Colorado Decadence: Starting ’17 with the Best in Electronic Jams
Photos: Michael Hobson
The drive to let go and indulge lives at the very core of New Year’s Eve. That in mind, nothing represents the NYE spirit better than The City of Dreams here in Colorado. Located at the Denver Convention Center, rave kids and music lovers from all over congregate for a night of letting go, musical freedom, and more than anything… a freaking badass time. All at Colorado Decadence NYE.
Like the many years before it, the 2016-2017 Colorado Decadence NYE lineup did not disappoint. With newish acts blowing up the scene like Marshmello, to classic house and trance pioneers like Tiesto, there was a little something for everyone each night. While I could recall both nights fully for you, I’ll spare you the novel and give you the highlights of each night, all the way down to the ever-traditional countdown to 2017.
It seems as though on the first night, the marvelous minds of both AEG Live and Global Dance put a good amount of thought into the lineup and overall vibe for Colorado Decadence. In my opinion, the night was a bit more on the darker side. Tons of bass, red flashing lights and aggressive beats in straight hardstyle fashion seemed to be the theme for the night. Which, when you give it some consideration totally worked.
Now, I’m pretty sure we can all agree 2016 was a rough one. There’s nothing better than giving such a craptastic year the good ol’ FU by dancing away your woes. When I say Global Dance and AEG put thought into their lineup I mean they had symbolism coming out of their ears. It was a rough year, so naturally we need to get out all that pent up aggression on the dance floor. Even Marshmello, who is typically on the more bouncy and colorful side of the future house / trap genre, got a little grungy on the first night.
That being said, Marshmello was by far the best set of the night… sorry Bassheads. Not only did he play almost every song I wanted to hear, he played to his audience, as well. Whether they were more of the Bassnectar crowd or die hard members of the Mellogang, our fluffy headed hero played it all. And played it damn well. The room was filled and everyone was moving to the older, newer, and remixed by Marshmello. He even threw in some mixes from his Diplo and Friends mix, which filled my heart with so much joy I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.
The rest of the night was packed with heavy sounds and headbanging jams brought to you by, of course, Bassnectar. Only playing an hour and a half this year (compared to his two hour set last year). Other first night acts included Showtek, Zeds Dead, Griz, and many more.
Griz’ set was… interesting. And by interesting I mean super weird. There were a lot of changeups to what I’m typically used to hearing from the sexy saxophonist. Sultry funky jams were traded out for an electric guitar and a fair amount of live vocals. Not particularly my cup of tea compared to the amazing performances of Grant’s that we’ve seen in the past. But hey… The rest of the crowd seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. People were singing along and specifically the group standing next to us we’re gettin’ down. So what do I know?
Disclosure wrapped up the night and was a big shift from the motif of the hardstyle inspired evening. Lots of synth, lots of funk, and of course bouncy housey-ness for all. A perfect way to tie the night together and lead into the astounding night ahead.
Before I get into night 2 the decor of the convention center must be addressed. I thought the large geometric contraptions and laser lights from last year couldn’t be topped. Well our homies at AEG and Global Dance socks you in the face with even better lasers, giant glowing jellyfish and the coolest abstract balloons I’ve ever seen. The production value of Colorado Decadence didn’t stop at the pretty contraptions hanging from the ceiling either. There were awesome little touches all over the two nights. Even down to the light and sound scaffolding dropping and tilting to the music playing.
One thing I simply have to address I caught toward the end of the first night. Who’s idea was it to have a crew of models dressed as Native Americans holding PLUR signs? Was I the only one who called out the irony of this display considering the year’s events surrounding indigenous people? Our photographer Michael Hobson jokingly stated they were “Water Protectors,” given the “Sea of Dreams” theme Colorado Decadence NYE was broadcasting. While funny, it’s probably a bit of a stretch, or hopefully… not that insensitive. Regardless the other costumes were, of course, as intricate and pretty as always. Mermaids, stilt walkers and more were wandering around the festival grounds creating a lovely underwater fairytale feel.
Night two was definitely on the lighter side compared to night one. An homage to the hopefulness we all have of how 2017 just can’t be as awful as 2016. Definitely more house than hardstyle, the night’s acts included Big Wild, Michael Brun, FLUME, Tiesto and more.
I know what you might be thinking, “But Mags, what about the Chainsmokers?” Dude, what about them? I’ll be that guy, I’ll be petty. I loved the Chainsmokers back in 2012 with The Rookie, before #Selfie, and jesus christ before Closer. Kanye is an awesome song and I used to walk to class listening to Let You Go and Good Intentions on repeat. But I’ll be real, I didn’t even pop over to check out their show at Decadence given how I hear them every.single.day, multiple times a day on the radio. I’m a snob… Sue me.
But I digress! The moment we walked into the doors of Colorado Decadence NYE night 2 Michael Brun greeted us with a fluffy and happy house hug. The first song I heard was the one I was hoping for and there is honestly no better way to start a night of back-to-back amazing sets. I found out about Michael through Decadence announcements. While others were complaining that their fave big-house acts weren’t being announced, Michael took it upon himself to reach out and comment “Hey, I know you don’t know me, but I promise I’m going to put on an awesome show!” and boy did he. Props to you Brune, you had a huge audience and did not disappoint.
While Those-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named were playing we explored the silent disco. Given the reaction of our crew, and how packed the area was, the silent disco was a huge highlight of the weekend. There is something so fun about being able to switch to another DJ if you’re not digging what’s playing. Three DJ’s battled to have their color take over the crowed. Both nights had an awesome and refreshing mix of trap, dubstep and moody house. If you’ve never checked out a silent disco I really suggest you do. It’s a great time to explore artists you probably don’t know as well, and a great time to escape the much larger crowds if you need a breather but still want to dance.
As it got closer to 12, audiences picked their poison. Keep jamming with FLUME (who started around 11), or pile in for Tiesto to ring in the new year. Michael and I chose the latter as our crew stayed in fluffy FLUME land. While I would have loved to hear Say It, you simply can’t miss such a seasoned artist like Tiesto. As he counted down the crowded got close, lamenting the past year while swinging and swaying to the progressive house reverberating thunderous bass and happy electronic jams.
The clock struck 12 and the crowd went wild. As the sound fell away, you could hear the roar of the crowed “Happy New Year Everybody!” Tiesto shouted through balloons and confetti falling like a blizzard you never wanted to escape. It was a beautiful moment as strangers hugged, lovers kissed, and friends held one another close. Happy New Year indeed.
All in all this year’s Colorado Decadence NYE celebration was one for the books. For our second year in a row, it exceeded our expectations and then some. Now it’s time to wait patiently for Global Dance Fest in the summer to satisfy my craving for yet another phenomenally produced Global Dance and AEG festival.