It's rare that you notice the initial earthquake when a seismic shift occurs in music. Instead, it's the aftershocks that get your attention.
We're still feeling the reverberations of Daft Punk's 2007 tour, which included a stop at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 31, 2007. The French duo had already steered dance music toward the mainstream with their first two albums, Homework and Discovery--their third, Human After All, was a commercial disappointment that now sounds like the bedrock on which dubstep was built--but their so-called Alive Tour was the real game-changer. Utilizing a pyramid-shaped DJ booth outfitted in lights and LED screens, the tour took live electronic music to previously unimaginable heights while establishing a number of important precedents.
First, it triggered an ongoing arms race among production designers to build ever more elaborate sets, sound systems and lighting rigs. But more importantly, it established dance music as a powerful force in live music. Conventional wisdom held that music fans wouldn't pay to see a dance artist or DJ in concert because, by using computers and samples, they were somehow inferior to artists performing on traditional instruments.
The undeniable artistry and creativity of Daft Punk's tour was the first hammer strike against those assumptions and 11-years on, dance music is among the most financially lucrative genres in live entertainment. Masked artists who operate in anonymity are earning eight figures and the emphasis on stage production in electronic music has raised the bar for artists in every genre.
Much to the frustration of those of us who missed the Alive Tour, Daft Punk hasn't hit the road since, but their collaborations with artists like Kanye West and Pharrell helped establish another trend: the hybridization of rap and electronic music. In honor of Daft Punk's earth-shaking influence, here's a look at the dance and hip-hop shows coming to Red Rocks in 2018:
The dance party gets underway on 4/20 when Flosstradamus brings HDYFEST back to Red Rocks. Opiuo will debut his Syzygy Orchestra at a co-headlining gig with Colorado's own SunSquabi on April 21 and Kygo will stop by Red Rocks on April 25 as part of his Kids in Love Tour.
After weather forced promoters to move New Year's Eve on the Rocks indoors, Post Malone will finally grace the Red Rocks stage on May 2. The weekend of May 11-12 is a busy one, as French favorites Tchami x Malaa perform on May 11, followed the next day by the Global Dub Festival with Ganja White Night, Zomboy and others. In support of their new album Common Ground, trance pioneers Above & Beyond return to Red Rocks on May 19. A couple of co-headlining shows are next up, with Phantogram and Tycho sharing the stage on May 21, followed by rising stars Louis The Child and Big Wild on May 24. The month wraps up with the blissful beats of Emancipator Ensemble on May 26.
Marshmello, the aforementioned masked multi-millionaire, sets off June with his (its?) first Red Rocks headlining show on the 3rd. Lettuce and The Floozies will bring their funktronic sound to the Rocks on Friday, June 8. The next weekend sees a double dose of ODESZA on June 15-16 while Chromeo and The Glitch Mob close out the month with the latest edition of Funk on the Rocks on June 28.
DeadRocks returns with two nights of Zeds Dead on July 2-3. Colorado transplant GRiZ will be playing Red Rocks with a live band and solo on July 13 and 14, respectively. You can P-A-R-A-D-E with Sylvan Esso on July 18 and groove to Beats Antique and The Polish Ambassador on July 27. Nas and Black Star finish off the month with a night of classic hip-hop on July 31.
Flipping the calendar to August, DJ Snake will headline this year's edition of HARD Red Rocks on Aug. 2. Pretty Lights will celebrate his 10th annual Red Rocks appearance with a two-night residency on Aug. 10-11. Homegrown music star Illenium has already sold out his Aug. 29 show, an incredible feat for an artist who released his debut album just two years ago (check out our exclusive video interview with Illenium above). And honorary Coloradans Atmosphere will play their annual Red Rocks show on August 31.
The weather may be getting cooler over the last couple months of the concert calendar, but for fans of electronic music, things are just warming up. Gramatik will deliver his always anticipated show on Sept. 1 followed by Trapfest on Sept. 16, with NGHTMRE b2b with Slander, JOYRYDE and others. On Sept. 26, Ms. Lauryn Hill returns to Red Rocks for a 20th anniversary celebration of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Big Gigantic's two-day Rowdytown festival is coming back for its seventh edition on Sept. 28-29. And the season finishes up with a glut of shows in October, including Snails on Oct. 5, Seven Lions on Oct. 11, Rezz on Oct. 13 and Excision on Oct. 20.
Now that you've done your homework, our discovery is complete. If you really want to feel alive, you can get tickets to all of these shows below; humans, after all, need experiences to fuel our random access memories.
Friday, April 20 - Flosstradamus (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, April 21 - Opiuo/ SunSquabi w/ Flamingosis, Anomalie (Click here for tickets)
Wednesday, April 25 - Kygo w/ Alan Walker (Click here for tickets)
Wednesday, May 2 - Post Malone w/ 21 Savage and SOB X RBE (Click here for tickets)
Friday, May 11 - Tchami x Malaa w/ k?d, Justin Martin and Mercer (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, May 12 - Global Dub Festival: Ganja White/ Zomboy w/ Boogie T., SQUNTO, EPTIC, AFK and Spock (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, May 19 - Above & Beyond (Click here for tickets)
Monday, May 21 - Phantogram/ Tycho w/ Poolside (Click here for tickets)
Thursday, May 24 - Louis The Child/ Big Wild w/ Quinn XCII and Phantoms (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, May 26 - Emancipator Ensemble w/ Manic Focus (live band), Wax Tailor (solo set and with special guests), Kalya Scintilla & Eve Olution and Tor (Click here for tickets)
Sunday, June 3 - Marshmello (Click here for tickets)
Friday, June 8 - Lettuce/ The Floozies (Click here for tickets)
Friday, June 15 - ODESZA (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, June 16 - ODESZA (Click here for tickets)
Thursday, June 28 - Chromeo/ The Glich Mob w/ Elohim, KITTENS (Click here for tickets)
Monday, July 2 & Tuesday, July 3 - Zeds Dead (Click here for two-day passes)
Friday, July 13 - GRiZ (Live Band) (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, July 14 - GRiZ (Solo Set) (Click here for tickets)
Wednesday, July 18 - Sylvan Esso (Click here for tickets)
Friday, July 27 - Beats Antique/ The Polish Ambassador w/ The Diplomatic Scandal and Clozee (Click here for tickets)
Tuesday, July 31 - Nas x Black Star w/ Pusha T, Brother Ali and very special guests The ReMINDers (Click here for tickets)
Thursday, Aug. 2 - HARD Red Rocks w/ DJ snake, Virtual Self, Mija, GG Magree and Hekler (Click here for tickets)
Friday, Aug. 10 - Pretty Lights (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, Aug. 11 - Pretty Lights (Click here for tickets)
Wednesday, Aug. 29 - Illenium (SOLD OUT)
Friday, August 31 - Atmosphere (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, Sept. 1 - Gramatik w/ Gryffin, Haywyre and Ramzoid (Click here for tickets)
Friday, Sept. 7 - STS9 w/ What So Not, DJ Z-Trip (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, Sept. 8 - STS9 w/ Tauk, Cut Chemist (Click here for tickets)
Sunday, Sept. 16 - Trapfest ft. NGHTMRE and Slander (Click here for tickets)
Wednesday, Sept. 26 - Ms. Lauryn Hill (Click here for tickets)
Friday, Sept. 28 - Big Gigantic (Rowdytown Night One) (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, Sept. 29 - Big Gigantic (Rowdytown Night Two) (Click here for tickets)
Friday, Oct. 5 - Snails (Click here for tickets)
Thursday, Oct. 11 - Seven Lions (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, Oct. 13 - REZZ (Click here for tickets)
Saturday, Oct. 20 - Excision w/ SKisM b2b with Trampa, Barely Alive b2b with Phaseone and Virtual Riot, Dion Timmer, Subtronics and Wooli (Click here for tickets)
Friday, Oct. 26 - ZHU (Click here for tickets)