It seemed like an questionable combination at first: MiM0SA, Zion I, and Lunice opening up for… Ghostland Observatory? This was a musical journey that began with straight-no-chaser hip-hop and ended in a lazer-fueled electro orgy, but by the end of the night the result was a resounding, “Yes! That line-up was brilliance!”
Lunice was quick to the punch and made sure the audience had plenty of chance to hear a variety of tracks. It seemed that the young Canadian producer was slightly overwhelmed by the magnitude of the venue, with his subdued stage presence and thoughtful beats giving him an introverted vibe that was far from Ghostland‘s point-blank assault but nonetheless an on-point performance.
Zion I had the precarious assignment of being the only true hip-hop act on the bill. The crowd seemingly shifted from a small dance party to a slightly more “street-wise” version of their mental selves. Zion I did exactly what they were put on the line-up to do, take a small dance party and get the crowd primed for the sounds of future-trill that were about to resonate off of Stage, Ship, and Creation Rock.
All of the built-up hip-hop energy came into full swing as MiMOSA sandwiched himself in between two massive LED screens and blasted off t0 future-trill territory. Signs of doubt emerged from the crowd, as many around us quietly (and some not so quietly) voiced their opinion that MiMOSA was gong to be too stoned or would party too hard to deliver a worthwhile performance. His set was arguably the most energetic of the night, and the crowd inevitably ate up everything MiMOSA laid on the table. One person remarked that his set was even better than Bassnectar‘s sets two weekends ago (“A bold claim, I know,” he said, “but I think it’s true.”)
MiMOSA further disproved naysayers by taking every chance he could find to thank Colorado and his fans, “This is my favorite fucking place to play! Grab your weed, booze, or drugs and lets get this party going!” MiMOSA had done his job quite impressively; .
The crowd had followed MiMOSA‘s requests and partied as hard as they could during his set, but nearly everyone was wise enough to know that Ghostland Observatoy was to follow. Frontman Arron Behrens is the electro reincarnation of Freddie Mercury, and backed by the deceptively simple production of Thomas Turner they have owned their personal territory of electronic rock since 2003. Neither highs (Paparazzi Lightning) and lows (Robotique Majestique) have really changed who they are, and that’s an admirable quality for a group that ultimately headlines Red Rocks.
The set was somewhat predictable for anyone who has seen Ghostland Observatory before. The insanely popular “Sad Sad City” was played to a massive reaction from the crowd, a fairly recent reworking of “Dancing On My Grave” showed its face near the end of the set, and the ever-extending “Midnight Voyage” resonated through Red Rocks along with an expertly-timed laser display. The special nature of the night was not lost on the group as they thanked the crowd profusely for their constant energy and excitement. Any fan of Ghostland Observatory would have been happy with such a performance.
The night did not quite end when Arron thanked the crowd, left stage, and house music started to play. This usually is a firm indication the event has ended and its time to exit the venue. Not this night . . . this night was the exception. As the crowd filed into staircases, Arron’s voice came screaming from over the PA, “Hey! Where do you think you’re going? How about we play a new song?!” The entire remaining crowd rushed back to claim real-estate to watch one last (new and unnamed) song, a last-minute gift from a grateful band to a loyal audience.