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Sonic Bloom: Living art

CAITLIN MORRIS
summit daily news

Last weekend the Mishawaka Amphitheater, nestled in the Poudre Canyon in Bellvue, Colo., transformed into an ethereal Mecca for progressive electronic musicians, mind expanding artists, and a colorful cast of performers and music fans.

Sonic Bloom, a three-day electronic music festival, brought exotic, thumping dance music to the Mish stage last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The festival, brainchild of Jamie Janover of headlining band Zilla, brought a long list of acts together. EOTO, LYNX and Janover, Big Gigantic, Beats Antique, Signal Path, Octopus Nebula, and Future Simple Project were joined by DJs Eskmo, *DVS, VibeSquaD, Evan Bluetech, Rena Jones and ill Gates, who all share a similar sound: whomping bass-heavy beats, driving dance melodies and a deeply tribal feel.

The music began from the moment festival-goers stepped on the shuttle that brought them from campgrounds to the venue as DJs performed during the ride. Bands and DJs played back-to-back beginning at 6 p.m. and raged until well after sunrise with no overlapping sets, so festival-goers could dance for 13 to 14 hours each night and not miss a single performance.

The musical highlights of the weekend were performances by Big Gigantic on Friday and EOTO on Saturday and an against all odds performance by Beats Antique on Sunday.

Big Gigantic, featuring Dominic Lalli of The Motet on sax and production and Jeremy Salken on drums, brought a mixture of break-beats and sub-sonic bass juxtaposed with smooth jazz sax melodies. Big Gigantic sunk deep in to the jazz-dub, playing a mixture of songs from their album “Dig Deep” and their forth-coming album. In keeping with the theme of the weekend, they even threw in a little bit of dub-step, or what festival-goers described as the “whomp” and the “wobble.”

On Saturday EOTO gave the crowd exactly what they lusted for: a dub-step heavy set that constantly changed tempos and even broke into some “four on the floor” house beats. Their set, which is completely improvised on the fly, dangled on the verge of disaster, though the crowd would have never known it.

“My computer crashed three times,” drummer Jason Haan offered as an explanation to the musical breakdowns that devolved into merely a high hat hit. However, these technical malfunctions only added to the band’s extremely dynamic set, full of tension, release, crescendo and decrescendo.

Closing out the weekend’s headlining acts was Beats Antique, consisting of David Satori, Sidecar Tommy and Zoe Jakes, an interpretive belly dancer who can wobble her stomach to the bass beats. They electrified the stage, so much so that the power went out, forcing the band into an acoustic drum jam. Though it seemed as if Beats Antique rocked so hard they blew out the sound system, the power failure was actually just an oversight; the venue staff forgot to fill the power generator up with gas, a problem that was easily remedied.

Every inch of the venue was draped in some form of eye candy. On stage, brightly colored lights beamed into the crowd as an L.E.D. screen displayed Technicolor pictures and patterns. Next to the stage, fire dancers, aerial artists and shadow dancers performed all weekend long. Video projections of art, cartoons and patterns that moved played to the music that colored nearly every free space, including the canyon walls. Artists like Robert Venosa and wife Martin Hoffman, Michael Garfield and Krystleyez painted works inspired by the music all over the venue. Even the festival-goers were performance artists in and of themselves, dawning outlandish costumes and showing off wild dance moves. By the end of the weekend, it was abundantly clear that Sonic Bloom was more than just a concert; it was a living, breathing, piece of art.

To see Caitlin’s photo album, check out Summit Daily’s Facebook page.


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