Man with a guitar posing onstage

The Colorado weather must have gotten the message that Saturday was opening day at Red Rocks because it was gorgeous outside. With afternoon temperatures in the low 60s and mixed sun, it was time to party!

Welcoming back the multi-talented Boogie T for his Boogie On The Rocks III event, the crowd dressed for success in their best rave ‘fits. Even the construction crews had pulled together to finish vast facility renovations in time.

A stacked lineup was curated to open for Boogie T, and everything was falling into place to be a killer night. Good vibes aplenty, the only thing left to do was to boogie into the venue!

Like many jam and EDM artists, Boogie T — real name Brock Thornton — has found a second home at the historic amphitheater. With the third chapter of his spring extravaganza, Thornton carries on a strong tradition of return visits.

The venue will host such epic series as Wobble Rocks III, DeadRocks X, and Rezz Rocks VI throughout the year. Another fantastic trend performers like Thornton have instituted is a pre-party. The BOOGIE T.RIO warm-up “Blocka party” took place at Globe Hall. It featured a crawfish boil, flash tattoos, rad music, and a heaping helping of Boogie!

Image of a knight on a horse backdrops a lighted stage

Whole Bunch of Boogieing Going On

Beyond a showcase of electronic artists, Boogie On The Rocks has continued to mix things up musically. Each installment has featured Thorton’s funky swamptronica band, The BOOGIE T.RIO, as an opening act.

In addition to his guitar and vocals, the outfit features Frank Castro on drums and Andriu Yanovski on keyboard. The group grooved through their hits — check out their Live From Spring Adventure LP to hear the 2023 versions. Trademark Bayou-meets-psychedelic visuals courtesy of Kooz helped connect the melodies with their stories. The vivid scenes and vivacious tunes were the highlight of my night, along with that of several fans with whom I chatted.

The BOOGIE T.RIO plays onstage at Red Rocks

A high point of the set was Yanovski’s front & center keytar playing, which delighted the audience. Yanovski took the mic for the smash hit “Disco Moses” and contributed vocals elsewhere as well.

Truly a group effort, it was “the BOOGIE T.RIO plus trumpet,” as Thornton quipped. They were accompanied throughout by a guest fourth member playing horns, percussion, and vocals.

Of course, the infamous collaboration with Ganja White Night, “Dear Weed Man,” was a fan favorite. Both of Thornton’s acts are smoke-friendly, and several T.RIO songs helped the crowd get (s)toked up!

And the Hits Keep Rolling

The headlining production by Boogie T was the electronic continuation of the pufftastic good times. He cranking out dubstep and riddim tracks with a funky flair, and the joint was rockin’.

Several herb-heavy tracks and leafy visuals greened up the set. One especially spicy depiction was a religious figure surrounded by hemp plants. Old school anti-marijuana propaganda audio played during that number.

Thornton kept things light by tackling “heady” topics like the instructions to Duck, Duck, Goose during one song. He also resurrected a remix of the Red Rocks prohibited items jam, which pokes fun at the venue’s naughty list. The crowd remembered the line about glitter and screamed along: “That $#!T gets EVERYWHERE!”

Performer on an elevated stage in front of Colorado-themed images

As he dropped an explosive new ID with Ganga White Night, Easter eve-appropriate stained-glass images lit up the screen. Thornton introduced the reggae-tinged track with the ultimate PLUR message.

He told the crowd that he’s “not trying to be a preacher or anything,” but to “be a good person… it’s gonna come back to you and help you out.” Well said, Mr. Boogie T, well said.

Never mind his recent remix album of the in-your-face release “2KFO,” a more rowdy banger. Even that ditty elicited rhythmic swaying of the crowd, demonstrating the thoughtful atmosphere for which the EDM community is known. We’d all love to see the kindness continue throughout the season at Red Rocks.

Breaking Things Down – Scientifically?

Beyond bringing world-renowned acts to play Boogie On The Rocks, Thornton always adds local flair. This year, Denver’s own Break Science filled the middle opening slot. Adam Deitch on drums and Borahm Lee on keys and producing form a super-tandem together. Balancing the ambient EDM for which Lee is known with Deitch’s percussion prowess, their performance was a whole mood. Their mind-blowing mixed-tempo live set convinced me to catch them headlining soon!

Attendees were ready for that positive mood, having spent up to or upwards of an hour on the entrance ramp. With luck, the remaining early 2024 shows — many of which, like the season opener, have matching doors and first-set start times — will find a better flow of foot traffic.

Those who caught Skellytn open things up were treated to a righteous drum-and-bass-meets-dubstep throwdown. The groundbreaking Los Angeles-born and raised producer is credited as the first female to drop a DnB record stateside.

Skellytn also played the official afterparty at Temple, getting the crowd loose for Boogie T. He’s consistently supported her music, and their pics posing together before the Red Rocks show highlighted their bond.

Dubstep on Up to the Rocks

There were a pair of more traditional dubstep performances before Boogie T, satisfying fans of the genre. After the opening run by Skellytn, a dub-heavy set by Distinct Motive brought the wubs to Wed Wocks! His exhibition of bountiful bass got people moving their feet and shaking their hips to the beat. The sun was setting as Distinct Motive concluded his act. What appropriate timing for the Deep, Dark & Dangerous artist!

Speaking of DD&D, they provided the final opening performance of the evening in the form of trailblazers TRUTH. Originally formed in New Zealand and based in the U.S., the dubstep duo includes Andre ‘Dre’ Fernandez and Tristan Roake.

The pair formed the Deep Dark & Dangerous label in 2012. During the show and on socials, they’ve teased an upcoming Mission Ballroom appearance. They even displayed a QR code onscreen that takes you to a site to sign up for presale details.

Singer on brightly lit stage in front of DJs as they perform

Both being present for the gig with no technical difficulties, they referred to it as their “redemption set.” There was an unexpected twist to the TRUTH set: A surprise guest vocalist! U.K. Dubstep OG SGT Pokes provided hype for the duration and rhymed on several cuts.

The emcee drew mixed crowd reactions. Some concertgoers were puzzled by his presence or felt it detracted from the primary duo. Others recognized his stature as a dubstep elder and TRUTH collaborator. A portion of attendees found his banter to be downright hilarious. They felt it provided a light-hearted break to the weighty bass barrage. Whatever your stance, it was a high-voltage performance to prep the crowd for Boogie T!

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