Article and Photos by Eliza Mann

15 Minutes to the pre-performance this Saturday, December 16, and over half of Mission Ballroom was filled with attendants. 

Hurrying in to grab my spot, I notice leopard print fur coats, ‘rave’ goggles, and the ever-popular style choice of button down flannels paired with 5-panel hats. I am in Denver- for sure. 

A duo jumped on the deck with the title ‘MZG’ flickering from behind.. They played a few original beats, and sprinkled in some local favorites. It was clear that the crowd needed some time to warm up, but just as they began the subtle slow-move suggestion to pass over the stage they introduced their mix of a new hit by the American “Barb”, Nicki Minaj. The banger off of Pink Friday 2, “FTCU”, did a fine job of soothing eager fans. Near the end of the set MZG announced that they are identical twins, and local to the city at that. 

Minutes later a solo performance by GNDHI began. His artistry was an enticing blend of familiar sound and imported rhythm. With a name parallel to the historic figure Gandhi, it is no surprise that the performer was rather tame. Fans appeared to be immersed in their enjoyment, and became increasingly interested as the show went on. His invitation to the show was through the headliner, TROYBOI, who brought him on in 2019 as well. In hindsight, his set was a perfect introduction to the high energy acts to follow. If he returns to the states in the near future I will be sure to clear my calendar.

With just enough time for a water break I glance back at the ballroom. Two hours into the show and it has filled to maximum capacity. Pairs of pals, small groups and singles are all tuning in tonight. 

Lights dim once more and a bright body bursts to center stage. Her presence graced this exact stage a mere three months ago in collaboration with Electronic mixers Kasbo and Jai Wolf. Although she has been touring for the greater half of 2023, her energy was overflowing. Evan Giarrusso, “Evan Giia” online and onstage, is a Massachusetts-born Alt-Pop icon.

I first came to know her sound through the Bose speakers of Hot Yoga classes several years ago, falling in love with her voice in hard-to-hit poses. 

At this point, I assume she is a familiar household name, though her relatively-small social media following indicates that she is better known through streaming than by name. She introduced herself several times, the crowd already holding to her lyrics. Charisma morphed into confidence while she played classics like the 2018 single “Westworld” through her recent endorphin-evoking anthems, like “Limit”. 

Those who had not yet heard stored her name are likely to have seen it featured on Electronic Dance albums by Illenium, Louis the Child or Snakeships. While these song were obviously popular, her original song, “For Aisha” stole the show in a mind-altering manner. Her emotional investment in the piece was described as a tribute to her late sister-in-law. To hear it from her live was nearly indescribable. By the song’s end, fans were screaming, laughing and dancing- begging for more of her magic.

Alas, a final artist awaited backstage- and no one had forgotten who they had traveled for. One fan had returned to the Troyboi experience from California, stating that her first time witnessing his show had been ‘unbelievable’.

Troy Henry is miles from ‘home’, a South-UK self-starting producer who has been performing on the big stage for nearly a decade. His diversity as an individual carries into his beats, which are loosely described as Electronic-Dance. 

Moments before the clock danced into its third hour of light, Troy bounced to the stage to (literally) “Shut Shit Down”. His newest single with Armani White shook the building. An extended version could have held the crowd for the duration of his performance, though he had to move into other tunes from his latest EP, “For the Love of Bounce”. The People popped off- proving admiration with hand-written letters and an earthquake-like shake. Time flew: between heated beings and fresh finds from his experimental archives the remainder of the evening felt like a whirlwind of color. Each song carried avante-garde spins off of well-known Apple Music records. Leading up to the concert I had been silently anticipating a few oldies- all of which were somehow threaded into the production.

Being as this was the ‘last show of 2023’ for most of the artists, they all knew how to close out the year in a balanced, aesthetically pleasing style. You will have to wait until next year to catch more of the tour (Tallahassee get on it) & in the meantime, For the Love of Bounce, go listen to the EP! 

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