SnowBall Music Festival 2013 day two: Pretty Lights, Shlohmo and more (photos, review)By Dylan Owens | March 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
An early morning snow, along with a blast of cold, turned a good deal of the soft slush of Friday’s SnowBall Music Festival 2013 into a skating rink by Saturday night.
If you didn’t fall down, you probably weren’t dancing or skipping around or doing anything that people do after they bust through the gates of a music festival. The Groove Tent, the festival’s big DJ venue, was especially perilous. Hay was scattered for traction, but neither it nor the confetti that periodically rained down on the floor during a show’s peak were of much help. But with all the bass flying around, few seemed to mind.
Any time slot before 4 p.m. at a non-camping festival can be a tough sell, but despite the sparse crowd, Tumbleweed Wanderers did traditional rock proud at an otherwise laptop-centric festival. Their rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home” saw the crowd start to thicken, but alas! It was the band’s closer.
Delta Spirit fared better, but still didn’t pull in the crowds they would have elsewhere. They brought their A game right out of the gate with a high-energy “Money Saves.” Frontman Matt Vasquez did his part to keep the crowd alternately excited and confused, shouting things like “MTV beach house winter party!” and “Science!” between songs. Playing to the festival vibe, the band called an audible from what sounded like “Timebomb,” one of their slower songs, into the uptempo sing-along, “Strange Vine.”
Cut to L.A.’s Shlohmo, who was busy turning the Ballroom Tent into a veritable basement party. After briefly bitching about the cold weather, he focused on more unifying issues, like smoking weed. “If y’all have any weed, let it rain down upon him,” he said, arms in the air. The crowd made it so, literally stoning him with joints. With a few clouds of smoke, he laid into his set with the slow-and-low beats that inspired his name and packed the house on Saturday evening. Near the end of his set, he gave props to the audience and checked to see if he could play over his time for the people. It being a festival and all, it was impossible, but he promised he’d return to the great state of Colorado before long. Let’s hope so: Shlohmo’s set was one of Snowball’s finest moments, DJ or otherwise.
Back at the Groove Tent, after a brief intro, Orlando Higginbottom AKA Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs dug into his set with the most pop-sensible song, “Trouble,” the perfect start to a light, feel-good show. Higginbottom may have the most British name known to man, but you’d be hard-pressed to place his country of origin by just hearing him sing: There’s a distinct lack of British stiff upper lip in his electro-pop music that smacks of, I don’t know, James Blake on Zoloft. It’s a sound that had people dancing and sometimes falling all over themselves, thanks to the icy dance floor.
Saturday night’s headliner was Derek Smith’s Pretty Lights, who is, in many ways, the godfather of SnowBall. Not only was Smith the festival’s first headlining act back in 2011, but he can be credited with bringing L.A.’s electronic DJ craze into the hearts of his fellow Coloradans, a love without which there would be no SnowBall. Smith made good on what his fans had come to expect (more than just an incredible light array), and why they made it the most jammed-up show of the weekend. He got in about all the hits, especially “Hot Like Sauce” and “Finally Moving,” remixes included, as well as some newer stuff, like “We Must Go On,” a soulful song he dedicated “to the survivors.”
Doubtful he meant the show-goers, but by the end of his set and Snowball’s second night, the descriptor was getting more and more appropriate Electronic music festivals are exhausting in the best way, and after the second day and night of bouncing, the Snowballers began their second exodus to hotels and friend’s houses in Granby and Frazier to rest up— or, more likely, stay up—until it was time to do it again one more time on Sunday.
Dylan Owens is Reverb’s indie and bluegrass blogger. You can read more from him in Relix magazine and the comment sections of WORLDSTARHIPHOP.
Dylan Langille is a Fort Collins-based photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.