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The ZHU-mans Had a Blast at Winter on the Rocks

The ZHU-mans Had a Blast at Winter on the Rocks

Kierstin Rounsefell

February 3rd, 2020

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ZHU is a singer, songwriter, producer, and DJ based out of Calfornia. He has gained hundreds of thousands of listeners on both Soundcloud and Spotify since the release of his first EP, THE NIGHTDAY, in 2014. He’s also traveled worldwide to grace the stages of countless festivals including Holy Ship, Electric Forest, and Voodoo Music + Arts Experience.

A few of ZHU‘s most listened to tracks are “Faded“, “My Life” with Tame Impala, and “Came For The Low” with partywithray. His most notable sounds and features are highlighted in these tracks. For instance, he records and uses his own vocals which blend perfectly with intricate synths and instrumentation.

Vendors, Food, and Warm(ish) Weather

On Friday, January 31, Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks returned to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. This unique, outdoor venue welcomed over 9,000 people for the event. A handful of different vendors were set up at the very top of the amphitheatre. These included Jeep, Visible Mobile, Ski Monarch, Never Summer, Fireball, Pacifico, Oskar Blues, Green Dragon, DabOlio and a few others. Food for the event was provided by Quiznos. A large metallic display in the center of all of the booths enclosed a fire to keep attendees warm. VIP ticket holders had access to drinks, food, and merchandise inside the visitor center at the top of the venue as well as a private patio with live painters.

Compared to past editions of Winter on the Rocks, the weather on Friday was quite warm. The temperature held around the mid-40s (Fahrenheit), but the high winds made for a fairly chilly night. The high winds also proved to be an issue for the vendors at the top of the venue as their booths and signs were being blown over. Only a fraction of the bars and food stands normally in function were open since it was off-season for the venue. Lines at every restroom and bar were about 15 to 30-minutes due to this being an extremely sold-out event.

Starting off Strong

DJ Matt Cassidy opened the night with an hour-long set. Thousands of attendees were at the venue early to secure their spot at the front of the amphitheatre. A small table and CDJ setup accompanied beautiful multicolored lighting. His music was a smooth combination of relaxed Electronic and R&B sounds, which was perfect for the crowd who engaged with his positive, interactive stage presence. He did increase the tempo and energy of his set as the night went on.

SNBRN took the stage next with another hour-long set. This House music king has been producing beats since the year 2013. “Beat The Sunrise” featuring Andrew Watt, “Move All Night” with Autograf and Kole, and “Six Shooter” are a few of his tracks that have gained the most listens throughout the years. SNBRN adorned a dad hat and a large, puffy winter jacket to keep him warm during his set. After signing the infamous Red Rocks Tunnel, he took to the stage to perform to the full amphitheatre. Multicolored abstract visuals played on the large LED panel behind the stage which made for a beautiful audiovisual experience.

After SNBRN‘s set, Icelantic Skis did a short crowd address which featured a dance-off with DJ Matt Cassidy. Shortly after, THEY. took to the stage. This R&B duo racked up over 73 million streams in 2019 on Spotify alone. Their popular, upbeat tracks, including “U-RITE,” kept the crowd on their feet throughout their set. At one point in the night, they brought a lucky girl up on stage, handed her a rose, and serenaded her with a slow jam. Their stage presence was absolutely amazing and full of high energy and smiles.

ZHU’s Glorious Return to Red Rocks

Finally, the moment that the entire amphitheatre had been waiting for: ZHU. His introduction was a flawless instrumental buildup that led into his newest release, “Came For The Low” with partywithray. He was wearing one of his signature ZHU faux fur jackets, gloves, ski goggles, and a hair clip which was perfect for the windy weather.

ZHU performed in a large triangular DJ booth in the center of the stage with LED panels on both sides. Throughout the night, fog, pyrotechnics, abstract visuals along with clips from his music videos, and bright lights were used. Smaller elevated platforms with LED screens on both sides of ZHU were where his guitarist and saxophonist played. They were also wearing ZHU faux fur jackets. At one point in the middle of his hour-and-a-half long set, his guitarist and saxophonist went head to head in a battle of sorts, showcasing their insane talent and skills.

ZHU’s set was upbeat for the most part, keeping the crowd on their toes. However, he made sure to take the time to slow down and play the piano for a few minutes. He spoke directly to the crowd at this point, appreciating the moment along with everyone who came. “It’s not just me being here, it’s all of us being here”, he said.

Breaking News: New ZHU

Newer songs such as “Desert Woman” and “Stormy Love, NM” featuring JOY. mixed perfectly with older classics including “Superfriends” and “Generationwhy“. THEY. even came out during “Working For It” which really brought the entire show together. To end his set, he played his beautiful rendition of “Hometown Girl“.

When ZHU made his way off stage, the lights remained dim. The wind blew throughout the amphitheatre, and the crowd remained quiet. Then, the phrase “the most captivating project by ZHU is coming this year” flashed onto the LED screen. ZHU revealed via social media the next day that this was an official album announcement, and a new album will be released this year! ZHU then came back onto the stage with his band and played “Faded“.

Until Next Time

Winter on the Rocks is an event that we can highly recommend, no matter which artists are performing. Skiers, snowboarders, music lovers, and more can all come together for one night to enjoy the crisp weather, look at vendors, and listen to music. This year, ZHU and everyone else on the lineup made for an absolutely perfect night. For information on next year’s event, keep up to date with both Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks and Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Until then, follow ZHU below for show and music updates!

Photos by Julien Deroeux

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