The Motet's "Best of Halloween" 1.28.12

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Words By Nicholas Stock
Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

The Motet rounded out their two night sold out run with a "Best of Halloween" show with local act The Congress supporting. January 28th was bandleader and drummer extraordinaire, Dave Watts’ birthday. I headed down early during soundcheck to take some shots for The Motet’s promo video about their inclusion in the lineup for Wakarusa. After getting what we needed on video, myself, J-man, Carly and sax player Pete Wall met up with J-man’s brother, Brandon (who was also celebrating a birthday) and his girlfriend, Katie. I should add that this was also the nine-year anniversary of Cervantes and the old girl couldn’t be looking better. I rarely make it down because the lineup has skewed to the more electronic side of the scene, but every time I’m there I notice further improvements. The lighting rig and stage have truly evolved into solid setup, but this time around I noticed new sound baffling and some interesting lighting over the bar. It’s awesome seeing Cervantes transform into the room that I always knew it could be. So with festivity in the air I met up with my brother and friend Sean who was visiting from Iowa for the show.

The Congress took the stage shortly after 9 PM. When I saw them on the bill I was stoked, because they are one of the few truly impressive acts that has bubbled up to the surface in the last year or so. They opened with a rocking "Loretta."

The Congress Live at Cervantes Masterpiece on January 28, 2012.

SET I: Loretta, Pullin’ Weeds, Hundred Miles, Johnah Gideon, Minutes*, Fall, Keep Virginia, Walls, Dixie Chicken**, Distance

*With Pete Wall
**With Dan Schwindt & Joey Porter

Setlist Provided by Scott Lane of The Congress

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, The Congress is a forceful rock outfit that combines great vocals and a level of tightness that is truly compelling. With Meadows tossing out y’alls to the crowd they create a relaxing vibe with every note before blasting off into their own brand of rock and roll. Overall this set took down the intensity level with The Congress demonstrating some of their slower tunes such as "Minutes" and "Keep Virginia," but they didn’t hesitate to show their dynamic range with tracks like "Walls." The highlight of the set was their original face-melter "Johnah Gideon" which is both riff-y and well written and the Porter/Schwindt sit-in on Little Feat’s "Dixie Chicken." I was very happy with their set and will continue to recommend to anyone seeking out a great rocking time to check them out.

In between the sets DJ Mikey Thunder spun for the crowd. I have to say I was not that impressed. I know he is well liked and that he has his own brand of jazzy whomp, but on Saturday he missed the mark. I felt like he came up short and didn’t fit into the overall flow of the show. It felt like an unnecessary add-on to an already strong lineup.

The Motet came on around 11:15 PM and kicked it all off with Jamiroquai’s "Emergency On Planet Earth," a funky way to set the mood.

The Motet Live at Cervantes Masterpiece on January 28, 2012.

SET I: Emergency On Planet Earth, We Can Work It Out, I Feel For You, Dear Prudence, Runnin’, Call My Name, 1+1+1=3

SET II: Shinning Star, Too Young To Die, Magic Mind, Take Me To The River, Fair But Uncool, Virtual Insanity, Only So Much Oil

ENCORE: That’s The Way Of The World, Blame It On The Boogie

Seeing The Motet perform their "Funk is Dead" show in October and play a show of originals on New Year’s Eve, I was ready for this Best of Halloween extravaganza. Motet is truly accomplished with their style of electro-funk, but could easily be considered Jam’s best cover band. I say that because their Halloween tradition of covering a band’s repertoire has become incredibly popular on the Front Range and is a guaranteed sellout run. Furthermore it’s not like they are playing straight covers, they truly take the material and make it their own, which is most evident with their "Funk is Dead" shows. The first set saw two Beatles tunes with "We Can Work It Out" as well as "Dear Prudence," the later of which was my highlight. They ended the set with a duo of songs from Prince in the form of "Call My Name" and "1+1+1=3." Musically they sounded great. The extended lineup of The Motet with Paul McDaniel and Kim Dawson on vocals as well as Dan Schwindt on guitar, who is a member but only plays select dates, is truly a sight to behold. With 12 people on stage there is so much talent that at times my head was bouncing around like a pinball machine to catch all the action. They ended the first set with Dave Watts’ birthday celebration. A unicorn piñata was lowered while Dave took a few swings before it exploded showering the crowd with adult party favors.

DJ Mikey Thunder again played the setbreak and kept the mood celebratory by playing birthday themed cuts. The Motet came back to play around 12:30 PM and played until close. The second set combined with the first to give the fans a smorgasbord of what they offered on Halloween over the years. They opened with Earth, Wind, & Fire’s "Shinning Star." The Motet came out with their version of Michael Jackson’s "Magic Mind," which was sick but the peak came with the Talking Heads’ "Take Me To The River." They closed the set with the funky "Only So Much Oil" originally by Tower Of Power. Typically they have stayed closed to funk as it is their forte, but in recent years they have begun to apply their inherent funkiness to bands that don’t necessarily fit that mold. It just shows that they are thinking bigger and it has paid off for them. They are playing a number of festivals this summer and are beginning to branch out with their touring. It’s time for Colorado to share the awesomeness of The Motet with the rest of the country.

They encored with another Earth, Wind, & Fire track with "That’s The Way Of The World" and the Jackson 5’s "Blame It On The Boogie" that was a funky punctuation mark on the whole experience! I was stoked on the whole show proving to me once again that no matter what, The Motet delivers. They play with a power and intensity that always makes them worth the trip. Good luck to them as they begin to really branch out this summer. The time is right.

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