The Buffs are back in town. And nothing proved that more than the electric energy buzzing around Farrand Field on Saturday night for CU’s Welcomefest. Put on by Program Council, Welcomefest is CU’s annual concert extravaganza for students. This year the lineup included headliner and dubstep DJ Seven Lions, NY-based Joywave, Denver’s Sunboy, and Boulder’s very own Innerspace. What started out as a few hundred people sitting in the field at 530PM turned into over 7000 students packed along the stage barriers dancing, jumping, and crowdsurfing to Seven Lions’ waves of bass.
Innerspace, a local alternative rock outfit, kicked things off while the sun was still high in the sky. They played some guitar-heavy, head-banging licks from their latest EP, Earthrise. The guys call themselves “space rock” and you can check out a ton of their songs here.
Next up was Denver’s Sunboy, a psychedelic rock pop five-piece with some Tame Impala undertones. These boys have been getting some noticeable buzz lately, and played both the UMS and the Denver Pysch Fest this summer. Though they couldn’t incorporate the visuals they’re known for in their live performances into Saturday’s show, member Justin Renaud told us they recently created a new light production that they’ll be using for upcoming gigs. When we asked hypnotizing frontman and former CU student Jordan Lempe what it was like to be back on campus getting paid for a show, he laughed and told us, “It’s great to be on the other side.” Word.
As the sun set, Joywave entered, all in black. Joywave released their debut EP How Does It Feel? just last April, and they’ve already played on a number of late-night TV shows, opened for The Killers, are jetting off to play Reading & Leeds + Lollapalooza Berlin soon, and will return to headline their own US tour following their European adventure. If you caught any of Joywave’s set, you know why. They’re a five-piece indie pop and electronic crew who brought sweet beats, mad energy, and fun stage banter that engaged the crowd. Frontman Daniel Armbruster had CU students dancing, screaming, and jumping with him throughout their set. By the end Armbruster had everyone begging for “One more song!” and the group ended with their most popular track, “Tongues.” The crowd erupted in excitement and a massive sing-along commenced.
With the night in full swing, DJ Jeff Montalvo aka Seven Lions, took the stage. At this point, Welcomefest was packed. Students crowded against the stage barriers and when Seven Lions emerged, they went crazy. Girls jumped onto the shoulders of boys to rock out, there were tons of crowdsurfers, and everyone was moving to the bass. And that’s because the bass was insane. It was as if Seven Lions was controlling heartbeats with every thump. He had a ton of incredible visuals behind him as well. Lasers jetted out above the crowd until they hit the dorms across the field and the stage lights strobed in time with the beat.
Seven Lions first gained popularity for his dub and trance tracks in 2011 when he remixed Above & Beyond’s “You Got to Go.” Since then, he’s toured with Porter Robinson and played several notable festivals including SxSW, Ultra, and EDC. And, lucky for the Buffs, Seven Lions just released a brand new track, “Falling Away” on August 14th, which he played at the show. The energy of the crowd was as palpable as the bass, and at some points, the crowd even started “Let’s Go Buffs!” chants. Welcome back, indeed.
Overall, Program Council assembled a very successful lineup. When we talked about the bands chosen with Aaron Rogers, Director of Public Relations for Program Council, he told us, “The whole process [of booking acts] takes months. Booking depends on budget, timing, artist availability, and a whole lot of other factors.” This year, Program Council’s time and investment were clearly worth it.
Well done Welcomefest.
All photos per the authors. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.