Monolith Festival Takes over Red Rocks

Monolith Festival Takes over Red Rocks

For two days last weekend, the Red Rocks amphitheater was over-run by sixty bands and thousands of people as the Monolith Festival took over the venue.

With five stages (the main stage, a little acoustic stage on the side, a stage in the flats up top, and two under ground), it was hard to keep track of who was playing, when they were playing, where they were playing — shit, we missed them.

But there was enough top talent in attendance that even if you did miss a show or two, you were still in for a treat.

Be sure to check out the photo gallery for all the photos.

Saturday’s Highlights:

We started things off with the indie-rock, dance-punk (ref: Wikipedia) Foals on the main stage. The singer made sure his hair stayed attached to the front of his face the whole time. They were sick, though.

Cut Copy has never disappointed me, so I’m not sure why I wasn’t too excited for this show. But, once it got going and they started playing, it was instant joy.

Who the hell is Holy F**k?? I had no idea. But when I saw their name on the schedule, along with their home-town close to mine back in Canadia, I knew I was going to like them. Lucky for me, they set up with a drummer, a bass player, and two tables full of a sloppy mess of chords, keyboards, mixers, etc. It looked too much like my bedroom for my own comfort. From the time they started, Holy F**k RULED. Tons of energy, great synth sounds, very creative. Second favorite show of the weekend.

I watched Mickey Avalon as a joke. And it was.

Known most for his part in Hieroglyphics, followed by his smash hit 3030 album, Del the Funky Homosapien lit up the top-floor stage. I’m not too into live hip hop shows, but he was pretty rad, especially when he busted into Mistadobalina, a record I have cherished for years.

The Presets were the BEST show of the entire weekend. Sorry, Justice, but you got served. For some reason, the Presets were put in a dinky room downstairs, and while hundreds of people tried fruitlessly to get into the already packed show, the Australian group made the crowd go bananas for their entire hour-long set. As my friend so succinctly put it, “This is what live music is supposed to be.” Hell yeah.

The Presets – This Boy’s In Love

Unfortunately for headliner Devotchka, the crowd seemed more interested in playing volleyball with the balloons than they did with the band. Devotchka is a hugely talented group of Denverites who create worldly music with a flare of classical, but on Saturday night, they didn’t get the respect they deserve.

Sunday’s Highlights:

Known best for their hit “We are rockstars,” Does it Offend You, Yeah? played in a similar tiny room to the Presets, and although the line up to get in (and get rejected) wasn’t quite as big, the room was still bursting at the seams. For me, DIOYY was a bit hit or miss. Some songs were loud and mean and full of energy, some weren’t all that interesting. But when they closed out with “We are Rockstars,” it was really quite obvious to everyone that they sure are.

One of my favorite chillout bands for years, Tilly and the Wall was rambunctious. The band includes the standard setup for a folky rock band, but adds the nice touch of mic’d up tap dancers who could give DJ Shadow a run for his beat-making money. Fun show, to be sure.

I actually missed CSS, as I was trying to keep a good spot for Justice. If you were there, let me know how they were!

I had never liked Tokyo Police Club before, but their show was full of energy and was a treat to watch. Especially the band’s keyboardist, who reminded me of walking in on your girlfriend half-naked dancing to Ace of Base on 11 in her bedroom, forgetting she talked to you half an hour earlier about coming over. I mean that in a good way.

Speaking of energy, holy crap! Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings now hold a special place in my heart as “that band that everyone can relate to, whether you’re into hip hop, techno, country or Raffie.” Sharon Jones had the crowd dancing, singing, and laughing. Really stoked I got to see this show.

The story goes that TV on the Radio made it from Grand Junction to Morrison in 4 hours on a tour bus. I don’t know how that’s possible, but the NYC band made it to Red Rocks just moments before they were scheduled to appear on stage. The stressful trip didn’t seem to phase them, though, as they brought the noise to probably the biggest audience of the entire weekend. Red Rocks looked almost full (at least from where I was sitting), and it was obvious the majority of fans would have been content to have TVOTR play all night long.

Finally, that brings us to Justice. I’m not going to lie, I was really excited to see the French duo, but I also had major reservations. I’ve spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos of their live performances (as opposed to DJ sets), and I’ve never really been that impressed. But their studio music is utterly amazing, so I was hoping for great things. For the first half hour of their set, they delivered on those great things, and I was stoked. I definitely think they missed some obvious drops, and played around too much with lulls, but who the hell am I?

Unfortunately for everyone, about halfway through Justice’s set, the equipment malfunctioned in a conclusive “POP” and silence followed. After fifteen minutes, and several shrugs from Xavier to the crowd, they were back! Unrattled and unforgiving, Justice brought the crowd into an instant furry, and I thought for sure that this set was going to be everything I wanted to see.

And then, “POP.” Good night. The equipment gave way again, but this time, it wouldn’t come back.

To my sheer amazement, the crowd broke out into a cappella rendition of “Never Be Alone” (you know, WE ARE…. YOUR FRIENDS… ). I thought it was cute at first, but the crowd didn’t stop for nearly fifteen minutes, when both Xavier and Gaspard walked back on stage, acknowledged the crowd, tore their midi controllers out from the booth and smashed them on the red rocks below. And there was much rejoicing.

Though frustrating for Justice, and disappointing for their horde of fans, it was a pretty good show, all be it very short. It was a bummer to end such a sick weekend on a let down, but when people streamed out of the amphitheater, it was with smiles on their faces, and everyone seemed to walk with a little bit of skip in their stride.

Justice – DVNO

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