Juno What?! feat. Bernie Worrell & Euforquestra 5.4.12

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Words Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

A jam-packed weekend of music began with Juno What?!’s headlining show at Cervantes with famed funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell. Much of what Worrell pioneered throughout his career with Parliament and to a lesser extent the Talking Heads is the basis for what bands like Juno What?! are doing today. So it made sense to toss them together in a live setting. Up first was Fort Collins based Euforquestra who continues to impress audiences up and down the Front Rage. Euforquestra continues to be one of my favorite shows to see live. They are a danceable journey into the abyss of world funk with a sound is so undeniably eclectic and inviting, I challenge anyone to see them and not have a good time.

SET I: Backbone, Price Is Right, Hopscotch, Ogun, MOMO, Soup, Reggaemylitis, Road Funk, Hang Ups, 2007, Free> Pure> Excuse O> Free, What Cha Want

Their set had it all including a sick version of Peter Tosh’s "Reggaemylitis" with Grundstad on vocals. Mike Tallman has to be one of the most underrated guitarists playing around Denver these days. He quite simply shreds with amazingly smooth finger work. The "Free" sandwich shows how tight they have become during their time in Colorado, but the highlight of the show had to be their tribute to the late, great Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. Also known as MCA, his passing is a huge loss to the hiphop community. The Euforquestra boys thought it was appropriate to honor him with a cover of "What Cha Want." They invited three MCs to the stage and busted out a compelling close to their set.

Juno What?! is an electro-funk outfit made up of Joey Porter and Steve Watkins on keys and Dave Watts on drums. The lineup is unusual to say the least, however, the band is often joined by friends to help fill out their sound. On this particular evening those friends were many, most importantly famed funk innovator Bernie Worrell, as well as members of The Motet and Euforquestra. The night’s theme as an all out dance party continued strong when Juno What?! opened with their now classic "What You See Is What You Get," with Joey on the talk box. It set the mood for the entire night as the kids on the floor started their two and a half-hour boogie marathon. They were soon joined by Bernie who fit into their sound like a well-worn glove.

Watching Mr. Worrell at the keys is simply spellbinding. There is something indescribable about seeing such a leading light in the world of funk performing right before your eyes. His weathered hands stroked the keys with amazing comfort. It’s like seeing an old married couple still experiencing love after many years of wedded bliss. Highlights included a rowdy "We Want The Funk" and a sick “Red Hot Momma.” Seeing Porter play with one of his heroes was the icing on the cake. It was a great night of fun for everyone in attendance. I hope we can all do it again some time.

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