Sometimes all it takes is a blog to define, shape, and perpetuate a movement in the landscape of music. These days there are a lot of do-it-yourselfers out there, trying to fill a niche and expose people to things they are passionate about. Last night at the Larimer Lounge, Denver was treated to a show presented by a blog that featured a genre of electronic music first defined by a blog.
Glo Fi State of Mind presented by the blog Bonafide Hype, was a showcase of local electronic music and included a big name in the national chillwave scene. Glo fi (chillwave) is an emerging genre of electronic music characterized by its use of processed synths, samples and loops that draw much stylistic influence from '80s new wave and shoegaze, but is as airy as it is danceable. The vocals tend to have simple melodies and a highly filtered, reverberated sound. The term chillwave is purported to be coined by a blog, so it's appropriate and exciting that the show last night was put together by one.
The show did not feature chillwave exclusively, offering a good mixture of electronic music along the way. The first group to take the stage was Hollagramz, Denver locals that took the influence of dubstep and blended it with house and world inspired beats to come up with something that doesn't quite fit in any existing genre, but is very pleasing to hear. The duo of Cory Brown and Ron Cole injected a wide variety of sounds and tempos into their set - going from slow with booming bass and womp, to fast paced tracks laced with beats with a heavy tropical, Latin and European influence. I loved their Hollagramz styled remix of "Show Me Love" by Robin S. and especially enjoyed their standout original 2-step-garage-meets-house-and-bass track "Serpent Magnetism".
Next up was E.V.S. (Eternal Vibration Sequence), a new local jamtronica (electronic jam) band. Although not chillwave, these guys had the appropriate chill vibe in their music. Cole Hopfenspirger and Tom Moore manned the computers while Steven Bullen provided the drumming. Cole would also break out the electric guitar for some songs, while Tom would add percussion with bongos. They added a little extra stage production to go with their show, with a video projection put together by local artist and graphic designer Kevin Daviet. It was a very energetic and enjoyable performance - a set that included electronica similar to STS9 but to me, less repetitive and with more stylistic variance. It was a good high-energy blend of rock and electronic music; if you like electronic jam bands, keep on the lookout for this recent Global Battle of the Bands winner.
The show took a step towards chillwave when Denver local dreampop group Flashlights hit the stage. It was their first performance since returning home from a short west coast tour, and it seemed the crowd was happy to welcome them back, as they had the largest audience of the night. Flashlights got the mood right, dimming the lights to almost darkness aside from a few spinning stage lights that glowed like illuminated disco balls. It was a clever idea, but without spotlights on Ethan Converse and Sam Martin, it was hard to see what the band was doing. It's a shame, because the last time I saw Flashlights, what stood out to me was being able to clearly see the passion and expression on Ethan's face as he sang, and the hypnotic way Sam would bob to the music as he played the keyboard. Otherwise, it was a quality set from Flashlights, playing songs from Hidden Behind Trees, especially my three favorites "Holidays", "Glowing Eyes" and "New Hampshire", as well as some new material including "New Hampshire Part II", available on the GOLDRUSH music festival compilation.
Finally it was time for the main event, Ohio's own chillwave extraordinaire Brothertiger. John Jagos brought to Denver with him his signature '80 inspired lo-fidelity beats, airy melodic synthesizers, and dreamy subdued vocals. I really like how reminiscent his style is to '80s new wave, but the synth and vocals make it well suited for a party in the clouds. I enjoyed the soft dance-ability and slow grooves of "Feels" and "Lovers". He also dropped one his newest releases, the infectiously melodic track "Like Water", with a pop-friendly synth line that sounds like gentle water droplets dripping into a clear pond.
There was a decent turnout at the Larimer Lounge last night, but no where near enough to create the required energy to best experience the show. All the featured music is still very new, and perhaps the word just hasn't gotten around far enough that this type of music exists. The local bands did a great job performance wise, and I'm excited that we have pioneers of new music right here in this city. Brothertiger was an extremely good representative of chillwave, but I think much of the crowd was frozen trying to figure out what they were seeing and hearing. Brothertiger's straight-forward stage production was anti-climactic compared to the two bands that were on stage before Brothertiger, which isn't a big deal to me, but I think had an affect on the way the crowd perceived the show.
Overall it was not a bad effort for first-time show producers Bonafide Hype. They did a good job of bringing in a solid lineup of talent, keeping the music close together in style but varied throughout the night to keep it all interesting. It wasn't the largest crowd, nor was it the most passionate I've seen, but as the music grows and evolves, so will the audiences that come to enjoy it. The people behind Bonafide Hype have a good ear for what's new in electronic music, so keep an eye out for their next production, as I'm sure they'll do an impeccable job.
See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page an keep updated.