Colorado was served an epic treat Saturday at Red Rocks. Fans prepared for funk throw-downs from Exmag, Branx, Gibbz, Lettuce and headliner Gramatik. Instead, the Lowtemp cultivator invited all his friends along for the ride. And when I say all, I mean Red Rocks encountered the elusive unicorn of EDM otherwise known as BIG GRIZMATIK.
I can only say that as Gramatik’s first headlining (and SOLD OUT) show at Red Rocks, he beyond delivered. Instead of droning on about one of the best shows I’ve seen on the rocks–and I’ve witnessed plenty, I will tell this tale of epic proportions through the photos captured by 303’s own Adam Ripplinger. Enjoy.
Exmag heads onto the stage to lay down some sexy, soulful tracks onto a swaying crowd. Eric Mendelson, Tyler Dondero aka SuperNicer, Mike Iannatto, and ILLUMNTR make up this R&B-fused foursome, who find a home on Gramatik’s Lowtemp label.
Eric Mendelson of Exmag takes a break from some shredding to greet a sold-out Red Rocks crowd.
Next up was funk-group Lettuce, whose otherworldly instrumentals transported fans to a time and place when music was nothing more than strings, brass and some heavy percussion. Lettuce’s jazzy sounds swam deeply into pools of dancing fans, swaying and shaking to the sounds of a group of wildly talented musicians.
“I’ve never heard of Lettuce, but man, these guys are amazing!” could be heard echoing through the stands as unexpecting show-goers shared their newfound love of this funkadelic band.
Meanwhile, those who had come to see the electronic-maestro jittered anxiously in their seats. Maybe it was too much too soon, or maybe they couldn’t take the anticipation of what was to some, but the energy was climbing to nuclear. Then they blew the top of the place, so to speak.
When Gramatik hit the stage, the audience erupted in euphoric whoops and shrieks. Theenergy was tangible, the audio force was indelible, even for those who’d maybe overdone it on the substances. He entered into tracks from his 2014 LP, The Age of Reason, as fans sang along to sporadic lyrics and stomped their feet in unison during the bass climaxes.
Suddenly, Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic makes his way onto the stage. The cameo didn’t go unnoticed by fans, who burst into cheers that caused serious vibrations in the stands. But, oh wait! As if adding Big G to the bill wasn’t enough, Dom and Denis called another EDM giant to the stage.
And who is that towering fellow jogging onto the stage? Oh yes, none other than GRiZ. Yes, people, Red Rocks got Big Grizmatik. Oh yes, we did.
Hi Five, because Colorado is THE COOLEST. And what happened next was a lot of bass-thumping, funk spiraling, guitar screeching Big Grizmatik jams. From “Digital Liberation is Mad Freedom” to “My People,” GRiZ, Gramatik and Big G slammed so hard in the faces of Red Rocks.
The Big Grizmatik supporting role in this Lowtemp expo made the night of fans everywhere, whose Cheshire Cat smiles stretched wildly across their elated faces. The night continued with the piercing vocals of songster Gibbz, who managed to croon in a tone that Red Rocks might actually be stranger to. The shrill cries during “Get a Grip” reverberated heavily through the carved amphitheater, leaving some wondering if something could ever actually be “too loud” in Red Rocks.
The majesty of the Red Rocks managed to reel in a slew of performers who have engraved their performances into the ears, hearts and minds of an amphitheater teeming at capacity. The end of the show didn’t leave audience members with a hushed exit, rather the stage swarmed with all of the faces that had taken their turns that night, truly going out with a bang. But while the cameos and the collaborations were epic, Gramatik stole the spotlight every moment, paying homage to his roots, his love of music and his appreciation for those with him that night.
For those who managed to catch this historical show, I’m sure you’re still riding Cloud 9 well into your Monday afternoon. And for those who missed it: sucks to be you.
Want to see more incredible photos from Gramatik and friends at Red Rocks: check out our gallery.