After finally arriving in Winter Park, our first set of the night was Kendrick Lamar on the Mainstage. Because Krewella's 7:30 slot time in the Groove Tent conflicted with Kendrick's, attendees had no choice but remain in the Groove Tent for the remainder of their night, or slide their way up through the icey ground the mainstage laid upon. Although I wasn't too well versed in Kendrick's tunes, I've been to enough to enough Hip-Hop shows to realize when a performer holds the crowd in the palm of his hand, and that's precisely what Mr. Lamar did, leading the hungry audience through several of his recognizable anthems, most memorably his featured collab with A$AP Rocky, 'Fuckin Problems.' Naturally, he closed out the energy-driven set with his classic 'Swimming Pools,' setting a precedent for the weekend to come.
headlined the second night of Snowball after a stacked Saturday lineup. A Colorado native, Pretty Lights knows exactly what his audience expects, and in no way did he disappoint, seamlessly meshing each groovy composition into the next. His hour and a half long was beautifully mixed between time-honored classics and new material, bangers and chillers. The dance music veteran crafted a perfect set that had the crowd hanging on his every transition, ending the night with “We Must Go On,” a recently released single packed with upbeat, soulful samples and those classic, synthy PL melodies.
Pretty Lights is set to return to Colorado for a two night run at Red Rocks in early August. All of Pretty Lights' music is available for free download at www.prettylightsmusic.com
The third day of the Snowball Music Festival started off with a bang as Michael Menert took the stage at the Grove Tent to an eager crowd. Along with drummer A.C Lao, the beloved Pretty Lights Music-signed artist dropped a diverse set, which drew one of the largest daytime crowds of the festival and consisted of a few freestyles by Menert himself. The vocals were accompanied by Menert’s usual dose of chilled-out, electro hip-hop.
Each time I attend a Menert performance, I consistently notice a new level of perfection he garners. His stage presence creates a laid-back environment as the vibes flow through the crowd, always my experience personal and full excitement.
Menert, who co-produced label mate Pretty Lights' debut album and is himself a Colorado local will likely return early this summer. All of his music is free to download and can be found at:
Griz and Gramatik teamed up for a somewhat rare back-to-back 'Grizmatik' set on Sunday. Griz has been one of the fastest rising artists of the past year, recently migrating from his home-city Detroit to Colorado. The ex-Pretty Lights Music artist, Gramatik, recently started his own label, Lowtemp
, and is quickly becoming one of the genre's most diverse entertainers. The combined set contained many of each artist's own original tracks along with several Grizmatik-released tracks such as, “Digital Liberation is Mad Freedom” and “My People,” which were both received with incredible support from the crowd. I highly
recommend making an effort to catch a Grizmatik set in the near future.
Griz's album, “Mad Liberation,” can be downloaded at mynameisgriz.com. Be sure to check out Gramatik under his new Lowtemp label where he just released his first single, “Bluestep.”
Sunday night ended with a set that tore down the sides of the tent, literally. Crizzly, along with Lil' Flip, played an energetic set to the overflowing Ballroom Tent that escalated to the removal of the walls by the crowd initially and then by Snowball staff. The set was a perfect balance between Crizzly classics such as his remix of “Hard in da Paint” by Waka Flocka Flam and rap verses by Lil' Flip and his crew. The set naturally climaxed during “Way We Ball,” Crizzly’s collaboration with Lil Flip.
The organizers did an excellent job overlapping Crizzly with STS9, giving people with less interest in the latter another option. The eclectic set was a perfect end to an incredible weekend.
I will admit, however, the biggest problem with the event was that the festival grounds were frozen ice from the previous evening's heavy snowfall. The Snowball team attempted to lay down some hay for traction, to no avail. It seemed like after that, they basically gave up on the entire ordeal and let the audience deal with the icey conditions for the rest of the weekend. While I personally would have liked to see a little more effort in battling the conditions, overall the music far outweighed the icy circumstances only adding to the chaos that is outdoor electronic dance music in Colorado.
Graham Sondermann for Only The Beat