On a Friday night in late April, Denver's Summit Music Hall filled up with music lovers who knew the spot to get down that evening in the Mile High City. The crowd came out to groove with the sexy stylings of Phutureprimitive and ill-esha, who were nearing the end of their (Untz-sponsored!) tour.
Opening acts Unlimited Aspect and Blendrix came from a different angle than the headliners, but there was definitely some local love in the house for these Denver and Ft.Collins-based acts. The heavier sounds ran counter to the smoother, downtempo vibes of Rain and ill-esha, but when Blendrix went deeper into his grooves he won us, and we've got to respect the energy and dance floor boosting power of Unlimited Aspect's bubbly epic glitch soundscape. Loyal local followers of these acts were definitely moving the Summit well before the main acts took the stage.
Both ill-esha and PhuturePrimitive are touring new albums, and the spring run effectively showcased their new sounds. The lush and opulent tracks of these producers gelled into a danceable and sexy night of bass music. Phutureprimitive's Searching for Beauty in The Darkest Places Pt 1 was released April 9th and will be followed by a second installment this fall, once listeners get some time to absorb this deep and layered work. Likewise, ill-esha's March release Whiplash Recovery proves this bass music veteran never stops progressing, and her performance demonstrated a hightened confidence paired with hometown comfort level.
Sounding more confident and dialed then the last time we saw her in Denver, Ill-Esha has tightened her act on this tour. Her unique blend of sultry vocals and ever progressing production make her a vibrant figure on the EDM scene. Obviously happy to be home (the Canadian transplant is based in Denver), and even sharing an unreleased track about living in the Mile High, ill-esha delivered her signature blend of R&B and hip-hop with an effervescent energy. While her bangers and higher-energy dance tracks show how well she's filling out her sound, we love ill-esha most when she embraces her vixen. The trappier stuff plays well to the crowds, and keeps ill-esha fresh and current on the dancefloor. Yet it's when she gets emotional on the symphonic title track for her new album, and when she struts her R&B diva, seductively pondering if she "should take you home," that we get to see her as vulnerable, hungry, powerful. We get raw emotion and luxurious bass, a blend sure to provoke strong responses.
Phutureprimitive knows a thing or two about raw emotion and luxurious bass. His richly textured IDM blends tribal basslines and warehouse grime, which pair well with off-the-beaten-path remixes and psychedlic soundscapes. The evening's performance was a beautiful offering of all of these elements. Laura K., a long-time Phutureprimitive fan, remarked: "This show was energy filled, and one of my favorite's to date. With alien beats and sexy bass; his set was a delight to dance to. He mixed just the right amount of old and new material to create a diverse set."
Phutureprimitve's stirring remixes were highlights of the evening. He always selects moody, deep works to remix, such as "Mad World" by Gary Jules, which most people know as 'the Donnie Darko song'. This and Massive Attack's "Teardrop" were two evocative choices from the evening. We also love everything Rain does with Jillian Ann, whose ethereal vocals add the perfect melodic balance to the pulsating and rumbling bass. "Only You," a faster tempo track off of the new album, was one of our favorites to dance to, and "Dusted Compass," PhutureP's remix of The Human Experience, was another shimmering example of the breath-taking emotional journeys he is apt to lead us on.
Denver gets its fair share of amazing music. Blessed with an invigorated adoptive hometown goddess and her captivating tour partner, Summit Music Hall got to revel in a danceable night of fresh new tracks, innovative remixes and luxuriously lush sounds. ill-esha's soulful and gritty tracks were a solid complement to Phutureprimitive's psychedelic freak vibe. Late in his set Rain lauded the Denver crowd "y'all are some sexy freaky people" and asked "you want some more?" And, in reverence to this vibrant and hungry crowd, he kept on delivering.