Like a captain leading his rage ship, DVS* approached Lost in Sound looking for help with a few car rides and offered me a guest list spot on each of his 4 dates with Emancipator in COLORADO!!! What a perfect way to accustom myself with the lay of the land in the new state I call home.
DVS* was scheduled for 5 cities in 5 nights, so I was prepared to meet a ton of new people along the way. I made it to Night 1 in Breckenridge (11/16,) Night 2 in Avon just outside of Vail (11/17,) and Night 4 in Denver (11/19.) The other dates were Friday night (11/18) in Fort Collins and a special “DVS* & friends” homecoming throw-down Sunday night (11/20) in Boulder.
The first two nights up in the mountains presented themselves: The Human Agency, DVS*, and Emancipator. The Human Agency is a Denver-based 3-piece consisting of a synth/laptop workstation, vinyl turntables and a drummer. They sound “dancey” in the electronic hip-hop kind of way. From what I could tell, it was the drummer’s first time playing with them live.
Night 1 was a packed in and sold out show at Breckenridge’s 320 South. The Human Agency initially won me over when they focused two different tracks on some of the best New York City rappers! Hearing Big L immediately caught my attention, however after speaking with another Big L enthusiast later on, we definitely agreed that it was not the best track selection. The next NYC rhymes to bless my ears were Nas’s, followed by an odd but enjoyable rendition of SoCal Gangster, The Pharcyde’s, “Passing Me By.” It was refreshing to hear them finish a song and not overdo things by womping, wobbling, and dubstepping themselves into notoriety.
Nights 3 & 4 looked like this: DVS*, Tycho Live Band, and Emancipator. Only learning of Tycho a week before the show, I tried to familiarize myself as best I could with online tunes. I presumed it would be a one-man DJ show of Scott Hansen but was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a live band set. Tycho shined for their first appearance in Colorado with drummer Matt McCord and bassist Zac Brown. As the set developed, their sound became full and complete; it had a unique tone and groove to it. They obviously take their craft very seriously; Hansen even asked the stage manager to put the projector in focus before the next song, because it was vital to the experience. It was this type of performance that brought an array of wide smiles, intrigued looks, and happily dancing feet.
From a personal and musical standpoint, I was extremely glad that Emancipator decided to roll through these 4 dates with DVS*. He sounded perfect amongst both Human Agency/Tycho and Emancipator.
DVS*‘s sound has a Ratatat feel to it at times, with classic, layered, and harmonized guitar souped up with 2011 FX and flavor. He does a great job at feeling out the crowd and making his way through his sets. The first night in Breck, he played about 80% new material from his recent double EP release. Some noteworthy tracks that definitely get the crowd movin’ were “Oxygen,” “BBC Galaxy,” and “Crime Crunk Scene.” It wasn’t until after the show that I realized one of my favorite tracks I heard is a remix of one of my favorite Michal Menert songs, “Sun/Shadow.” This hook was stuck in my head throughout the 4-day run.
Emancipator, a.k.a. Doug Appling & Ilya Goldberg, showed great command at putting this tour together, because all 4 nights were consistent, and the beauty of the violin and visual accompaniment permeated throughout.
Since they played a variety of tracks from all of their previous releases, their sets felt typical and really chill at times. Without notice though, they’d catch my interest and get my head bobbing again by switching up the vibe with some deep house grooves. Firing from his remix catalog, “Bury Them Bones” (Marley Carrol Remix) and “Black Lake” come to mind.
I’m a little disappointed that Doug doesn’t pickup the guitar anymore, but that’s where the beauty of collaboration comes into play. DVS* and Emancipator have a repertoire of tracks from when they played together at Camp Bisco X, so when DVS* hopped on stage with them at 3 of the shows, they looked awesome up there…a real, complete set-up.
The flow from DVS*, Tycho and Emancipator was incredible to witness. DVS* concocted some perfect beats as attendees grabbed their first drank and got their toes warmed up and movin’. And in Colorado, it’s honestly being proven that having the opening slot is not the worst thing. From what I’ve seen so far, the crowds come early and are interested from the beginning.
This tour was an incredible way to get my first bearings on the CO area. 3 of the 4 nights being sold out, it was obviously a huge success, and Emancipator seems to be on the right track with his career. This can only help one of the more deserving acts out there, DVS*, to flourish.
Asterisk sold separately…