On Friday afternoon, a accountant at the Walgreens on Broadway mentioned that the abundance was awash with out-of-staters in boondocks to affair at some music anniversary at the Overland Park Golf Course. Heard of that place? Nah, a chump replied.
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Earplugs, sunscreen and baptize were still in stock, so there wasn’t absolutely a charge for anniversary supplies. But it was busy. Abundant busier than normal: Grandoozy had appear to Denver.
An Uber driver, carriage me from the Westword appointment to the festival, mentioned the amount of tickets: “It’s $90-something for the weekend, right?” she asked. “Nope, $90-something a day,” I replied. Her eyes ashamed out. (It’s absolutely $110 now.)
Having apparent Jerry Garcia comedy Berkeley with the Grateful Dead and Freddie Mercury comedy with Queen, she said she was aflame that so abounding bands — best of which she’d never heard of — were in town, affidavit of what a fun burghal Denver was becoming.
The affair is on at Grandoozy.
When I accustomed at 2 p.m., though, it was cryptic whether anyone would appearance up for the fun. The few admirers trickling in saw a phalanx of aegis guards cat-and-mouse for somebody to screen. Alone die-hard anniversary attendees, who had taken vacation time or didn’t accept a job but somehow had money to pay for tickets, sauntered assimilate the golf advance in the aboriginal afternoon. Mostly, it was appealing bodies and not-so-pretty journalists.
If it weren’t for the acting stages and buildings, it wouldn’t accept acquainted abundant added awash than a boilerplate day on the fairway. By ablaze architecture or acceptable fortune, though, the stages created adumbration that broadcast throughout the afternoon, correlating to how abounding bodies were in the audience. If bodies capital to breach cool, they had to arch to the front. That kept alike the aboriginal crowds calm and abutting to the musicians.
Busy as it became later, it was a abashment added bodies didn’t get there aboriginal in the day. That’s aback best of the bounded acts hit the date — and they were good. From alpha to end, every artisan delivered. (Make a note: Get there aboriginal for the blow of this countdown Grandoozy, and for every one hereafter).
By the time bodies got off work, ran home to don their anniversary attire, pre-partied and took the train, bus, Uber or a bike to the no-parking festival, it looked like the Superfly promoters had pulled it off: The abode was packed. Anybody with a blow of agoraphobia was either captivation aback tears or blame their way through the army to a quiet spot.
Grandoozy has three big stages — Rock, Paper and Scissors. Bedrock and Scissors accept artists arena at the aforementioned time. Aback those acts end, addition takes to the Paper stage. They’re abutting abundant that bodies who can airing at a acceptable blow can bolt every artist, but far abundant afar that complete doesn’t drain too much. The promoters run the appearance with aggressive precision, and on the aboriginal day, there was rarely a moment aback admirers had to delay added than ten account for a set to begin.
Soaring Denver pop act AMZY played the aboriginal addendum of Grandoozy from the Bedrock date and launched into an active performance. A massive bank brawl with the band’s name on it bounced over the crowd. On the scissor stage, Flaural played a competent but chastened set to a scattering of bodies who were accepting in the affection with some aberrant ball moves — bodies who would afterwards be comatose out beneath trees.
Roger Sellers, who plays beneath the moniker Bayonne, offered heavily produced, beginning trance-inspired cyberbanking pop. He’s a absorption mustachioed performer, clad in a minimalist atramentous outfit, who transcends the hot-guy-with-some-gadgets-and-no-skill nonsense of EDM with added intricate, softer sounds undergirded with a bass that ashamed so adamantine that bolt affronted adjoin bark and earplugs about captivated aback the onslaught. He makes the affectionate of music ill-fitted for a abstracted drive bottomward the California coast, not the bass-meets-jam-band actuality of the Rocky Mountains. Frankly, his ascetic achievement was a abatement here.
Andy Frasco of Andy Frasco and the UN accepting the army involved.
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After Bayonne captivated up, Andy Frasco and the U.N. played a antic bluesy set. “Thanks for assuming up. I feel like I’m the badge Jew on this stage, y’all,” Frasco said, acquainted that afterwards him, Ty Dolla $ign, Miguel and Kendrick Lamar would play.
Frasco’s bandage played in advanced of footage of his dopplegänger, Bob Ross. For kids too adolescent to remember: He’s that PBS artisan from the ’80s, a white guy with a big ’fro who accomplished Gen Xers how to acrylic clouds and trees. On Frasco’s piano was a fifth of Jameson — maybe more.
“I plan to alcohol this accomplished canteen in 45 minutes,” the breadth of his set, he said.
Most of the band’s songs were irresistible, authentic dejection and R&B-infused bedrock and roll. His crass badinage — “We’d bigger skull-fuck this crowd” (at atomic that’s what I anticipate I heard and appealing abundant what they did) — was easier to resist, as was the act’s final song, a awning of Rage Adjoin the Machine’s “Killing in the Name.” No matter: Final songs at a anniversary are beneath important than they are at a approved concert; everybody’s headed to the abutting best thing.
Over at the Scissors stage, Jade Bird wailed and strummed her acoustic guitar, singing about adulation absent and adulation found, bemused to be there. At times, her bequest singer-songwriter numbers acquainted musty, but were active up aback she switched from nice-folkie approach to agreeable punk.
Those acts were followed by the Denver darlings in Tennis. Lead accompanist Alaina Moore about confused aback she performed, and aback she did, admirers went wild. Afterwards a few dawdling cornball songs, Alaina Moore decrepit an acknowledgment for how adult she was that day. Her admirers admired it; my eyes rolled.
The band’s subtlety is unmatched; it was so attenuate that I began to admiration if my claret amoroso was abolition or if the songs were inducing sleep. So I took a burrito breach and came aback aloof in time for my admired Tennis song, “Never Assignment for Free.”
The bandage makes acutely acceptable music. Their performance, admitting sparse, agitated fans. And by the end of the set, they won over the growing crowd. Still, it wasn’t abolition claret amoroso that had lulled me.
Ty Dolla $ign played some bangers for the crowd.
Then, on the capital stage, Ty Dolla $ign resuscitated the festival. Decked out in a John Lennon T-shirt and bound checkerboard pants, the crooning rapper approved why hip-hop bedeviled the capital date aperture night and why it’s become the better brand of our time: That music is alive.
As he played, Grandoozy started attractive like a absolute music festival. Ty Dolla $ign formed the crowd, agreeable whoever “has the best edger in Denver” on date to alcohol a attempt and smoke a joint. His abetment bandage and advertising men drummed admirers into a frenzy.
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I capital to go bolt some of what Bishop Briggs offered, but the army had assuredly showed up, and I was cornered, so I ashore it out through the abounding Ty Dolla set.
When he bankrupt out a bass and played it in that hey-guys-look-I’m-a-real-musician way, he punctured the crowd’s energy. But he brought it aback for the aftermost song, singing about partying, branch into the army and wrapping up against the aback of the audience, while a abstruse arrangement of agony porn — cops, dogs, Civil Rights-era actuality — played on the big screen.
After that, Big K.R.I.T. kept the army affective at the Paper stage, alms his conscious, upbeat, love-infused raps and reminding fans, “We’re all kings and queens of our own destiny.”
He was followed by two sets: The indie-rockers in Phoenix on the Scissors stage, who did what they do well, from what little I saw, but pretty pop brilliant Miguel was calling.
As I raced to the Bedrock stage, I noticed bodies in apparel — misfits in the army of about clad, sequined festivarians. I was boring so intensely, aggravating to amount out who they were and why on apple they’d abrasion apparel on a hot day, that I about tripped over Ambassador Michael Hancock, as he and his associates were accustomed a bout by anniversary controlling ambassador David Ehrlich (smartly cutting shorts).
By the time I accomplished that I should apparently ask the ambassador some questions, he was actuality aerated into the VIP area and I was actuality absorbed by Miguel with his bawdy, sex-positive, emotionally sensitive, drug-loving pop.
Some bodies are VIP.
Distracting bodies from backroom _ alike journalists? That’s what pop does best.
Miguel did action some acceptable admonition for attendees: “If you’re a fellow, easily off if you don’t accept permission.” He said that afore ablution into a song about fucking all night and addition allurement “Do you like drugs? Me, too. Me, too” and addition new number, “So I Lie,” about how bodies affected actuality blessed in this rotten world.
War on Drugs offered aboveboard bedrock with casual circuitous jams. The music was mostly great, but I was focused on accepting a acceptable atom to see Kendrick Lamar and headed over to grab a acceptable spot.
But cat-and-mouse angry out to be pointless.
By the time Lamar was slated to appear on, bodies pushed and prodded their way through the countless of accommodating suckers and fabricated an already awash bearings untenable. Then some guy appear that the concert would board blow mortars that would actualize “loud booming effects.”
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I ached for Helene Orr and her bandage of neighbors in the Overland Park neighborhood who had afraid that the anniversary would be a abhorrence appearance for aged residents. It’s one affair to accept adamant bass from EDM DJs anguish all day, as they’d feared; it was addition to about-face the anniversary into what articulate like it would be a war zone.
Lamar came on anon afterwards he was slated to — a merciful action for any amateur and a assurance that Grandoozy is accomplishing things right. His access included one of those mortars, and yep, it was loud. So were the fireworks afterwards his show.
But aggregate in amid — Pulitzer Kenny’s achievement included songs from beyond his career — was artlessly stunning: politically provocative, emotionally accessible and hard-lined. All those abrasive documentary-style poetics are the adverse of the party-without-care vibe of a festival, which fabricated his achievement all the added subversive.
Sure, admirers can escape avant-garde horrors by dancing a weekend abroad at a golf course. And of advance they can animation to Lamar’s songs — with added than a few white bodies belting out the N-word with carelessness in some abnormal solidarity. But not afterwards a admonition that the apple can be a dangerous, racist place.
My apropos afterwards the show, though, were not so focused on the barbarous amusing affray of Denver. They were absolute bougie: Transportation out of the anniversary was abhorrent — admitting not as bad as it could accept been.
Passengers delay and delay for an Uber.
As an experiment, anniversary night I’m aggravating all three recommended methods to see which is cheapest, fastest and easiest. Aftermost night I approved Uber, the ride-share aggregation that’s the official sponsor of the festival. The burghal had shut off an absolute lane of Santa Fe Drive to board Ubers and Lyfts — but still a quagmire formed.
Desperate workers barked orders as they approved to assemblage bashed music admirers assimilate the sidewalk so that they would stop active in advanced of cars. Uber drivers, acquisitive to accomplish a few bucks, were ashore cat-and-mouse in an amaranthine line, accepting calls from actual important barter with actual important letters advertence the obvious: The cartage was a actual clusterfuck.
It was about as admitting Uber had orchestrated a accumulation performance-art allotment demonstrating what a bad abstraction rideshare casework can be for contest like this.
I assuredly begin my Uber driver, who’d appear to Colorado from Iraq aback in 2008 as a translator for the U.S. military.
He was bent about the traffic, advice his acquaintance into the alone words that fabricated sense: “Fuck, fuck, shit, fuck.” Festival-goers darted in advanced of us; bashed bikers and added drivers weaved beyond lanes. It was a doozy of a mess.
By the time he pulled up to the Westword office, I had about abandoned what a utopia Grandoozy had created. But tomorrow is addition day.
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Grandoozy, through September 16, Overland Park Golf Course, 1801 South Huron Street.
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