Colorful and dynamic — two words that describe Louis The Child’s Red Rocks performance last Thursday night. The duo brought an eclectic mix of melodic bass house and poolside bangers that paired perfectly with the occasional hip-hop classic. Better still, openers Crooked Colours and NEIL FRANCES put on incredible shows that, while very different in sound and style, were just as fun as the headliner. If you’ve never seen Louis The Child, the experience may not be what you’d expect — in the best way possible.
Crooked Colours, an Australian indie-house band with a synth flair, is having a huge weekend in Denver. Their opening set at Red Rocks was just their first of three shows in the Mile High City, and it’s clear why. Think MGMT meets Sofi Tukker but as a live band. That’s the vibe songs like “Hold On” and “Flow” gave off while the band drifted from one catchy psych banger to the next.
Following Crooked Colours’ groovy performance, NEIL FRANCES was careful to ease the crowd in with some retro-wave and ’80s club disco music for the first few songs of their set, but that’s not where the band stayed.
NEIL FRANCES is like if Porter Robinson wrote a Tame Impala song. It’s as much psych-rock as it is disco-synth music. At times, their performance walked a careful line between Thundercat (without the schizophrenic tendencies) and Tash Sultana’s explosive, washed-out sonic experiments. Still, moments of relaxed dance grooves shined through between tight, psychedelic improv and vocal screaming matches with the crowd. The tones Marc Gilfry, lead singer and guitarist for NEIL FRANCES, explored with his guitar (often manufactured in real-time as Gilfry kneeled behind his massive pedal board at the front of the stage) ranged from distorted low bass to synth highs depending on each song’s vibe, but all contributed to a truly unique and surprising live performance.
Although Louis The Child didn’t bring that live element to their set at Red Rocks, they did bring an incredible amount of energy and a great light show to match their colorful take on the wide-brimmed EDM genre. From atop a platform shining with their signature crown logo, lit up with a neon brim that migrated from gold to purple to red throughout the performance, the melodic house duo smiled, danced and grooved through their electronic pop bangers like “Blasé,” and “Weekend.” Thankfully, they also threw in some surprises, debuting two new songs and playing around with remixes of classic hip-hop tracks like Lupe Fiasco’s “Kick Push.”
Although Louis The Child is primarily known for their radio-friendly bops and innocent tunes, they displayed much more than that at Red Rocks, experimenting with deep bass and house music and even dipping their toes slightly into the techno realm for brief moments. They transformed iconic tracks like “Shake Something” and “It’s Strange” into quick dance club bangers accompanied by enough lasers to light up the sky, perfectly synchronized for an intricate concert experience.
If you expect a Louis The Child show to be an inoffensive electronic-pop party, you’d only be half right. Yes, there were plenty of radio hits to sing along to, but there was also a wide range of deep house, heavy bass heaters and hip-hop vibes that provided a great excuse to get down and dirty. Plus, the opening performances were shockingly vibrant and completely different than Louis The Child, but still strangely contributed to the cohesive energy of the entire experience. From start to finish, Louis The Child’s first night at Red Rocks this year was a pleasant surprise.
All photography by Kiddest Metaferia