Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sonic Bloom: Sunday 6.26.11

Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis & J-man

June 25th & 26th, 2011
Shadows Ranch- Clear Creek County, CO

I began the previous day with the notion that electronic music was not for me. But following a day at Sonic Bloom, that notion began to change. Carly and I enjoyed not only our time at Sonic Bloom, but the music as well. Though we had other plans and places to be on Sunday, we cleared our schedule to head back to Shadows Ranch. The decision would not yield regret as we caught some great music from a couple of our favorites as well as a couple of bands that were new to us.

We pulled back into the familiar camp to see the same smiling faces. The staff was very helpful, as proven by their high spirits and work ethic on the last day of a long weekend. The good vibes were noticeable as we stepped back onto the property. We sat on the VIP deck overlooking the main stage and took in the happenings.

The first act of the day that we caught was Lynx. Her music was down tempo which created a chill atmosphere. For an early day set, her musical approach was fitting. I was not impressed with her instrumental ability, though her command of the electronics was decent.

Tipper was next up and came with a completely different sound than the previous evening. His set was also down tempo and offered much more of a relaxed feel than his previous set from the night before. I was impressed with his range. It sounded like a completely different artist... and yet, I seemed to dig both ends of the spectrum.

We were really looking forward to the next set, and Signal Path did not disappoint. The first time I saw Signal Path was at Bonnaroo 2005 and their sound has developed greatly. Unlike a lot of electronic acts, their progression did not lead towards over-utilization of laptops or a turn towards dubstep... No, their progression has been just that, continual progress.

From the beginning of their set I was sucked in. Ryan Burnett's combination of guitar and production are a force to be reckoned with. Matt Schumacher's bass playing was heavy and consistently on target, the whole way pushing the music to higher heights. Damon Metzner's drumming was closer to perfection than the metronome machine leading most electronic charges. His drumming is among some of the best on the jamtronica scene and I was captivated by his musical fury. Together, Signal Path performed one helluva set that was infused with tasteful samples and intense breakdowns.

The acts that would follow would appeal to the crowd, but I found myself thinking this is wrong with electronic music. I will catch crap for this, but it sounded like garbage to me. Future Simple played a combination of crappy hip-hop samples coupled with horrible beats. I thought they were the worst, until I heard An-Ten-Nae. This was the lowest point of my time at Sonic Bloom...

This cat acted like he was revolutionizing the electronic movement in front of the crowd's eyes when in fact he was pressing one button at a time and freaking out. I was embarrassed for him... and then it happened. He played John Lennon's "Imagine" and threw some of the absolute worst beats that I have ever heard behind it. It got to the point where he had a device on a chord and was holding it up, pressing one button, and losing it. An-Ten-Nae became the embodiment of terrible electronic music, but at least he blew his own mind.

(To see proof of this, head to Youtube.)

Nico Luminous played a DJ set that helped to pick up the vibe. At one point, he was joined by Reva DeVito on vocals to take the vibe even higher. She had a beautiful voice to compliment his solid DJ work.

The last band we would catch of the evening would be one of our favorite bands, Juno What. Prior to the set Carly gave Joey Porter a cape, Steve Watkins fairy wings and Dave Watts a feather boa. Sporting their new fits, they took the stage. I was curious how the crowd would receive them as they are not an electronic act...

From the very first notes, the crowd was committed to getting down. Juno What created a live dance vibe unlike most live acts do. Steve and Joey went back and forth, at times not hitting the mark. Dave on the drums seemed to be less energetic than most shows. I was not outwardly impressed with their performance, though I have seen them a ton recently and have come to expect the world of them. Also, it was 2:00 AM set, which is tough on the body.

We had a blast at Sonic Bloom. I was extremely impressed with how the staff and property owners conducted themselves. It was one of the most accommodating and well put together festivals that I have ever attended. I went into it not really digging electronic music, and came out with a new appreciation. I have Sonic Bloom to thank for that. If you get a chance to make that trek into the mountains of Colorado for this slice of electronic heaven, take it.

Photo Gallery From Sunday

Sonic Bloom Saturday Coverage


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