A Steamboat early-season dance party concert tradition is revived
December 6, 2012
Steamboat Springs — A bygone early ski season tradition resurfaces this weekend when The Steamboat Grand ballroom transforms into an electronic landscape of music and lights.
On Saturday night, Best Yet Productions, run by Kurt Vordermeier, presents five hours of live dance music and DJs, complete with food vendors, a full bar and an LED light show from Denver's Lighthouse Productions.
The show goes from 8:30 p.m. until nearly 2 a.m. and features the warm, ambient live-tronica of The Malah, local band String Board Theory and Denver electronic duo Digital Beat Down.
Vordermeier said he's wanted to revive this early season get-together tradition for years.
"I just kind of was remembering back to when I was in my mid-20s and there was always an early season gig at the Sheraton (Steamboat Resort). It was usually a reggae thing — Great Knight Productions did it," he said, recalling Steel Pulse as one of the names that played such a show.
"It was a chance for people who just moved here for the season to meet each other, and people who have been here for years to just get out before all hell breaks loose," he said. "It's a chance to for everyone to get out and have a good fun time before next week when the flights start getting in, and then you look up and all of a sudden it's April."
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Tickets for the show are $10 in advance and can be purchased at All That Jazz, Urbane and at http://www.TheMalah.com. The cost is $12 on the day of the show.
Playing its first Steamboat show is Denver-based The Malah, a live electronic band with an eclectic sound characterized by organic beats and electronically manipulated live instruments and improvisations.
Simple but thoughtful is the approach, and it comes through not only in the band’s sound, but in the way bassist Elliott Vaughn speaks — quiet but with a rhythmic enthusiasm.
"Music can be intense without being loud and in your face," Vaughn said in an interview with Explore Steamboat. "That's something we push for is the dynamics in a sound and creating a wave. It's nice to create some tension and let it release."
Release. It's what the electronic dance music scene is built on. And The Malah does it with ethereal melodies, blissful piano and synth lines, and solid but not overpowering beats.
"We make music that we love," Vaughn said. "We strive to make music that's organic and not too harsh … like you could describe a lot of electronic music today. Essentially, we play dance music. Some of it might be atmospheric and mellow, but we rely on the drum and the dance beat."
The trio, comprising Vaughn, Brandon Maynard on guitar and Seth Fankhauser on percussion, creates all its sounds with instruments, but the electronic influence comes in the form of MIDI controllers, synthesizers and laptops, which layer on effects and perform the job of what four or five extra band members would be needed to do.
Maynard and Vaughn are classically trained jazz guitarists who slowly came into their sound through hours and hours of jam sessions back in Greenville, S.C.
In 2011, they found the music scene they were looking for in Denver, where they now live. But their name is known across the country after playing festivals like Sonic Bloom, Rootwire, Bear Creek and Lightning in a Bottle. Their newest album “Light Forms” is available online here.
"We haven't been to Steamboat before, but I am looking forward to it," Vaughn said. "It looks like there's some snow in the forecast and I think everyone will be in good spirits for the show."
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com
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