take with them, sending through the crowd a feeling of inclusion even in being lost. Denver exited the loop with Jai Wolf, setting itself free in the process to start new and move forward with a sense of peace.