On Thursday, June 13, Club Vinyl in Denver, Colorado flooded with dancing guests preparing for a night of electronic-filled air from Kases, Blackbird Blackbird, Holly, and Tokimonsta.
The night began at 9pm with a bouncing set from Kases, a DJ formerly known as Sylent Efx. Blackbird Blackbird followed, the moniker of California-based Mikey Maramag. Blackbird Blackbird brought his signature deeply electronically textured sound assisted by mysterious vocals. By the end of Blackbird Blackbird’s set, Club Vinyl was nearly full, audience members laughing with their friends as they enjoy the music, and eccentric dancers making moves in the back.
Lighting got darker and a subtle wave of synth came out from silence, announcing Portugal-native, bass/hip-hop DJ and producer, Holly. Holly recently dropped a new EP on Deadbeats: Avenal 2500. He has released prior music on praised labels like Fool’s Gold, Monsterdcat, and Buygore, as well as winning A-Trak’s initial Goldie Aware in 2017. You may recognize his name from his performance at Coachella or EDC this year, or his upcoming set supporting Dead Rocks VI in early July, Club Vinyl was lucky enough to have his set preceding Tokimonsta.
Holly began his set by remixing the recognizable “Innerbloom” originally by RÜFÜS DU SOL. Experimental space-like arrangements supported by intermittent alterations in the volume of audio output. By keeping the stage fairly dark and with few lighting change-ups, the audience was able to focus fully on the music, a gift from the Portugal native. Holly sampled some other popular songs, including Drake’s “Know Yourself,” and “Voices” by Flume, SOPHIE, and KUČKA. Guests in the crowd danced and cheered throughout Holly’s entire set, and applauded as he winded down to an end, just before TOKiMONSTA took the stage.
Just before midnight, American producer and DJ, TOKiMONSTA, stepped onto the stage. If you haven’t already heard her story, in 2015 Jennifer Lee was diagnosed with moyamoya, a rare disorder caused by blocked arteries in the base of the brain. After going under surgery, she not only had to relearn her speaking abilities, but the process of music production completely. What followed her turmoil of recovery was a spirited spring of musicality, Lune Rouge. An smaller venue made it an intimate performance between TOKiMONSTA and her audience.
Club goers skipped, danced, and sang along as TOKiMONSTA played her remix of Odezsa’s “FALLS”— the only similarity in the track list, as far as I could find, to her set at Red Rocks last fall. She brought her usual lively spark of musical sound to Club Vinyl, playing a wave of mind-expanding rhythms assisted by a live trumpet.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, TOKiMONSTA brought established singer and performer Anderson Paak to the stage to sing “Realla,” the collaboration between the two artists. Fans rushed to the front of the stage to sing along, capturing photos of two artists simply having a blast. The “Realla” performance gave the crowd a refreshing wave of energy before the night of electronic music diminished.
TOKiMONSTA was incredibly expressive on stage— I’m talking non-stop, full ear-to-ear grin as she looks out to the abundance of people who have come to hear her performance, exerting her joyous energy throughout Club Vinyl that night. Beginning with Kase, then Blackbird Blackbird, an exploratory bass and hip-hop set from Holly, and ending with a blast of musical energy from the smiliest DJ, TOKiMONSTA.
The Lune Rouge experience continues through August 3rd, check her website for upcoming tour information. Don’t miss the chance to see a TOKiMONSTA show near you!—or not near you, road trip it out.
Written by Stephanie Regan
Photography by Jason Habib