Last Sunday, Portland based musician Emancipator came to Red Rocks to close out his very first Red Rocks show at the best venue on the planet! It’s been something they’ve had in the works for years, and they’ve finally had the opportunity to bring it to light with some spectacular acts to share the stage with.
Firing off the show at 5:30, sharp Machine Drum hit the stage and kicked the night off with some spacey trip-hop beats that echoed throughout the parking lots. As the crowd filled in the rows, next up was an artist I never thought I’d see in my lifetime at Red Rocks…The one and only Rjd2. When I first heard “Ghostwriter”, I was 16 years old watching the Habitat Skateboards Mosaic skate video that had just released. Tim O’Connor and Brian Wenning shared a video part together slaying the streets of NYC and Philly to Rjd2’s unpopular song at the time Ghostwriter. It got me so hyped to go out and emphasis my skateboarding to new levels.
Til this day, I never thought that I would see that song rack up almost 40 million views on Spotify! Rjd2 put out a fabulous set list that included “A Beautiful Mine”, which some of you may remember from the AMC hit tv series “Mad Men”, as well as; See You Leave, Doin’ It Right, Smoke & Mirrors, Peace of What, and many other classic hits. They also performed some new ones from his most recent released album Dame Fortune, if you haven’t had the chance to give it a listen, I highly recommend you do so. Rjd2 set the vibes in the crowd for the next act, an Australian based stomach morphing bass-dolloping electronic artist and DJ Oscar Davey-Wright aka Opiuo.
The band hit the audience with funkadelic, glitchy sounds of Jelly erupting from brass instruments. Opiuo’s On Your Side set the course for the night. If you know Opiuo at all, then you’ll know that he likes to surprise the audience and mix up set lists. Some of the major songs that stood out to me were PS GFY, a Griz cover remixed by Opiuo and “One Day They’ll Know” a Pretty Lights cover they remixed as well. Huxley Hustle made the crowd break out in a rhythmic dance party that kept the energy levels high for the headliner. After The Opiuo Band took a selfie with the audience, they headed off stage to allow the amazing Red Rocks crew to switch the stage over for Emancipator.
Finally the moment everyone had been waiting for all night. The Emancipator Ensemble came on stage with heart dropping Nevergreen sounds of the violin that could be heard for miles as he performed from Dusk til Dawn. As we sailed the Seven Seas, He took us back to the Greenland where, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough to Build Fires. As their 90 minute set continued the colorful lights from the stage reflected off the rocks under the moonlight in awe. As always, the vibes in the crowd were an experience of a lifetime. We made our way throughout the crowd running into familiar faces, making new friends and wishing a blissful happy birthday to a newcomer who had never experienced something quite like Red Rocks.
The Ensemble carried along as the crowd acted as Barnacles to the sounds that echoed off the rocks. Like an Ocelot, the ensemble took us from Land & Sea deep into the atmosphere where the audience carried the energy to end the night. They ended on a high note, taking photos with the crowd as well. I hope everyone enjoyed the show as much as we did! Don’t miss out on The Emancipator Ensemble at the Luna Light Music & Arts Festival in Darlington, MD on September 28th! ‘Til then, cheers!
All Words by Daniel Kepple of Raw Media Labs