MusicMarauders Presents: Two Nights of Kyle Hollingsworth Band & Soulive
Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn
Audio By Peter Coffan
With one of the more entertaining and epic musically inclined weekends of the year now in my rear view mirror, I am starting to realize and truly understand why people get stuck here in our great state of Colorado. Being a non-native (Bay Area, California) I thought I knew what a hip and ultra-cool place to live in was like. Then I decided to follow my best-friend out to Boulder, Colorado for college six long years ago and I could not be happier with my decision. This past weekend at Cervantes was a great example of why Colorado and more specifically the Denver area is a downright fucking awesome place to live, party, dream, escape, multiply, dance and rage your “prime” years away. If you were at Cervantes you know exactly what I am talking about because not only did we get Soulive (one of the funkiest jazz trio’s on the jamband circuit right now), but we got Kyle Hollingsworth (from the String Cheese Incident) and his funky Motet friends dropping funk bombs all over the place. Most venues are lucky enough to get one of these bands for one night each, but Cervantes pulled both heavyweights for two nights a piece! The anticipation of funk-dom (The freedom to funk yourself up all over the place) was brutal for the days leading up to the event, but Friday finally arrived and Kyle took the stage with a smile and “Hoptastic” beer in hand.
Kyle Hollingsworth Band Live at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom on December 7, 2012.
“Let’s Go Outside” came next with Kyle’s sweet sounding harmony echoing off the ceiling and “All I Need” was a nicely timed transition right after. Both of these songs are Kyle classics and have been adopted and transformed into bigger String Cheese Incident pieces appearing in more recent 2011-2012 tour dates. “World Girl”, a new Kyle song is just not good in my opinion. I don’t know much else to say about this one as I have heard it three or four times now and just can’t get into the beat, melody, or lyrics. Our previously announced special guest for the evening, Jason Hann, bounced onto the stage with a huge grin and his usual good attitude radiating into the crowd. His first duty was to help out on Kyle’s hit “Can’t Wait Another Day,” which has also appeared in many recent Cheese tour stops. I personally am completely over this song and the hype it receives from Cheeseheads all over. It was great the first two or three times, but after ten or so times hearing this piece, I have given up hope on it being anything else than a Michael Franti wannabe pop hit. “Pack it Up > Boo Boo’s Pik-a-nik” was a pleasant combination featuring all of Kyle’s piano abilities on full display with his Motet friends raging right there with him. Jason Hann provided no real positive or negative effects on any songs he was involved with as his jembe/bongo playing was easily over-shadowed by Garrett and Dan’s fierce bass vs. guitar duels. I wonder why Kyle didn’t have his good buddy Michael Kang come by?
Soulive Live at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom on December 7, 2012.
Eric Krasno is a jazz guitar virtuoso and being the leader of funk bands such as Soulive and Lettuce, one must be able to keep the groove going all night long. His playing style is very similar to that of John Scofield as it seems he flows through the songs rather than shredding from note to note. Krasno can lay a riff in front or behind any bass line or drum beat known to man and it shows in the variety of songs and covers he is flawless in resurrecting any night of the week. Soulive possessed a perfect balance between jazz and funk as the trio jumped from one genre to the other with laser-like precision and the crowd was definitely appreciative of the variety in musical types. I do believe Soulive benefited from having the headlining spot on Friday night as the audience was ready to get it on when the trio hit the stage. To summarize Friday though as a night of disappointments and moments of musical under-delivery would not be the correct thing to do. Even though my mind was not blown at any particular time throughout the night, it was an enjoyable musical experience nonetheless. I could not wait for Saturday though, as we were going to get both of the bands again and Kyle was going to be in the headlining spot. One More Saturday Night!
Soulive Live at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom on December 8, 2012.
I wandered back over to Cervantes as Kyle and his Motet friends hit the stage right on time for their well-deserved headlining spot. The set started with a nice combo of “Too Young > Taxman,” as this was an awesome tribute to the anniversary of John Lennon’s death 32 years to the date earlier. Eric Krasno was nice enough to join in on the rendition of “Taxman” and stayed up on stage to lead Kyle’s band through his original composition, “Unconditional Love.” Our previously announced special guest, Kim Dawson, also joined in for this new song and brought the house down with her gospel like shrieks. “World Girl” came next and as I previously mentioned this song is just not one I want to hear… ever. The Kyle classic “Piece of Mine” was forced to try and save what the previous song had screwed up earlier and did a nice job in turning the set back around. The Motet Horns joined in from this point on and were an awesome addition to Kyle’s already immensely talented band. Then came our first real musical delight of the night as the String Cheese hit “Lost” came blaring through the Cervantes speakers. What a fucking awesome song this is! Funky grooves, great transitional jams and even pretty good lyrics make this song a nice piece of Kyle’s repertoire. WOW! The set had really taken a turn with “World Girl”, but was quickly saved by Kyle and his funktastic friends.
Kyle Hollingsworth Band Live at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom on December 8, 2012.
So what did we learn from this two day rage-fest? A few things:
-Having 2 major bands swap headlining spots can sometimes be tricky
-Andreux & The See of Sounds are badass!
-Soulive needs to stop playing the Beatles
-Kyle knew what he was doing when he stole the Motet’s core group
-And Cervantes delivers over and over again with awesome pairings and great marketing
In the end it was a fucking awesome weekend for all Denver live music fanatics. Hopefully it will happen more often and maybe we'll even see these bands get their own headlining (as opposed to co-headlining) nights at Cervantes in the future. Whatever happens I am pumped as the funk is raging hard in the coolest place I have ever lived. GO DENVER, GO DENVER, GO!
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