Photos by: Ahmed Shaikh (Nefarius)
Story by: Zane Womeldorph
The first time I saw Beats Antique was two summers ago at Red Rocks for the Global Dance Festival. I have never been so stupefied – in a good way – by a performance in my life. I spent most of that show just staring at the stage, feet frozen and mouth agape, dumbfounded.
Since then I’ve seen them three times, hoping to re-live the feeling of that first show. The Creature Carnival came close.
The night starts out with a band-less Emancipator. Coincidentally, the last time I saw Mr. Appling sans Ensemble was the same night I first saw Beats at Red Rocks. It’s easy to assume that an Emancipator set is going to be a completely laidback, downtempo affair. Some of his songs certainly fit that description, but this was probably the most upbeat Emancipator set I have ever seen. Opening with "Old Devil" and standing in front of a nice, hi-def visualizer, Doug and Ilya treated the crowd to a series of bass-heavy, danceable tracks (for Emancipator, that is), including "Elephant Survival," what appeared to be a remix of “Ready or Not” by the Fugees, an extended version of “Anthem” with a dance-y twist, and a stirring rendition of “Diamonds,” the newest Emancipator original. Overall, a pretty good set.
Up next was Shpongle, after a small intermission involving a local juggling/comedy act. Most big tours like this simply have some random, moderately shitty DJ that everyone ignores play a few songs between artists, so it was refreshing to have something a little different going on.
To be perfectly honest, I know next to nothing about Shpongle beyond the fact that he is British and his live-band shows are supposed to be amazing. Sometimes I leave a show (like EOTO, for instance) with the feeling that what I just heard would be the soundtrack to my mom’s nightmares. That’s how I feel about Shpongle, which is not to say I didn’t like it. It was super weird, almost hypnotic at times and nearly overwhelmingly psychedelic. But fun, and I’ll be sure to attend his live-band show at Red Rocks next June.
Few bands, if any, can achieve the feast Beats prepares for the eyeballs. “Visually arresting” would be an understatement. “Fucking ridiculous” is far more accurate. At this point of the show my notes devolve into illegible scribbles, partly due to a moderate level of personal intoxication but more so because I was totally transfixed.
They opened with a VERY bass-heavy version “Roustabout” before bringing out a group of four drummers representing the four Creatures the Carnival was based around. The first three songs were heavy and awesome, and probably best encapsulated by the last coherent sentence in my notebook:
“DAMN. Intense drumming.”
Most of the show was superb, quintessential Beats Antique. While their last tour focused mostly on their newest music, this set had a nice mix of old and new, from “Runaway” to “Beauty Beats” to “Overture.”
However, many of the standouts were from A Thousand Faces. The choreography on these songs is incredible, and anytime Zoe Jakes is onstage it becomes impossible to look away. A few of my specific favorites were “Viper’s Den,” “Resurrection,” and “Pandora’s Box,” songs that are not necessarily my favorites to listen to at home but take on a completely different feel in a live setting. They also completely slayed “Revival,” which I will put up there with “How We Do” by Pretty Lights and his band as one of my favorite performances in recent memory.
I do have a couple of grievances. For one, I am sick of "Doors of Destiny," aka the game show song with the creepy hosts and the weird meow drop. They play it all the time, and to me the giant inflatable cat thing – “All hail the Cyclops kitty!” said David Satori – becomes the only thing people remember about the show. Lafa Taylor's grown-up version of one of those “One Hop This Time, Two Hops This Time” middle school dance songs also didn't seem to rouse the crowd--it's a long night of music.
Overall, however, it was a great show. Beats Antique is unique in the vast catalogue of EDM clones, from their sound to their choreography, and are always worth the price of admission.
The functionality you are trying to use is for members only. Would you like to sign in?