Monolith Festival Roundup

Haven’t seen much out there on this, but the first ever Monolith Festival out at Red Rocks was held last weekend. We’ve been sort of following the development of this festival all year and then of course, when it actually happened we totally spaced.

Luckily for us we’ve got an old friend checking in, Ken Gellman, who attended. He’s living out in Denver and according to him, the festival wasn’t promoted all that well and despite a lineup including The Flaming Lips, Cake, Spoon, The Decemberists and several indie rock bands making headlines like Matt & Kim, Au Revoir Simone, White Rabbits, etc. the two day festival didn’t come close to selling out.


Wayne Coyne, Flaming Lips lead singer, surfing the crowd in a giant gerbil ball.

From the man himself:

“This might totally suck, but I’m just going to rattle off what I saw. I hope some of it helps.

So, I only went to the Monolith festival on Saturday which was well worth it. Let me say first off with the number and caliber of bands playing red rocks that the show should have easily sold out. With that being said the promoters of the show did a horrible job marketing and if it weren’t at Red Rocks it probably wouldn’t have done well at all. We didn’t go into the show until abotu 6:30 and we were able to catch the end of Brian Jonestown Massacre. They seemed reltively talented and had a defintive rock/psychedlic sounds. However, they were also a bit pompous assuming the crowd all knew who they were and the lead singer enjoyed taking his shirt off while playing in front of the camera for some sort of DVD they were making.

I was upset I got caught up talking to people and seeing them because I totally forgot the White Rabbits were playing a set on a small club like stage in the visitors center. When we got there you could barely squeeze into the room and everyone was into the music. There was a ton of energy the band was feeding to the crowd and the crowd was eating it up. Another band was playing on a stage downstairs at the same time and very few people were there. I would say the white rabbits definately stole the show on that stage. The guitar/drum/bass combo built up until the crowd was in a frenzy.


White Rabbits in between songs at the Stage

Then we went and checked out some of the booths lined up at the top. This was one of the most corporate festivals I’ve ever been to. All the sponsors had booths set up giving away free junk. I mean how many shows do you go to where one stage is called the Esurance stage with giant banners and another is called the stage. Some of the booths were cool though like the one giving away hemp granola ice cream…delicious and healthy? The crowd at the show was quite an interesting mix of people with those in their 20s and 30s and some older folks. There were a lot of “scenesters” there, but I think most people just had a serious appreciation for good god damn indie music. Although I do distinctly remember one guy who had gigantic sunglasses on and a tail coming out the back of his t-shirt….which is probably typical when the flaming lips play.

So, we checked out art brut for a bit only to find they sound like a bad version of old blur LPs. On the songwriter stage which was tiny and off to the side we saw Cameron Mcgill play a couple tunes. He is the onyl songwriter I think who managed to get a bunch of people to sit in front of the stage and watch. He was quite talented and entertaining in his polyester suit he claimed to have bought for $15 in Reno, with his harmonica playing, guitar strumming, amidst his incredible voice.


Our intrepid reporter may not have cared for Eddie Argos and Art Brut but these beautiful women certainly do!

The two final bands we checked out were on the main stage. The first was Spoon. I was not a Spoon fan before this show, but I am now. They are certainly weird and have an almost indie dorkiness. They frieking rock though and have some great catchy tunes mostly off their new album. They were the biggest surprise of the night and the crowd was certainly into them. The headliner for the whole festival of course was the Flaming Lips whom I’d never seen before. It was like some crazy wacked out acid dream seeing them (no I was not on drugs…just a few beers).

They had a huge video screen, tons of lights, 10 people on the stage to my right in santa suits dancing around, and ten otheres to my left wearing cheerleade type outfits with jiminy cricket type headbands dancing around. Wayne Coyne was messing around during the sound check getting the crowd riled up. He came out right at the start as confetti was blown everywhere. He went into a giant gerbal ball and crowd surfed in it. During the show super heroes such as captain america would bring the band drinks and water. The music of course was incredible as well. Wayne had the entire crowd singing Yoshime and they closed the show (per-encore) with “Do you Realize.”

I can honestly say it was quite a feel good set as Coyne continually spoke to the crowd swore up a storm, kept saying how beautiful colorado was, and the band continued to rattle off great tunes. All in all it was a great show/festival. I was happy to get a ticket for $40 w/ no cover charges thanks to the fact it didn’t sell out. Fortunately there were a ton of people there though, all of seemed to be enjoying themselves.”

Damn straight. Thanks Ken. I wonder if because it wasn’t a camping festival that it was attended less. But $40 to see Spoon and Art Brut and The Flaming Lips and White Rabbits ain’t too shabby. Starting on September 25 you can check out footage of the show on The Daily Indie. They’ll have interviews, performances, and a few other featurettes.

Some YouTube-age of Monolith after the jump. Thanks to Craven2 and Heather for the videos. Def. check out Heather’s blog over at I Am Fuel You Are Friends as it’s one of the best things in life.

That’s right, not just on the intertubes but in all of life. Here’s to wishing things get better for her on the home front! We’re crossing fingers or whatever it is that people do to make crappy situations better.

Matt and Kim


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Shiv October 2, 2007, 2:48 pm

    P.S. We are finishing up sorting through all the live recordings this week from our stage. There are video interviews, photos, and free MP3s from the performances on the WOXY stage posted now (with the rest to come before the end of the week):

  • Shiv October 2, 2007, 2:46 pm

    For what it’s worth, it was the stage because we ‘curated’ it. We picked the lineup and had the Monolith folks book the bands. We were asked to select some bands that we support that would be a good fit for the size of that room. I think it worked out pretty well and hopefully we will be involved again next year.

  • hardlythere September 21, 2007, 5:16 pm

    P.S. I think it’s comedy that someone called ‘corporate’. 🙂

  • hardlythere September 21, 2007, 5:13 pm

    Actually, the festival had more promotion – radio and print than any other single show in Colorado 2007… the turnout was good, if there was a fault with attendance (which wasn’t bad) it wasnt the promotion, there just arnt that many fans for that kind of music in the Denver… all you had to do was go to the arcade fire concert to see that