Old South Pearl Street Jam Festival 7.9.11

Pearl St.
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By J-man

The sun was shining, the weather was sweet. It made me want to move my dancing feet... Until the sky came crashing down. The Old South Pearl Jam Festival had the feel of a massive block party, with a fantastic collection of bands, food and beer. For the cost of a $5.00 ticket, anyone could have enjoyed a night showcasing Colorado's full potential.

The afternoon started with some food from one of the many upscale street vendors. This was not your average festival food. I also started the afternoon with one of Kyle Hollingsworth's and Boulder Beer's Hoopla Pale Ale. As someone who drinks a lot of beer from a lot of different breweries and distributors, I love Hoopla. It is the near perfect combination of hops, hints and refreshing taste. In the category of "Festival Pale Ale" as coined by Kyle, it is indeed destined for awards.

As we sat and dined, Kinetix could be heard flying through cover after cover, done in electro style, most notably "Bohemien Rhapsody". They were very tight and the production was sound, but I wasn't sucked in. I found much more entertainment in my surroundings. There were folks everywhere, and more by the hour.

Following the Kinetix set, a stage announcement was made...

"Mountain Standard time was supposed to play, but they broke up yesterday. So, we have The Springdale Quartet instead and then Signal Path's set..."

It's interesting to think that if a band couldn't stay together to fulfill their last obligations... It must have been bad. Regardless, as I have never been impressed by MST, I laughed off the news and got down to Springdale Quartet instead. They sounded good and had a heavy rock/blues vibe. I was impressed with their musicianship, but again was not sucked in.

Backstage, we jumped aboard Signal Path's motorhome for what turned out to be an extremely entertaining interview...

Signal Path took the stage next. Right from the start, the production value hit me. I am always impressed by their clean sound and tasteful instrumentation. The crowd was really into it and then the rain began to fall heavily. At first I assume it would create a bummer situation with folks leaving and the set being delayed or even worse, canceled.

Signal Path Live at Old Pearl St Jam Fest on July 9, 2011.

To my surprise the set continued with hippies dancing their asses off in the rain. The staff rushed to cover the speakers while Signal Path played on. At one point there was water leaking onto Ryan Burnett's laptop, but the vibe was so high that he didn't bother to stop. The atmosphere was one of euphoria as the rain fell.

Between the sets, DJ Mikey Thunder was spinning some really danceable funk/jazz grooves. Though I am not really into the DJ scene, I appreciate tasteful vibes, and that's what Mikey does. The crowd was really receptive to his tweener sets, and he kept the place moving while the bands came and went.

The Congress hit the stage next, with the sun still hiding behind the clouds, but the rain subsiding. The Congress, a local blues/jam outfit, put on a good show. Their sound conveyed limited innovation, but captured the pure sounds of blues and jam music. With several Hooplas consumed, I was dancing and enjoying their set with both friends and family.

The Congress Live at Old Pearl St Jam Fest on July 9, 2011.

String Cheese keyboardist and beer brewer Kyle Hollingsworth took the stage to a packed house/neighborhood/street. I'm not sure if it was the Hoopla, Garrett Sayers, the environment, the good friends, or what... But that was one of the most enjoyable Kyle sets that I have seen.

Kyle Hollingsworth Band Live at Old Pearl St Jam Fest on July 9, 2011.

Kyle seemed to be having a blast and the band nailed it. During the set, the clouds passed and the sun returned for a beautiful sunset. Pearl Street was packed. People were perched on buildings, in addition to filling the designated concert area. The energy got higher and higher as the band and the crowd began to feed off one another. I couldn't have been happier.

Then the evening's closer stepped up to the plate. The Motet are one of the most desired and celebrated bands in Colorado. This evening they brought out a massive crowd of folks that stretched as far as the eye could see. Pearl Street was the place to be, and to reinforce that notion, The Motet brought their "A" game.

The Motet Live at Old Pearl St Jam Fest on July 9, 2011.

At this juncture, I don't have to tell you about the musicianship. I don't have to tell you about their abilities. All I have to say about The Motet was that it was consistent with everything that I have seen from this band. Dave, Garrett, Joey Porter, Scott Messersmith, Ryan Jalbert, The vocal section of Kim Dawson, Ayo Awosika and Damien Massey and the horn section of Pete Wall, Matt Pitts and Gabe Mervine, make up Colorado's premier funk/jam/dance/party collective. They were also joined by Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic on sax. That night was further proof of The Motet's draw and popularity. They are what I look for in music.

In the end I heard the crowd was estimated as high as 8,000 people. It was an overwhelmingly incredible evening in Denver. As the folks filed out of the gates and poured onto the surrounding streets, I reflected on how lucky I am to live in one of the jam meccas of the world...


Photo Gallery From The Fest


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