Local Flavor at the Mishawaka
Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (phatphlogblog.blogspot.com)
There is something special about seeing a good local band. It has the ability to make you feel like you’re part of a special club, like you are in on the secret. As a band builds a following and gains a fanbase, it’s easy to get in on the ground floor and watch them evolve organically. The Mishawaka hosted three such bands Futaba, Zobomaze, and Trichome. All three groups are special and playing well enough that they could really do something big in the next few years.
I grabbed the shuttle with my buddy Dustin as lightning was striking all around Chipper’s Lanes. We rode up the canyon discussing our highlights from the summer and the meaning of friendship. When we arrived there was maybe 40 people standing around, and at its biggest point, the crowd couldn’t have numbered more than a couple hundred. Usually the Mish is packed so this was a nice change of pace. I saw Zobomaze saxophonist Zach Simms and Live Painter Skaadi Ho as we entered and said my hellos. Futaba was just getting their opening set started.
Futaba is a band I’ve heard a lot about but not had the pleasure of seeing live until now. Specializing in their own brand of mountain funk, Futaba has the ability to make you just want to dance. One thing you can say about Futaba is that they have a full sound. With a total of eight members, their music can blow away even the most jaded fan. As they dug into their set, the crowd began to fill in. The sun was setting over the mountains in the Poudre and we were left with the bluish glow of the moonlight in which to dance. Harkening back to the days of Earth, Wind, & Fire and Tower of Power, Futaba has carved out a nice musical niche in the world of funk. Rarely do I really get excited for the funky stuff but it was the combination of the brass and the rhythm section that really set them apart. All in all they were a great way to get the night going.
Auditory Elements was playing tweener sets from the VIP balcony above the outside bar. His sound was simply elementary; a high school student with a laptop could have done everything he put forth during his performance. This is my main issue with how electronic music has taken over the scene. It almost feels like it’s a necessity to have some form of DJ on the bill even if it clashes with the main event. With all the great organic music from the main stage, the DJ just seemed out of place. I took the opportunity during Auditory Elements to mingle and try to ignore the atrocity coming from above the bar.
Zobomaze made their way up to the stage. These guys are young but they consistently put forth everything they have for the crowd. It’s invigorating to see that much passion displayed in a performance. Zobo’s energy is infectious and it is a testament as to why they are doing so well this year. With spots at Desert Rocks and Sonic Bloom, they have begun to really make a name for themselves in Denver and beyond. It is only a matter of time for these guys. Zobomaze played an eclectic set list ranging from bouncy jam to a dark journey through the abyss. The set peaked with a rocking version of “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”. They invited live painter Skaadi Ho onstage to paint their set. Skaadi works with an airbrush and the paint is reactive to black light making for a visual style that literally pops off the canvas. A very impressive set from Zobomaze made the evening just fly by. And with that, it was time for Trichome to bring out the big guns.
Trichome began as a bunch of white boys playing reggae. What I witnessed at the Mishwaka was truly a band evolved. They opened with "O Fortuna", here is the rest of the setlist from saxophonist Michael Windham.
SET I: O Fortuna> Boogie Shoes> All the Love, Strawberry, Mighty Impil, Sway, Koolie High> Latino Embrolo> Another Day> Latino Embrollo, Farside (w/Da Funk Jam), Alright, Chant Up, Music Goes On, Let Go> Koolie High
ENCORE: Squirt (w/ Jungle Boogie Tease)
The way they have reformatted their sound is truly staggering. One thing that was most present in their sound was their dynamic layering. Trichome has a core group of six musically masterful members, but for this show they added a couple of extra horns for good measure. It was a journey through world, jam, reggae, and funk, which ultimately peaked with the huge “Da Funk Jam” that was tucked into “Farside”. It was a stellar show that made me reevaluate my first impression of these guys. That’s one more reason to go and check out local bands that perhaps you’ve even seen before. The younger bands have the fire in their bellies to constantly improve. And in the short year since I had seen them last, they were completely new to me. I was totally impressed where at first glance I could take or leave their sound. Now I will continue to follow them as they progress and look forward to my next encounter with Trichome.
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