X Games brings two superstar DJs, two rap legends and one LCD Soundsystem to Aspen | AspenTimes.com

X Games brings two superstar DJs, two rap legends and one LCD Soundsystem to Aspen

In four years' time, the annual X Games outdoor concerts at Buttermilk have become arguably the most prominent pop music event of the year in Aspen.

These shows remake the bunny hill of Panda Peak into a massive, snowbound venue, with lights and lasers and effects (even occasional skydivers) and fill it with tens of thousands of X Gamers. Since the 2015 premiere of this set-up, the headliners have included the biggest names of the musical moment on the X Games stage — the Chainsmokers and Anderson .Paak last year, Skrillex and Twenty One Pilots the year before. So expectations are high for the 2018 rendition but are likely to be met with acts including the 21-year-old EDM phenom Martin Garrix, the rap legends Method Man and Redman, a reunited LCD Soundsystem and the anonymous DJ behind "Alone," Marshmello, on the bill.

MARTIN GARRIX

Buttermilk at 9:30 p.m. Friday, $45

Belly Up Aspen at 10 p.m. Saturday, $125

The story goes that an 8-year-old Martin Garrix watched Tiesto on television, spinning at the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, and was inspired to become a DJ. It wasn't all that long before the Dutch superstar — now 21 — had reached the pinnacle of the electronic dance music game. At 17, working on a computer in his bedroom, he made the double-platinum dance hit "Animals" and has solidified his place as a top global talent since then, teaming with the likes of Dillon Francis and Afrojack (and, of course, Tiesto) and headlining the biggest music festivals on Earth.

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Friday's show marks his Aspen debut.

METHOD MAN & REDMAN

Buttermilk at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, $25

Maybe you're a devotee of the oldies rap satellite radio station Backspin. Or maybe, like me, you're an aging hip-hop head who was in high school when Method Man and Redman's first collaborative album "Blackout!" was released in 1999. Either way, the legend of this pair of rappers is well known.

On their own, they're icons of hip-hop: Method Man for his work in the Wu-Tang Clan and classic 1990s solo albums like "Tical" and "Tical 2000;" Redman, the pride of Newark, New Jersey, for the perennial "Doc's Da Name." With their powers combined, they made one of the biggest hits in rap history — and still one of the great parry tracks — with "Da Rockwilder."

Do they still have it after all these years? We'll find out.

A third album called "Blackout! 3" has long been rumored to be in the works, along with a sequel to their 2001 stoner comedy film "How High." If they're onstage together in Aspen, maybe 2018 is the year.

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM

Belly Up Aspen at 10 p.m. today and Friday, $225

Buttermilk at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, $50

Who would've guessed that the most buzzed-about touring act of 2017 would be LCD Soundsystem? James Murphy and his vaunted dance-rock band dissolved in 2011 with a legendary Madison Square Garden concert and documentary film closing the band's era-defining run. And then, suddenly, last year, LCD made a surprising return with an album — "American Dream" — that proved they still had something to say, and headlining slots at what seemed like every major American music festival of the summer.

The dance rock band and New York icons have never played Aspen, though James Murphy did a DJ set at Belly Up in 2010 during the band's feverish heights following "This is Happening." These shows — two at Belly Up on Thursday and Friday before the big Saturday night concert at Buttermilk — promise to be the highlight of the winter for local music fans.

MARSHMELLO

Buttermilk at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, $35

Belly Up Aspen at 10 p.m. Sunday, $98

Don't feel bad if you don't know who Marshmello is. Nobody does.

The DJ with the cylindrical marshmallow smiley-face helmet on his head has kept his identity secret as he's crashed onto the global electronic scene over the past two years.

It started with a SoundCloud page and unauthorized remixes of tracks by Skrillex and Zedd and their ilk, and within two years Marshmello was everywhere with the inescapable hit "Alone," headlining Electric Daisy Carnival and landing on the Forbes highest-paid DJs list.

The Sunday afternoon shows at X Games have sometimes been laid-back affairs with the likes of Kygo and G-Eazy playing as the weekend winds down, but this year — with Marshmello playing before the big Snowboard SuperPipe Finals — it promises to be a party.

At press time, the LCD Soundsystem and Martin Garrix shows at Belly Up were sold out but tickets were still available for all of the shows at the Buttermilk venue. Along with the moderately priced single general admission tickets of $25 to $50, X Games is offering a four-show general admission pass for $150, a preferred admission pass promising better viewing, a cash bar and restrooms for $200 and a “Diamond Music Club” pass – which gets you beer, wine and a heated viewing patio – for $1,000.

Tickets for X Games shows at xgames.com; Belly Up tickets at the venue’s box office or http://www.bellyupaspen.com.