It first started to feel like Spring last week and for those souls chained to cubicles inside office buildings the pull to get out and move was irresistible. Their weekend couldn’t wait until Friday, so on last Thursday the Highline Ballroom played host to the music hungry masses by bringing Buku, ill.esha, and Phutureprimitive to its cozy stage. The crew brought some music that defies genre, and made sure everyone kept their feet moving.
ill.esha is a musician and DJ from Vancouver by way of San Fran, and now holds it down in Denver. Working in the biz from the age of fourteen she’s been a singer, an MC, fronted for a live band, and knows the nitty-gritty of music production, traveling with her own special pre-amps and mics to make sure the audience really hears what’s in her head. A true old school soul she spent most of her life spinning on vinyl and is so moved by sound and the desire for the organic that she always makes sure to bring an audio recorder with her in case she hears that perfect noise. ill.esha knows how to throw it down live too, bringing an actual, flesh and blood trumpet player on the stage with her; and singing, mixing, looping, adding effects and rockin’ on a QuNeo drumpad; like an indie Imogen Heap. A testament to her skill, something happened with her headphones, so she did it all without them. I’m serious, no ear gear, check the photos. What a boss! Her set was amazing too. Elements of glitch, hip hop, dubstep, midtempo, chillstep, you couldn’t count on both hands the amount of genres her music covered and it’s really not the point. It was the kind of performance that gets people to turn around and dance with each other instead of holding up their phones and staring at the stage. One of the best things about the performance was the energy coming from her- she seemed like she’s having the time of her life.
The star of the night was Phutureprimitive. His other nickname is Rain but it’s the first name that makes you think about the amazing technology of our world and its juxtaposition with humanities uncivilized behavior. His music tells stories and he loves to make people dance so he creates rich layers of sound that enveloped the crowd in the Highline Ballroom. With a style that ranges from psytrance to glitch hop to dubstep, he can move back and forth between them in a single song. He played a bunch of cuts from Part 1 of his new album Searching for Beauty in the Darkest Places like the pulse pounding pace and morphing vocals of “Only You”. He played another track called “Enemy” featuring vocalist Jillian Ann singing haunting lyrics about love conquering all. He moves his set up and down emotionally, using the dancers on stage at times to hype the crowd up, and at other times using songs like his remix of “Mad World” to slow things down and allow him to control the tempo of the night. Most of the people that were at the HLB at the beginning were there at the end of the night and they got a great show. If you get the chance to see any of the artists while they’re still on tour I suggest you don’t miss it. You can check out the rest of their dates here.