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It’s true what they say, you haven’t really seen Zeds Dead until you’ve experienced Deadrocks. For two hours each night, music from the mid-1900s and innovative electronic sounds from this generation intertwined and overflowed from the stage, filling the amphitheater. This year marks number nine for the iconic and live-streamed event, drawing in crowds from all over the country. With an impressive collection of openers, direct support, and the genius of Zeds Dead, Deadrocks IX might just be the best yet.

Deadrocks IX gave a voice and love to sampling and remix culture. Both nights incorporated visuals of singers and actors that have been sampled by Zeds Dead in their iconic discography. Some of the musicians included The Beach Boys, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Biggie Smalls, and many more. Movie and TV scenes from Star Trek, The Wizard Of Oz, and The Twilight Zone added to the thrumming and nostalgic atmosphere. Zeds Dead continues to push boundaries and shine a light on a vast trove of pop cultural references. They’ve created a show that is cohesive and celebratory of electronic sounds and their origins, combining them with beloved classics. For the love of the new and the old, Zeds Dead has created something close to magic.

The opening acts matched the July heat.

Zeds Dead’s label, Deadbeats, has held tightly to its reputation of pushing new artists to the forefront of EDM culture, and Deadrocks IX proved no different. The openers this year brought a diverse array of sounds, celebrating different cultures, time periods, and genres.

Smoakland performs on day one of Deadrocks
Photo by Nathen Lane

Night 1

Night 1 featured Mythm, Blvk Jvck, Nostalgix, Smoakland, and Chase and Status. There was a healthy mix of dubstep, experimental bass (Mythm broke my brain in the best way), and UK essence. Nostalgix brought the bass house energy as the sun started to set below the towering red rocks. Smoakland prompted everyone to spark up a doob and dance, and Chase and Status brought the UK garage, jungle, and drum and bass.

Night 2

Night 2 featured the sounds of Nik P, Rohaan, Tape B, Hamdi, and A Hundred Drums B2B Coki. The elated energy of the second day was palpable and buzzing. Rohaan brought forth the UK bangers from himself and the likes of Visages and Monty. Hamdi rinsed his popular and unreleased tracks, prompting the audience to go absolutely feral. As the first notes of “Skanka” started to roll in, the rain started coming down hard, soaking the crowd to the bone. And if the rain didn’t get you wet enough, A Hundred Drums B2B Coki certainly did. The two artists created a set that blended early 2000s-inspired dubstep and modern bass, featuring their delicious new collab. This pairing was the perfect way to bring the energy of the audience UP.

As their team set the stage and Zeds Dead began their night 2 set, a full supermoon began to rise up and over the horizon, lighting the smiles and cheers with incandescent moonlight.

Hamdi performs on day 2 of Deadrocks
Photo by Nathen Lane

Zeds Dead, baby. Zeds Dead.

Deadrocks IX was a unique cinematic experience, cultivating a community of bass heads and nostalgia chasers alike. After making music together for 16 years, DC and Hooks have become masters of creating shows that evoke a sense of untamed euphoria. They’ve fine-tuned the ability to guide an audience through a mix of wobbly wubs, blaring bass, upbeat kicks, and tear-jerking melodies. The feelings experienced at this year’s production were that of absolute mind melt and abduction. The pairing of Zeds Dead and Red Rocks creates an altered dimension completely controlled by the audio, lights, visuals, and landscape.

No matter how many times you see them, Zeds Dead never fails to blow your mind with their ability to transform beloved classics into something almost otherworldly. With surprises around every transition, the boys don’t leave room for boredom or distraction.

Throughout the sets, songs were mixed with classic movies and other tracks, enveloping us in a nostalgic hug to the heart that we didn’t know we needed. Catching Zs in particular will always hold a very special place in my heart. The sometimes-ambient, sometimes-sprightly sounds have you dancing with vigor at one point, and crying and hugging your friends the next. “Phuket Sunrise” was blended with visuals and audio from Star Trek, and “Don’t Close Your Eyes” was mixed with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz.

Zeds Dead performs at the legendary Colorado venue for their ninth Deadrocks.
Photo by Shutterfinger

Lastly, I would like to give the biggest shoutout to the folks at Deadbeats and the medical, lighting, visual, media, and audio teams for making this all possible! This production was of the highest quality in every sense. The atmosphere you all created is something that the audience and I will never forget.

See you at Deadrocks X next year!

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Looking for new music? Keep up with our weekly Spotify Playlist, Fresh Hunts. Updated every Friday with all the latest releases. Whether it’s the newest drops from the Zeds Dead, all your favorite artists, some old-school, or undergroundWe just want you to hear it.

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Visual journalist and lover of all things bass music <3

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