Shpongle: The Masquerade

Before attending a Shpongle show, one has to prepare themselves for a soul searching journey. This is not the typical concert, nor is it a typical DJ rave type event. It is a hybrid of both, with a unique ability to assist the viewer to transcend to many different places. After all, isn’t that why most of us enjoy the music of Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Enigma, or even Enya? By no means am I comparing Shpongle to any of these musicians, on the other hand, I am describing an experience. It is more than the typical music listening experience. It is truly a journey. On the band’s website, there is a descriptive piece about them that reads:

Dongle and Mongle are the only two other words rhyming with Shpongle...a strange hybrid of electronic manipulation and shamanic midgets with frozen digits squeezing the envelope and crawling through the doors of perception, find a new pair of dice...extra numbers and colours an infinite expanding bubble, filled with a bizarre, strange world of dripping hallucinatory wallpaper, a garden of earthly delights...........Shpongleland.....a place of well being, and reflective surfaces, morphing like an Anaconda’s skin and shimmering like a million colour changing squids, at fifty fathoms.. truly unfathomable like separating water from its wetness, the Ineffable Mysteries unweave.....

It is difficult to describe Shpongle because they are not even similar to any of their contemporaries like Amon Tobin or even the DJ that opened for them Phutureprimitive. It is like an inner vacation around the world for merely the price of a concert ticket.

Shpongle has been frequenting Boulder a lot lately. The Boulder Theater has played host to the visual and sound escapade providing the ideal indoor setting for this type of elevation. As Simon Posford said himself during the encore, “Boulder is my favorite place.”

This time, he brought Phutureprimitive to open for him. Rain “The Musician” is an interesting story in his own right coming off of his brand new album Kinetik. But, don’t ask him what kind of music he makes because he hates that question. He is a great example of someone who got laid off from his job, took a severance package, bought DJ equipment and is now living his dream of playing music for thousands. His show on this night resembled what it would sound like if the Transformers had a dance party. It is a fun, fast style of dub, but his most interesting song of the night had to be his “Mad World” from Donnie Darko remix. Hopefully, many of you reading this will catch him at Wakarusa Music Festival in a couple months.

With the addition of a new video production artist named Zen, Posford came to Boulder this time to debut the Masquerade, which is what this tour is called. Appropriately, there were many fans in the crowd dressed up with their masks and other accessories to fit into the theme of the night. The beginning of the night started with some beautiful pyramid lasers with the silky sounds of India. There were some really beautiful Hindu sounding chants followed by a Buddhist drone song that had the crowd excited and moving early on. This motif lasted for most of the beginning of the show until the Latin sounds came ringing in and the dance party really kicked up. Shpongle is never really a social type event. As I mentioned earlier, it seems like an inner journey where most of the crowd seems to be reflecting for most of the show in their own worlds. It is meditative, and sometimes Posford has to remind the crowd to come back to earth as he screamed before the encore, “Keep it up!” The second to last song was a Celtic sounding Irish jig dance party with the industrial sounds of the bass resounding throughout the theater. “You are me and I am you,” Posford said to the appreciative crowd. Then he came out for one more, and said, “Boulder, how can I resist you?” Shpongle is on a fairly large spring/summer tour including a few really fun festival gigs. If you have never been Shpongled, then I recommend you forsake all of your inhibitions and experience a great mix of sound and visuals.

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