If you like to have a good time and get your heart rate up, you’ll fit in perfectly with the Friday night crowd at Big Wild. The whole show, from start to finish, was like the engine of the well-oiled car revving up. The three incredibly talented forerunners, Mild Minds, Cannons and Bob Moses worked in overdrive to prepare the crowd for the eventual climax to the tune of the Big Wild hit “6’s to 9’s”.
The show started with an Australian-born ensemble now based in LA, Gentle spirits as the visibly impatient participants moved to their respective levels in the venue. It was clear from the jump that the crowd came with the sole intention of having fun. Mild Mind’s set ended with the aptly named track, “DOPAMINE”, from her debut album, MOOD as people warmed their dancing feet. Next, Cannons arrived on stage with a warm welcome from the crowd as the sun fell behind the stage and the moon climbed the sky to the left of the stage. VSAnnons served as the perfect soundtrack to Red Rocks Golden Hour. The dreamy vocals of singer Michelle Joy and the surf guitar riffs of lead guitarist Ryan Clapham had the power to transport you to any sunset on the beach.
The final opening was the beloved electronic duo Bob Moses. The energy that these two brought to the room was palpable. One track after another sent the crowd into a frenzy with the expertly crafted thrill of Jimmy Vallance and Tom Howie. Howie’s mellow voice and electric guitar in “Tearing Me Up” sounded like commands to jump in anticipation. Their set was a pure demonstration of the perfect symbiotic energy of the performance – the two provided the sound and the crowd re-energized in preparation for Big Wild.
The stage lights went out and the crowd faltered from their sitting positions, only to bet on a Maddie Rice in the spotlight masterfully choosing the acoustic guitar. Finally, Jackson Stell as Great Savage was lit up on stage by a roaring crowd, and that’s how it started – a series of perfectly executed moments of undiluted fear and excitement.
It is quite clear that Stell was born to produce and perform. Every moment of the show was filled with energy, bringing his two-night appearance at Red Rocks to life.
“I didn’t think this show would happen until I got on this stage and damn it feels good to be back,” Stell proclaimed during her set.
Multi-instrumentalist, Stell, skillfully switched from drums to piano, vocals, soundboard and even perfect whistle. He courageously led the crowd through the set with his drums. He was the beat, and the crowd assumed a collective groove, coming together for an incredibly euphoric dance night. After his performance of “No Words” from his debut album, Super dream, he showed obvious relief after a trying time without live music, revealing, “I’ve waited almost two years to play this song.”
Stell’s musical career began when he sold hip-hop beats in high school and then went on to master the art of song remixing. It’s only fitting that he included this talent in his own live show, performing Big Wild remixes of “Hey Mami” by Sylvan Esso, “Rhythm of the Night” by Corona and “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner with remarkable voices from Haley johnsen and iDA hawk.
Stell ended his show by saying a quick good night followed by abrupt darkness, only to be greeted by a rioting crowd. Stell reappeared a few minutes later, lifted about 50 yards from the stage onto a star-studded pedestal for an ethereal performance of “Awaken”. Stell yelled “People have spoken” and rocked the hall with his hit hit “6’s to 9’s,” bringing the show to a close until his next energetic production of Red Rocks.