Road Trip Report: Decadence in Denver
Special to The Aspen Times
I remember as a kid in the 1990s seeing music videos from Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx on TV. As I got older, watching movies such as “Go” always had that appeal of how crazy the rave scene in the ’90s must have been.
Now, in 2014, with the electronic music scene and the festivals around the world, I am able to get a little bit of that ’90s rave scene pumping through my blood. Who cares that I am about to be 30? Not me, and especially not the other ravers who dance around me without a care in the world.
So a couple months ago a festival called Decadence began announcing the lineup for the two-day event/rager that takes place on Dec. 30 and 31 in Denver. The names kept getting bigger with each announcement. First it was Bassnectar, then Big Gigantic, then Zedd and Kaskade.
My buddy Sean and I hit each other up, knowing where we were going to ring in New Year’s. Nothing was going to stop us — not work, not girlfriends, not the four-hour wintery road trip to Denver.
The months passed and we counted the days down to our New Year’s Eve celebration. Then last week, it came. I got to the office early on Dec. 31 so I could jet down to Denver around noon. Sean was already down in Denver recovering from the first night, with his head still pounding from the beats of Bassnectar.
Noon hits. I hop in my car and start the journey to Denver, the only thing on my mind the night ahead of me. Music blasting out of my speakers and nothing but dancing all night long to beats from artists around the world is what I expect.
I get to Denver and we do the typical New Year’s thing: meet up with our crew to get some early drinks in our system and talk about our expectation of the night ahead.
“Let’s get out of here,” one of our crewmembers says.
We all agree time to head to Decadence.
As I walk through the doors of the Colorado Convention Center, I can feel the energy of the crowd. People everywhere waiting in line and taking escalators up to the doors of the venue, looking almost heaven-like with people in costumes and arrangements of all sorts. To say “rave gear” would be putting down the hard work some of these people put into their New Year’s costumes. The best way to describe it would be “Phantom of the Opera” meets Phish on acid with a Disney twist.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Some warehouse with stages and electronic music. Wow, could you not be more wrong. I am talking two giant stages, stage performers on stilts walking around, a merry-go-round from some creepy scary movie and let’s not forget beautiful women everywhere, wearing pieces of clothing that resemble my dental floss.
The music on both stages was set up almost like a great dream. You had Snails with his grimey, dark hip-hop tracks start it off, then lead up to GrizMatik with their heavy- hitting beats and then you were able to ring in the New Year with the Colorado boys Big Gigantic and their funky dance-style tracks. Then finish up the night with explosive cuts from world-renowned Kaskade and the dubstep of Flux Pavillion.
All I can say is when I woke up the next morning I was ready for 2015, and left every inch of my soul at the party called Decadence and in the year of 2014.
See you next year, Decadence.
Back in 2013, while working on a proposed box set of archival recordings, singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge came across a group of songs that had been recorded in the late 1980s but never released.
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