Monolith is now over but well enjoyed. Unfortunately, I wasn't unable to attend the biggest and most populated show of the event - Vampire Weekend, but I did enjoy the gorgeous sun, uncontested acoustics and views of the Red Rocks venue and an array of fantastic bands that I had not seen before. The attendance and organization was not what I nor the event planners could have expected. I will say that the crowds patience, energy and even absence still allowed for a well-executed, high-tempo'd, yet relaxing day for most all involved. I attended with my friends - adventurers, runners, and climbers - that were easily mistaken for Michael Jackson impersonators all day long...especially Josh and Whit! Instead of a full-on Monolith review, I'll give you my top 3 highlights from Sunday in no particular order.
Talk about knocking my socks off and making my jaw completely drop! The Parisian duo that makes up Justice deservedly headlined the Sunday evening slot and despite a set cut short by electrical problems, they had no problem wowing the crowd.
With their 12' by 12' set-up of Marshall speakers (actually, light display cases) on each side of the stage and their genius lighting technician that somehow kept beat, they didn't have to do much more to captivate the awaiting audience. But, they did. Xavier de Ronsay & Gaspard Auge of Justice built the prefect crescendo of a show with their constant build-up of thumping beats combined with insertions of rock and vocal layering's and their confidant poise on stage. If you want to see two guys that know they own any given crowd, look no further.
Unfortunately, Justice's show was cut short by an electrical outage which resulted in one of the members throwing their keyboard on the stage front in frustration. Though many were disappointed in the anticlimactic ending due to the outage, it seemed most fans knew it was not Justice's fault and still left the evening in awe by the power, mass dancing, and shock value the duo produced.
Justice - We Are Your Friends
Aside from the complete unexpected uppercut that Justice gave me, The Avett Brothers were my favorite act of the day. Fans were confused as to how to categorize them. Rockabilly? Singer-songwriter? Punk-Americana? Right on? Armed with only a kick-drum, acoustic banjo and guitar, Seth and Scott Avett wailed their powerhouse vocals, strumming and lightning bolt-inspired dancing to Red Rocks. The duo were backed by only a cello and a stand-up bass but could've fooled anyone not watching the stage that an entire amped rock band was dishing the sound made by acoustic instruments. Here's a rough example of what I'm talking about:
Avett Brothers - Shame
Ah...The Kills. After giving a nice "fuck you" to the Monolith staff who caused them to start a generous 20 minutes late, The Kills captivated a crowd by combining Alison Mosshart's Juliette Lewis-esque via Natural Born Killers attitude with some freaky sounds with tantalizing beats queued by guitarist/badass Jamie Hince.
The Kills definitely belong in some upcoming Tarantino or Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) flicks due to their freakishly organized songs that rely on strong beats filled with off-kilter audio feedback and muddled lyrics. Yes, The Kills made my top 3, just ahead of headliner bands like Band of Horses, TV On The Radio, Tokyo Police Club, and Sharon Jones. This group has the tendency to disturb the onlookers but hooks them in with their "I could give a shit that you love our style and sound" presence.
The Kills - URA Fever