lespecial performs at Sunsquabi and lespecial concert

This weekend, psychonauts and music fans strapped in for a fantastic journey at the Mission Ballroom in Denver. Co-headliners SunSquabi and lespecial delivered a yin-yang concert experience featuring live electronic jams and face-melting guitar solos. With help from Big Something and Underlux, SunSquabi and Lespecial left us starstruck as they took us through a psychedelic vortex of music!

Local DJ and producer UnderLux (real name Danny Costello) opened the show and with a bevy of hot tracks. He delivered fresh dubstep that was perfectly tailored for this jam-themed night. We were blessed to experience a double encore set by him as he dropped beats between Big Something and lespecial’s sets!

As a well-seasoned DJ, it’s no wonder Costello had everyone engaged all night long. In addition to performing at multiple venues across Colorado, he has supported headliners like SoDown and Maddy O’Neal. He even has a collab with Maddy O’Neal titled “Here’s To You” that has racked up over 23,000 streams on SoundCloud alone!

We knew we were in for something big when Big Something (which consists of Ben Vinograd, Casey Cranford, Matt Laird, Jesse Hensley, Josh Kagel, and Nick MacDaniels) hit the stage. Hailing from North Carolina, their fusion of alternative rock and electronica took the Mission Ballroom by storm.

Big Something’s sound was out of this world with trippy guitar riffs and velvety bass. My personal favorite was their song “Algorithm,” which brought electric energy and between-the-lines lyrics.

Over a decade of success precedes Big Something as they made their Mission Ballroom debut. According to their website, their first album Stories From The Middle of Nowhere was released in 2010. They went on to subsequently release six more albums, the most recent being Headspace in 2023. Loaded with high-energy music and an amazing stage presence, these guys made for a well-rounded addition to the show!

The show reached a pivotal point as lespecial (comprised of Luke Bemand, Jonathan Grusauskas, and Rory Dolan) took the helm. At this point, a cleverly designed beacon light circled the audience from a lighthouse displayed on the screen behind the band members.

They dove right into their set with their heavy-footed single “Snell’s Fleet,” igniting mosh pits at their feet. lespecial brought an impressive blend of rock and electronic music that satisfied metal heads and jam lovers alike.

Made up of three band members and no-fuss talent, lespecial blurs the lines that define hard rock and dance music. Without a doubt, they’ve succeeded in created an unexpected harmony between two genres.

From their 2015 debut album Omnisquid to their most recent album Odd Times, which came out in 2023, their sound stands out unlike any other. It’s clear these rock stars are destined for greatness. We can’t wait to see what their future brings!

I’ll outright say it: Colorado loves SunSquabi (consisting of Kevin Donohue, Josh Fairman, and Scotty Zwang). Indeed, this Centennial State-based band wins our hearts every time with music that’s as colorful as a Rocky Mountain sunset.

Their electric synths, heart-throb drumming, and shredding guitar solos took us on a psychedelic journey. I could have sworn a technicolor portal opened up behind them as they played “Deluxe.” During this song, mind-bending guitar riffs sent us sailing as a rainbow of spotlights illuminated SunSquabi from behind. We even enjoyed a special performance by their former drummer, Chris Anderson. Without a doubt, we were dazzled by their set!

Although they’ve performed at countless stages across the U.S., SunSquabi obviously has a soft spot for Colorado. They headlined beloved events like Shine Music Festival and Sonic Bloom in 2023. Not only that, but they’ve added seven more shows near the Rocky Mountains to their national tour this year!

Overall, we loved all of the music at this show! Dance, rock and jam music satisfied a variety of genre preferences.

If there’s anything you should know about SunSquabi, it’s how genuine positive energy follows them wherever they go. For instance, the Mission Row at this show was lined with noteworthy nonprofit organizations to check out! To end on a high note, here’s a quick rundown some of them:

Shine Music hosts an annual event called the Shine Music Festival. Not only does this event offer free admission, but it’s designed to provide an amazing, accessible festival experience to people of all abilities! The current set date for this year’s Shine Music Festival is on August 24th at Reelworks Denver, so make sure you mark your calendars to come see a free show and support a great cause!

Music Is A Language is on a mission to extend the opportunity for music education to youth who need it most. A quote from their website states: “We believe music is a core building block to the foundation of adolescent development.” We couldn’t agree more! If you’d like to support their cause, you can donate via their website.

Boredomfighters takes a unique approach to busting boredom blues for youth by bringing the world of music to their fingertips. They had music production equipment at their table for use, and it was eye opening to say the least (I found out I’m better at listening to music than making it). You can visit their website to find out more about their innovative offerings!

Photos by Daren Lee

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