Last night: Skylab lifts the Coliseum into deep space - 09/25/10

Categories: Concert Reviews

Ferry Corsten.
Ferry Corsten, Bad Boy Bill, DJ Irene, Dieselboy and Wolfgang Gartner
09.25.10 | Denver Coliseum

The lineup at Skylab this year was impressive, featuring names that have been in the electronic-music scene for a long time, including hard-house diva DJ Irene and one of the mainstays of Chicago house, Bad Boy Bill. The Global Command Module offered a lineup of dubstep to balance out the house-heavy bill, and Dieselboy contributed his own dark, eerie dubstep to the mix as well.

Headliner Ferry Corsten took the main Launch Pad stage at 8 p.m. The progressive trance heavyweight, who's appeared on the lauded Ministry of Sound and Moonshine labels, kicked things off nicely, blending the latest pop with his dance-floor anthems (Lady Gaga made an appearance at the very end of his set).

Corsten relinquished the stage at 9:30 to Trajikk, just as DJ Irene was gearing up in the NRG Fuel Pod. She was sporting a mohawk with bleached tips and dropped right in with hard beats and bass. Meanwhile, we could hear Trajikk mixing in the ubiquitous "We Are Your Friends," the Justice remix of Simian's 2006 hit, on the Launch Pad stage.

Aaron Thackeray
See more photos from Skylab on Saturday in our slideshow.
Irene's house comprises simple, ascending and descending melodies melded with complex, heavy, driving beats and trance-like effects (speeding up the beat to reach a sharp crescendo before adding in snare drums) with the type of hard, insistent beats that make hard house, well, hard.

DJ Irene plays with syncopation -- using several drum lines at once and offsetting those with the vacillating warbles, flutes, beeps, sirens and buzzing melodies that sound like a record being spun backward -- occasionally topping it all off with a marching-band snare drum.

Backlit and flanked by two screens on either side, Irene did her thing while some seriously fucked-up cartoons were projected on the screens -- hentai and violent fight scenes made brief appearances in the quick-as-a-blink montages -- and geometric shapes played on the giant light display behind her.

Aaron Thackeray
See more photos from Skylab on Saturday in our slideshow.
Irene likes to talk and hype up the crowd, but not to the point where it gets annoying. She utilizes the booming drums with distorted, sibilant vocals and high-energy majorette-style rhythms to create a house template that's faster and more exuberant than most house offerings out there.

Some of her effects are slightly off from where you would traditionally expect them to be -- maybe her melodies will be up or down an octave -- but the slight discord doesn't interfere with the overall composition. Rather, it ties everything together and keeps things interesting.

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