Kyle Hollingsworth Band 11.3.12

Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO

Words By Kevin Hahn
Photos By C Alan Crandall

To say that I was “just excited” for this show could be the understatement of this decade. I was going to have the opportunity to see my favorite musician (Kyle Hollingsworth) in my favorite venue (Boulder Theater) and most of my funky friends were going to be by my side moving and grooving until those final notes had been played. The weeks before this concert went by with a “tortoise-like” speed, as my body itched and mind craved for some good ole-fashioned funky good times. Reviewing the previous shows set lists from Kyle’s recent tour through California with John Brown’s Body, I knew we were in for a treat as the band sounded confident in their abilities and the funk was flowing… hard. But this night was not all about Kyle and his Motet friends, as we had two opening bands that truly got the energy going and the crowd buzzing.

Our night started off with one of Boulder’s finest musicians and truly awesome person, Garrett Sayers, flaying his funky phalanges up on stage with none other than his brothers. Now, I am not talking about some friends that Garrett calls his “brothas," but these were his actual older (Brian) and younger (Drew) brothers who were born with that internal funk that Garrett has revealed to us numerous times over the years. The Brother’s Sayers group raged for a quick forty five minute jazzy funk set which was highlighted with some Garrett Sayers Trio covers and some stage-induced improved jams, which kept my knees buckling and moving for the entirety of their appearance. In retrospect, the music was awesome (as anything with GSayers usually is) but the smiles the three brothers had while playing with their true flesh and blood were contagious and the love shared on stage could be felt throughout the entire venue.

Up next was the energetic, dance-party
inducing, head bobbing, soulful Jam-Reggae band known as John Brown’s Body. Honestly, when I first saw this show’s headliner pairing I was disappointed as I had never listened to JBB before and I didn’t know if their funky-reggae would be enough to keep the crowd interested and more so myself. WOW WAS I WRONG! Not only did they raise the crowd’s energy level with their deep horn cuts and smooth song transitions, but they blew the roof off the Boulder Theater. Song after song Elliot Martin, the singer and leader of the band, dove headfirst into the soulful melodies and gave us a truly powerful vocal performance. From the bassist to the drummer to the full horn section, this band was on point from the start and I couldn't help myself from clinging to the stage at the front of the Boulder Theater hoping for some enlightenment through the beautiful sounds of reggae. Kyle made an appearance on the keys for a song or two, but this in no way over-shadowed the kings of “Future Roots Music” as their set was a perfect opening for the funk yet to come.

With my excitement increasing and general scene inside the Boulder Theater getting restless for some funk de Kyle, I decided to get as close to the stage as humanly possible in order to get the best view of my musical hero. What a good choice this was, as shortly thereafter the band took their places and the crowd was ready to go. "Peregrino," a Motet staple and just downright dance party number started off the show and from the get go it was evident that Kyle and his friends came ready to rage. Garrett Sayers, Dave Watts, and Dan Schwindt made up the rest of the band and our Kyle/Motet dance fest had begun in full swing. "Let’s Go Outside" and "Can’t Wait Another Day," two String Cheese Incident staples, rounded out the first three songs of the show in a happy/smile-inducing sort of way. Kyle’s raspy vocals were beautiful for these songs and whatever he was sipping on (Probably his new beer Hop Bam!) kept him smooth and silky for the entire night. One of my personal favorites "Too Young" came next and Kyle went to work with incredibly funky keyboard prowess and his band didn’t drop a beat. A new song, "World Girl" was introduced next and I will wait until the Cheese gets their hands on this one before making a true judgment. "Racer X" created crowd frenzy as Garrett kept increasing his bass pace to lightning-like speed and Dave Watts followed suit to perfection. The band was on fire!

What came next could probably be described as the most amazing segue way/grouping of songs I have ever heard the Kyle Hollingsworth Band put together. (I have been to approximately 20-25 Kyle Band shows) "Way That It Goes > Slipknot > Help on the Way > Franklin’s Tower" was just the beginning of the epic-ness! Garrett was able to emulate Phil Lesh’s thumping bass-lines to a level of pure perfection and Dan Schwindt took "Way that It Goes" to a whole new level of guitar-shredding goodness. When "Franklin’s Tower" ended I looked around at the stunned audience and knew that Kyle and his funktastic friends had just won over any non-believers with their perfect executions and downright silly transition jams. "Boo Boo’s Pik-a-Nik" got the crowd bouncing and yelling to the only bluegrassy song choice of the entire night, giving way to one of the best combinations ever created (in my opinion) with the String Cheese funk-filled "Galactic" transitioning into a much appreciated "Flashlight" (George Clinton) segment. WOW was this combo the heat! Kyle glanced at his band and a smile engulfed his face as he knew what they were doing was something special. But where does he take his talented band from here? Home! And with this notion, the bass line of the Talking Heads "Naïve Melody" went into full force.

Tears of joy could be seen throughout the crowd as the David Byrne staple has become a world-wide fan favorite (no matter who the band playing it is) and Kyle’s band does it better than most. After a beautiful ten minute version/jam, "Ordinary" came blasting into the Boulder Theater with a ferocious guitar solo sandwiched in between Dave Watt’s ever-changing tempos and Garrett’s just downright funktastic-ness. As 1:00 a.m. quickly approached, I feared the show was coming to an end, but we still had some time to finish off those Hop Bam!’s and give our dancing shoes one last workout. The crowd pleasing and favorite "Rosie" hit the speakers and again the audience went nutty. The Cheese-like sandwich of "Rosie > Bonafied Lovin > Rosie" was a great way to end their set and the band did not disappoint with their electro-funk beats and enthusiastic smiles beaming from the stage. But what would Kyle and his incredibly talented band give us for the encore? Going with the night’s theme of his new beer creation with Sierra Nevada, the Kyle Hollingsworth Band gave us a "Bam > Taxman" encore, which will go down in my mind as a perfect ending to a downright funktastically perfect night.

As I was ushered out of the Boulder
Theater all I could manage to do was smile and giggle at what I had just witnessed. Kyle’s first true show in Boulder in three years was funky, exciting and full of a joyous band and appreciative audience. His band members, whom he happily stole from The Motet, create a core group of funktastic all-stars and there are no substitutes or replacements necessary. Garrett, Dan and Dave bring a raucous energy level and immense talent to the stage each and every time they play and thankfully Kyle employed them to help him do the same. I mean, what can I say? My musical hero, playing with some of his best friends, absolutely killing it on stage… One might call it perfect, but I have come to know it as Super-Funk-a-Licious-Beat Dropping-Knee Buckling-Palms Sweating-Outrageously Good Times and I can’t fathom waiting a month or so until I get to see this project again. Kyle Band and Soulive…can anyone say a match made in funk heaven? Until then, I will make peace with my ever-wanting desire for some good ole fashioned funk and keep telling myself to be patient. Only a few more weeks until my heart is full again… and hopefully you will join me as this band is just one of those you don’t want to miss.


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