Winter on the Rocks with Common, Atmosphere, and Grieves with Budo

Ultra5280 was on hand for the historic first winter show ever at Red Rocks Amphitheater, Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks.  And boy, did the show ever live up to it’s name. It was COLD but that didn’t stop the Denver fans from bundling up and heading to the foothills for a night of rap, R&B, and hip-hop. 

Starting us off was Grieves, joining us from Seattle, and Budo contributing his instrumental talent. Grieves is proving to be a very up and coming hip-hop artist and he had the perfect tempo to start warming up the freezing crowd. After a decent amount of bouncing around, clouds of steam started rising from the stands. His music was greatly complemented by Budo’s instrumentals. He played everything from the guitar to the keyboard to the trombone and it really added another level to a genre that is typically devoid of traditional instruments. Next up was Get Cryphy from Minneapolis, who added his more heavy sound to the mix. 

The energy really came up when Common came to the stage, accompanied by a live band.  Starting off with fan favorite “The People,” Common came on swinging and didn’t stop. One of the more memorable moments was when a lucky girl from the crowd was brought on stage and Common proceeded to do an incredible freestyle about Colorado snow to her. I have to say, it was one of the most impressive freestyles I’ve ever seen.  Never ceasing to bring the hits, Common kept hitting hard with “Punch Drunk Love” and “Universal Mind Control,” both of which got the freezing crowd piping hot. 

Following Common’s dominance was Atmosphere, who had no trouble following a great act. The duo of Slug and Ant from Minneapolis started things off with a bang with the popular “GodLovesUgly”. Rolling through fan favorites “The Woman with the Tattooed Hands,” “Little Man” and “You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having,” the energy went through the roof as the snow started to fall. As if that wasn’t enough, Brother Ali joined Atmosphere on stage for a surprise visit. Unbeknownst to many, Atmosphere actually opened up Brother Ali’s show at the Ogden on the 26th under a secret name. In a great show of solidarity, Ali returned the favor and braved the frigid stage to join Atmosphere for their encore song, “Sunshine.”

Ultimately, it was cold. I mean really cold. Fourteen degrees cold.  But this show was certainly one of the most memorable I’ve been to. There’s something about being outside with the snow falling and everyone huddled together for warmth that just makes a show different. The music was heavy and hard hitting, the crowd was more than ready to rock, and everything came together for a historic first winter show at Red Rocks.

Kyle & Laura