Deadrocks is like a holiday in Denver, Zeds Dead fans travel from near and far to share their love of that killa killa sound at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado. […]
Deadrocks is like a holiday in Denver, Zeds Dead fans travel from near and far to share their love of that killa killa sound at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado. Three years ago, they added the Jamboree BBQ daytime event at Civic Center Park, where fans can enjoy an array of different artists, activities, and more, after two days of music at Deadrocks. I had the opportunity to cover this year’s run, and it was something I will remember for the rest of my life.
Zeds Dead was my introduction to electronic music back in 2010. Seeing them at Red Rocks has always been a dream and this year it finally came true. I was lucky enough to attend the second day of Deadrocks, along with the Jamboree on July 4th, and the “Hangover” Mission Ballroom show later that evening. The energy I felt waking up that Monday morning was unreal, I couldn’t wait to finally see Zeds Dead throwing down at Red Rocks for their ninth year of Deadrocks, especially with the lineup they had curated for us. From top to bottom, it was stacked with proper sounds spanning bass genres, like A Hundred Drums b2b Coki, Tape B, Hamdi, and Rohaan.
DAY 2 DEADROCKS
The weather was gorgeous the morning of Day 2, and as my friend and I walked into the venue, NIK P had just started playing. We ran to row 29, seats 56 and 57 and had the perfect view. His set was amazing, the energy and genres he was rinsing were the perfect way to kick off what was set to be an evening we’d never forget. Honestly, nothing beats walking into Red Rocks and seeing the stunning view while music is vibrating throughout it.
After that, Rohaan came on, the sun was beating down and the energy was continuing to stay high, especially with all the UK sounds he was bringing to his set. Finally having the opportunity to catch a set from him at an event and venue like that was unreal, he certainly gave attendees a lesson on proper sounds that have influenced so many here in the States. It was the perfect journey through genres. Everyone in that venue was getting wiggly from beginning to end.
Next up, was Hamdi, making his debut set in Denver and at Red Rocks with a set attendees had been talking about since the lineup’s support had dropped. It was a journey of genres and influential sounds yet again, exciting the old heads and the new ones, with genres like Garage, Dub, and so much more. Mother Nature decided to rain down a little too and it only added to the vitality of the audience’s experience.
Following Hamdi was the b2b from the legendary Coki and A Hundred Drums, things started off a little rocky at first with the weather, but thankfully within a few minutes things were fixed and everyone was ready to dance. The energy between the two of these tastemakers flowed like the rain coming down from the sky, and by the time their set ended, so had the rain. They played crazy sounds, including some Distinct Motive and a plethora of other speaker-system-friendly bangers. Something about having that weather completely changed the vibrancy of the audience, it was the refresher everyone needed before the madness of the headlining Zeds Dead set began.
Finally, it was time for the boys to come, the buzzing in the crowd was some of the greatest passion I’ve been around in a long time, and it was without a doubt, one of the best Zeds Dead sets I’ve seen. They took us on a journey through OG tracks like “Cracks,” the original DnB version of “Gold Dust,” and beloved ZD tracks like “Lost You” and “Coffee Break.” Throughout their set, they had visuals playing of the original music to coincide with and really pay homage to where some of their remixes came from. For instance, when they played this swankly little DnB number for “Say My Name,” they had the original Destinys Child music video playing with it.
We felt like seeing the singer that was sampled or the movie scene that was in a song would really bring home the whole ethos of what we’re all about. Really give a nod to sampling and remix culture.
— Zeds Dead (@zedsdead) July 6, 2023
Night 2 has always been said to be the hits and that felt extra true this year. Everyone danced and sang together and went buck-wild when things got heavy, it was truly one of the greatest nights and experiences of my life. All I can think about is next year and the madness that’s going to go down for the ten-year anniversary!
JAMBOREE + DEADBEATS HANGOVER @ MISSION BALLROOM
The next day, July 4th, was the Jamboree. I arrived early to get a lay of the land and catch a set from Fury at the DnB stage. As soon as the gates opened, people ran in and started taking pictures in front of the Deadbeats blow-up sign that overlooked the Civic Center building. There were countless activities aside from the music, like a donut on a string game, bouncy houses, a festival makeup station, a hot dog eating contest on the main stage (hosted by HEYZ), and lots more. It felt like a mini festival packed into one day of fun. But, unfortunately, while the weather was extremely hot to start out, the rain came in heavy later and sets had to be moved around and rearranged.
Black Carl! and Saka’s Rush Hour set ended up getting changed around, but that didn’t stop them from going wild and throwing down one of my favorite sets from that day. Truth, ended up getting affected due to weather at the Jamboree, but their performance was moved to Mission Ballroom, which was great news for anyone with a ticket. Zeds Dead was supposed to play later, but their set was moved up as well, and sadly mother nature had other plans and brought in a heavy rainstorm. Everyone had to leave and take cover until it subsided and was allowed back in. Some stayed, but many of us, myself and friends included, decided to head to Mission Ballroom to get ready for two more ZD sets, alongside Truth, and Vampa (whose set also had been moved from the Jamboree).
When I arrived, Integrate was on, and you could feel an infectious energy in the air, especially being able to escape the rain and enjoy more great music. Black Carl! and VCTRE have some of the best chemistry, watching a set from those two is always a treat. After Vampa, it was time for Truth, and for many of us, this was the first time seeing both of them together. It’s a rare occurrence to catch a set from both at the same time, as one of the duo is based in Australia, so we knew this set was sure to be really special. My friends and I immediately stood up when we saw them get on stage, feeling an array of exuberance and curiosity for what was about to go down. They absolutely WENT IN, playing countless bangers, including one of my favorites“Subchaser.” Watching everyone around us lose it to that track filled my heart up with so much happiness. Sharing in a love for those deep, dark, and dangerous sounds this duo flaunts is a beautiful way to connect with fellow DDD fans.
From there, we waited a little for the first Zeds Dead set of the evening, the excitement bubbling like a kid on Christmas. Finally, it was time. They came on and opened with “In The Beginning,” hearing those distinctive wobbles start to vibrate through the venue and hearing everyone shout “YA Y’A’LL, THAT’S RIGHT” together put the biggest smile on my face. Everyone went absolutely nuts, and it certainly set the tone for what the rest of the set was going to be like, packed with high enthusiasm and banger after banger after banger. The second set was mostly a b2b with their special guest, NGHTMRE, which was just as absurd.
I will remember this week for the rest of my life, seeing Zeds Dead, the artists who started it all for me, at an event like Deadrocks over a decade later, was one of the most special experiences. Being part of such a beautiful community and hearing those OG sounds that were a part of so many of our introductions to this music is something I will treasure forever. A huge thank you to all the attendees, artists, and of course, Zeds Dead for making these experiences happen for us. I cannot wait for the ten-year anniversary next year. See you all at Red Rocks!
Header Image: Nathen Lane Media