Kaytranada Transcends Red Rocks Into Open Air Boiler Room Party [Review]
And just like that, we’re back.
Only a week after Lotus officially kicked off Red Rocks season, recent Grammy-winner Kaytranada stopped in for a two-night celebration to remind fans why his music resonates with so many regardless of the room size.
Louis Kevin Celestin—known on stage as Kaytranada—is a Montreal-born Producer/DJ. In 2010, he became an underground R&B/soul sensation behind a series of mixtapes, remixes, and original projects. In 2016, his underground approach changed with his breakout LP, 99.9%, which introduced him to the mainstream. Already highly regarded as a producer amongst artists, this helped earn collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, The Internet, and Chance the Rapper. In 2021, his artistry and catalogue received the penultimate critical praise when his album, BUBBA, won two Grammy’s (Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronic Album).
As part of a further coronation, the Canadian act booked a two night stay at Red Rocks for May 1 and 2; a rare treat snuck into a series of 25%, limited capacity shows at the iconic venue. Seattle, Washington’s Sango kicked things off early on Saturday night by introducing the night’s hip-hop/R&B-friendly vibe shortly after sunset.
As the sun tucked further behind the Rockies and darkness crept in, the electronic/hip-hop artist reminded fans of his catalogue’s far reach. Mixed in with his own tracks, the producer played out his production and songs with Frank Ocean, Smino, and Bryson Tiller. At 9:30, Lou Phelps followed with a 30-minute hip-hop set. Diehards in attendance know Phelps as Kaytranada’s brother, as well as collaborator in their duo act, The Celestics. At 10:15 P.M., with a sparse, yet energetic crowd anxiously waiting, Kaytranada took the stage for the start of an hour and a half-long DJ set.
Perched atop a 10-foot LED board, Kaytranada appeared behind a look-through table setup wearing a plain white t-shirt and jeans. While his opener quickly brought the 2,500 in attendance to their feet, they had to endure a brief delay as the producer was forced to restart his computer. In a matter of moments, he had his gear reset and the show was back underway. On his LED throne, as well as behind him, the visuals stayed mostly topical to his latest effort, BUBBA. Trippy animations of Kaytranada were kept on a tight loop and accented by different art panels from the album.
Kaytranada’s music is widely regarded for its distinguished style and flare. His catalogue flourishes through a carousel of genres, all uniquely tied together through a vein of house music. The producer found time to singularly rinse hits from his LPs in a way that was fitting for a headlining RR gig, but stayed consistent for the most part creating fluid periods of DJing. This created a club-style vibe, and encouraged fans to spread out and dance in the unusually sparse Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Fans familiar with Kaytranada’s Boiler Room stream may have felt a home Saturday night. The producer took on a casual demeanor behind the decks and gently danced along with the crowd, offering small gestures and smirks as he briefly took in various moments. While his name has grown to headlining status, the quirky 28-year-old appears made for those tight knit moments of celebration and bringing people together through his music.
For his first evening at Red Rocks, Kaytranada was able to fill the space and void of months without shows by reminding those in attendance that vibrant, mass celebrations like these are why live music was so important to us in the first place. Here’s to hoping it sticks around for good.