Monolith Music Festival 2009

As you all are well aware, I spent this past weekend in Denver, CO at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre for the Monolith Music Festival. I have to start out by saying that Red Rocks is by far the best music venue that I have ever been to in my life. It is in the small town of Morrison and it is built right into the center of a beautiful mountain. The greatest ting about Red Rocks is that the sound is breathtaking. There truly is not one bad seat in the entire venue and no matter where you are (even if it is in the parking lot) you can hear the music perfectly.

A very big thank you to Claire and everyone at Madison House Publicity for bringing SUPERGOODMUSIC to the Monolith Music Festival. It was an amazing two days and I am so happy that I was able to be there and to share my experience with all of you.

Enjoy my review of the festival below.

Monolith Festival: Day One

I knew that I was in for a very interesting weekend when I arrived at Red Rocks to colder than normal weather and some pretty heavy rain, but the prospect of seeing so many incredible bands in one day helped me to rally under some pretty bad festival circumstances.

After hearing so much about Red Rocks, I knew that I couldn’t begin my first experience at this historic venue without spending some quality time in what is referred to as Shakedown Street. Named after the song by Grateful Dead, Shakedown Street is where many music going people congregate to tailgate before anyone ventures into the venue. After spending around 2 hours in Shakedown Street, my crew and I made our way into Red Rocks to start enjoying all that the festival had to offer.

Whenever I attend a festival for the first time, I need to spend a good amount of time gathering my bearings of the environment. After looking at the festival map online a couple weeks ago, I was intrigued as to how everything was going to be set up. First there was the regular main stage where concerts at Red Rocks usually take place, but up at the top of what seemed like a million stairs, was another smaller stage called the Southern Comfort stage. Around the corner from the main stage was the stage, and in the depths of the Red Rocks Amphitheatre where there is a mini museum were two small stages called the stage and the Radius Earphones Stage.

The first band that I was able to see was The Walkmen who played at the Southern Comfort Stage at 5:30. I have been a fan of The Walkmen since their album Bows + Arrows came out in 2004, so I was very excited to see them in concert. Even though it was very cold and the rain was coming down very hard, the band didn’t let either of those two factors affect their performance. It was the perfect way to start off Monolith because The Walkmen gave a highly energetic performance that was filled with great songs like “The Rat,” “What’s In It for Me,” and “Little House of Savages.”

After The Walkmen, I made my way over to the main stage to see one of my favorite artists M.Ward. If you don’t know anything about M.Ward then I highly suggest you check out his music because he has been making some great albums for many years now. His set included many songs off of his latest album Hold Time and it was the perfect act to see before the night really began to take off.

Following M.Ward was Girl Talk. If you have never seen Girl Talk than you are missing out on one of the most interesting live shows out there right now. For those unfamiliar (which I’m sure there aren’t many of you) Girl Talk is a DJ of sorts who crafts mash ups of artists that you never would think go together, but he makes it work. One great thing about Girl Talk is that he always brings members of the audience on stage with him in an effort to feed of the energy that they bring to aid in his “performance.” Even though the days heaviest rain occurred during his set, Girl Talk was one of the best artists that I saw all weekend.

Following Girl Talk was one of the best bands out right now the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I had seen the Yeah Yeah Yeahs four times now this summer, but every time that I see them they continue to impress me. Their set is the perfect mixture of new material and classics that you expect the band to play. Many people attending Monolith this year were concerned that they wouldn’t bring a high energy performance, but I assumed that they had never seen the band from Brooklyn before, and hopefully they were blown away by how amazing the band is live. The highlight, for me, came when during the opening of “Heads Will Roll.” There is just something about the opening notes that just take you into another zone. They once again proved to me that they are one of the best live bands touring right now, if you ahven’t seen them, than you need to immediately.

Day one of the Monolith may have been cold and wet, but it did what every first day of a festival is supposed to do and that’s get you even more hyped up for day two.

Monolith Festival: Day Two

Even though it rained day two of Monolith, it was not as heavy as day one, and for most of the day, festival goers were treated to blue skies and amazing music. When I woke up that morning, I checked twitter and read a tweet from Passion Pit saying that they were taking over Phoenix spot because MSTRKRFT had cancelled and Phoenix was moving to the main stage. Even though I was looking forward to seeing MSTRKRFT, I was ok with the cancellation because I felt that Phoenix deserved to be on the main stage.

I got to the festival earlier than I did the day before to ensure that I could see more music than I did yesterday. The first band that I wanted to see was Neon Indian, who was scheduled to play the stage at 3:00 PM. Even though it was completely packed, I was able to enjoy a few songs by this upcoming band. If you haven’t heard of Neon Indian, than you need to find their music online and learn about them now before they become the Passion Pit of 2010.

After Neon Indian, I made my way over to the main stage to see The Dandy Warhols perform. I used to be a big fan of The Dandy Warhols and it has been a very long time since I have listened to one of their albums, but as soon as they began I was immediately taken back to the time when I used to listen to them all the time. The highlight came at the end of their set when the band played their biggest song “We Used To Be Friends.”

When The Dandy Warhols were finished, I headed back up the stairs to the Southern Comfort Stage to see The Thermals play. By that time, the rain picked back up again, so I found a spot to sit on the wall and sat there as I enjoyed The Thermals set. The crowd there had to be full of people who loved them because it seemed as if everyone there knew all the words to their songs. Even though I’m not that familiar with them, I found it very refreshing to see so many people enjoying them.

Before The Thermals were done, I made my way back down to the main stage to see The Glitch Mob. I had never heard of them before, so I knew that I needed to check them out because you don’t play the main stage at a festival without having major credibility. What I loved most about seeing The Glitch Mob is that I didn’t know who they were, so my expectations were completely blown away by what I witnessed. The Glitch Mob is made up of three DJs who use these touch screen tablets as their turntables and also use what looks like the drum set from RockBand to add heavy drums to the songs. They took me by surprise because it was unlike anything that I have ever seen before. Each of the three members does something different to each song and I enjoyed everything that they did. I love nothing more than discovering love for a new band or artist while at a festival and I look forward to seeing more of The Glitch Mob in the future.

After The Glitch Mob I traveled back up the stairs to get prepared to see Passion Pit play at 7:00 PM on the Southern Comfort Stage. To me, Passion Pit is a double-edged sword because I love their music so much, but after seeing them live twice, and being very disappointed by them, I was hoping that they would prove me wrong, unfortunately, they didn’t. The band sounds great live; it’s just that lead singer Michael Angelakos voice isn’t good live. It’s upsetting because I love the band so much.

I left Passion Pit early to ensure that I would get a good spot for one of my favorite bands, Phoenix. I have been dying to see Phoenix for so many years now and to be able to finally see them live and at one of the United States best music venues was a dream come true. The great thing about their set was that many people there were disappointed that they weren’t going to be seeing MSTRKRFT, and they were worried that Phoenix wasn’t going to be as good a live show as MSTRKRFT. In my opinion, Phoenix should have always been scheduled for the main stage, because after years of trying to break the States, they finally have with their latest album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Their set was filled with high-energy music that is the perfect storm of dance-pop goodness. Every song was amazing, but the highlight definitely came at the final song of their set “1901,” purely because it was the song that everyone knows so it brought the energy of the crowd way up.

Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to an early flight the next morning, but I was more than happy to end Monolith on such a high note.

This was the third year for Monolith and I recommend that anyone who is able to attend the festival in the future to do so because it was one of the best festivals that I have ever been to. They always have an amazing lineup and I can guarantee that it will only get better with age.

Enjoy all of my pictures from the weekend below.

Red Rocks at Night

Girl Talk Stage

The Walkmen at Southern Comfort Stage


Passion Pit

Passion Pit at Southern Comfort Stage

Monolith Festival Crowd

The Glitch Mob
The Dandy Warhols

The Main Stage at Monolith
Empty Amphitheatre

Main Stage at Monolith

Shakedown Street at Monolith

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

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