ABDJ Report: The Rocky Mountain Way, Purple Rain & More Bass, Please!

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Two months in, America’s Best DJ Summer Tour Presented by Pioneer DJ soldiers on. The frequent-flyer miles are piling up and it’s only been five weeks since the last time Delta Airlines’ baggage handlers destroyed any of our tour materials, so… hey, it’s been a good month.

As the voting (on-line and at the shows) continues to heat up (check out our Top 10 here), we figured it was time to offer up a new tour report. This go-round, it’s Denver, San Antonio and Minneapolis, with a big date coming up this weekend in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

Morrison, Colorado: This past July 14-16 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Global Dance Festival got off to a tough start, but blazed to a raucous ending. The first day saw its share of showers, but the stiff winds rolling down the Rockies made things especially tough on venders and attendees alike. By Day 2, things had improved—the rain was rarely more than intermittent, quick splashes and the performances were more memorable. In particular, over the festival’s final two days, six America’s Best DJ nominees hit the decks—Diplo (with Major Lazer), Manufactured Superstars, Dieselboy, Porter Robinson and Morgan Page.

But once again, it was Skrillex who rocked that bowl the most. In fact, when we arrived that afternoon to set up the America’s Best DJ voting booth, we had an early inclination that the Red Rocks main stage might go off. Fans were already in the upper parking lot, partying and blasting Skrillex’s popular EP, Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites, recalling their parents’ coliseum-rock, pre-show rituals. (A big thanks to Triad Dragons for hooking it all up.)

San Antonio, Texas: Same weekend, South Bend, Ind.-based, radio/club fave Sticky Boots rocked the COCO-XO club in San Antonio with two nights of mash-up madness. We couldn’t make the event (we were on the Rocky Mountain Way for GDF, after all), so a big thank-you goes out to COCO-XO’s Frederic Lebourg for making the arrangements.

Minneapolis, Minnesota: Then it was onto Bassgasm4, a proper, five-room rave held this past July 22 at the legendary First Avenue club, featuring two ABDJ noms: Klever and Christopher Lawrence, the 2008 champ.

The nine-hour event pushed the limits of sound in the venue made famous by Prince’s film, “Purple Rain.” Promoter Woody McBride’s massive system dropped a perpetual crunch in the main room, and the kids loved it. Klever mixed up his turntable tricks with dubstep moments, while CL closed out the night with some scorching techno and snippets of bewildering psy-trance. Also, our pal Peter Lansky (aka Soviet Panda) did a great job on the 7th Street Entry stage with a house/techno set that infused the evening with some old-school groove. Big thanks to McBride and the club for again putting on another superb event.

This weekend, it’s off to Clearwater Beach, Fla., for a Sunday beach party with Skribble at Shepherd’s Beach Resort. And after we clean the sand out of our sandals, it’s off to Atlantic City, N.J., for DJ Expo! We’ll be at the Trump Taj Mahal this Aug. 8-11 and we hope to see everything there for the Expo’s four days of exhibits, seminars and parties.
And don’t forget: One lucky ABDJ voter (online or in-person) will win a trip for two to Las Vegas to the America’s Best DJ Closing Party/Award Ceremony on Oct. 9 at the Marquee Nightclub. Gotta be in it, to win it.
—Jim Tremayne
Photo: www.darrinharrisfrisby.com