Last June, Bassnectar, as promised, blew Red Rocks wide open with an extremely loud, but extremely awesome three hour set. A highlight of the night was when Bassnectar dropped a noticeably killer track – Minnesota’s hard hitting “Purple Daze,” a song with a deep, dub-mandolin baseline followed by a monumental T-Rex whomp.
Naturally, the crowd went off, most of them assuming it was a new Bassnectar track. However as people scoured the Internet looking for the tune days later like crack heads looking for rock, many realized that it was Minnesota, MartyParty’s partner in crime on their DeathStar project, that produced the beautifully dirty song.
We instantly followed Minnesota closely, seeing him at Cervantes back in August on a whim (and on a work night), which really opened our eyes to his abilities and potential. For this reason, we were not only hyping this up to everyone in our show crew, but we were also not surprised to hear whispers that Minnesota should be headlining over Paper Diamond.
Mark our words; this guy will be huge within the year. Signing with Madison House should also give him a lot of exposure to other artists under their management, and if he can get out there and tour he will gain a big following.
But for now, his following is a bit small. And although his following is small, it is loyal, so it was a bit surprising that the show on Friday at Ogden Theater wasn’t even close to selling out. And when Minnesota came on, many people went to the bar or lobby, outside to smoke a cigarette, or to hit the john. But when the bass got louder, people realized what the fuck was going on and flooded back into the pit.
The deep bass emerged with the drop of Purple Daze, which as you can see from above, is our favorite Minnesota track. But his true potential showed when he bumped DeathStar’s version of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,'' followed by a whompy remix of Elle Goulding’s “Starry Eyed.”
The crowd was fucking loving it after he dropped "Crush on You" by Nero, which was so appropriate after seeing Skrillex and Nero on Halloween earlier that week. He finished out the set with a nice Pretty Lights remix. While his lights weren’t pretty, we would bet that the next time we see him, his light setup will reflect his popularity – it will be huge. People at the show were left wondering why he couldn’t have played longer, and frankly, we can’t wait for the next time for him to roll into town.
And then there was Paper Diamond.
Boulder-based producer Alex Botwin, or simply, Alex B, has been gracing the industry with his driving bass, rich tones and spacey sounds for quite a while and has helped put Colorado electronica on the map. A seasoned producer involved with such projects as Pnuma Trio, and currently producing under the Pretty Lights Music label, there seems to be only one direction he can move – up.
While the Swaager crew was still reeling from the face-melting set that was Minnesota, it left many of us wondering, “Would Paper Diamond kill it, or would Minnesota blow him out of the water?” Thankfully, Alex B brought it, and he brought it hard. After we ran outside for a quick cigarette and a beer refill it was time for yet another whompy, backbreaking dance party. Opening with ''All the Green Lights,'' Botwin. got the crowd moving with thumping bass and, fittingly, swirling green lights.
As we mentioned above, it was a little weird being at the Ogden on a Friday and not have the show be sold out. Seeing Botwin drop songs like ''Levitate'' (off his new free EP,Levitate), and a remix of the Skrillex song, ''Ruffneck Full Flex,'' while still having plenty of room to dance was a rare treat. While the halfway vacant balconies were a strange sight, the Swaager crew couldn’t have cared less. Let’s face it, more room for us right?
The light set up was pretty basic compared to say, Skrillex at the 1st Bank Center, but was still effective. Combined with the killer sound system at the Ogden, the rich jewel tones and swirling patterns created a fitting atmosphere for the music.
We are always down when DJ’s drop tracks by their peers and Paper Diamond was no different. In perhaps homage to the mind-melting, crazy fucking dance party that was Skrillex on Halloween, Botwin dropped the Knife Party Remix, ''Crush on You.'' This track has been EVERYWHERE this summer and never ceases to get dubstep haters to drop down and get a lil grimy.
Closing with remixes like the SBTRKT song ''Wildfire,'' (perhaps to prepare for SBTRKT’s performance at Bluebird Theater the following night), Botwin left us sweating, dirty and tired. After seeing him outdoors at Jazz Aspen Snowmass, it was cool to see how his music translates in an indoor venue, especially at the Ogden where the plywood floors embrace the bass and the vibrations can be felt through your shoes.
If we had to pick, we’d say Paper Diamond is better indoors and we can’t wait to see the type of sounds he creates in the future. Dare we come out and say that he might be the next Pretty Lights? We’ll just have to wait and see.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Minnesota, aka Christian Bauhofer, to chat about how he got his start and where he is headed.