Denver seems to know exactly how to put the 'D' in dance parties, and Thursday night's show at the Bluebird Theater was another party for sure. The show featured two opening DJ sets from prominent locals and a spirited performance from the imported headliner, offering the audience the best of both worlds. By the end of it all, the crowd got the dance floor fuel they were looking for, leaving the venue with wide smiles and glistening faces.


The party got started right away, as option4, local Lipgloss resident DJ and founder of TheHundred, took the stage shortly after the doors opened. Utilizing his ability to stitch together smooth electronic house songs into a seamless mix, he got the crowd into the dancing mood as people started to flow into the venue. Understanding his role as the opener, he transformed a vacant dance floor into a busy one by mixing songs from artists like Empire of the Sun, Bag Raiders and more until people were howling along to Duck Sauce's "Big Bad Wolf" at the end of his set.


Next up was Lipgloss and Girls & Boys Denver founder boyhollow. He latched onto the energy started from the opening set and kept it going. A master at reading crowds, boyhollow knows how to keep people on the dance floor and continually ratchet up the intensity throughout his set. Starting with smoother dance music like Cut Copy's "Lights & Music, he started to make it heaver with songs like the hard electro/dubstep remix of Chromeo's "Night By Night" he mixed in. He also made nods to past dance floor favorites, like Josh Wink's knob-twist epic "Higher State of Conciousness". He did well to put in a good variety of music, getting the energy way up in the room and the people ready for the high-energy headlining performance the were about to see.

Benjamin Plant of Miami Horror

Miami Horror came on stage to close out the night, providing their dancey nu-disco electro sound with an organic package. This Australian four-piece was originally masterminded by bassist Benjamin Plant, but now includes the services of keyboardist Daniel Whitechurch, drummer Aaron Shanahan, and guitarist/vocalist Josh Moriarty. The quartet took the electro dance framework of Miami Horror's album sound and added further dimension to it with live instrumentation, which gave their live performance the look and feel of an exuberant rock show, but maintained a sound fit for the dance floor.

Josh Moriarty of Miami Horror

They began their set with "Soft Light" from their album Illumination, a smooth synth-pop piece with a disco meets chillwave feel. Then they went to the electro-funk/R&B influenced pop song "Don't Be On With Her" from Miami Horror's Bravado EP. Right away, guitarist Josh Moriarty began to tantalize the crowd with his effusive vocals and guitar shreddery, evoking images of vintage guitar-wielding Prince. "Moon Theory" came next, delivering an almost new wave-ish soundscape as danceable as it was emotive.

Miami Horror

Miami Horror then dove into the epic portion of their set, as they performed two songs in extended fashion back to back to the audience's delight. In what seemed to go by in a flash, they played two songs in succession that actually lasted nearly twenty minutes, starting with "Make You Mine". That song was made extended by fusing in a little of what sounded like portions of another song, "Illumination", along with a section full of ripping instrumental solos. Then they followed that up with a nearly ten minute long version of "Echoplex", injecting rock 'n' roll like solos into the disco piece to make the song even more powerful.

Josh Moriarty of Miami Horror

They wrapped up their regular set with three more songs, including two of my favorites from their full-length album. "I Look to You" was one of those, getting the crowd to go crazy with its throwback disco sound. An extended version of the spacey slow groove "Illuminated" came next, followed by my other favorite track "Holidays". By the time the song was over, the forty-five minute set they played seemed to have gone by in the blink of an eye, so it was no surprise to hear feverish calls for an encore almost immediately from the crowd.

Daniel Whitechurch of Miami Horror

Miami Horror came back out on stage promising just a little bit more, kicking off the encore and reigniting the dance floor with "Imagination (I Want You to Know)". The '70s pop meets nu-disco piece had much of the audience singing along to the catchy melody. Then Miami Horror brought out a pleasant surprise, a Miami Horror styled cover of the Talking Heads' "Once In a Lifetime". Miami Horror left the stage and although the audience was still clamoring for more, I wasn't sure if it could get any better than that.

Josh Moriarty of Miami Horror

Luckily for me, I was wrong. Miami Horror heard the chants for "One more song! One more song!" and returned to the stage on final time. They played another cover song; this one just as pleasantly surprising as the first - a cover of Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al". It was a great rendition, giving the song extra danceability with Miami Horror's characteristic synth-pop touch. It's no wonder they make music that sounds so fresh yet has so many apparent retro influences when Miami Horror reveals what their influences are through cover songs. If straight up electronic music seems too plain yet you want to go to a show to dance, check out a Miami Horror show, as they've figured out how to combine the electronic package into a show that rocks.

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