Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Torch Singer Thursday" feat. Daniella Katzir

Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge
Denver, CO

Words & Photo By J-man

Among the many themed evenings at Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge, "Torch Singer Thursdays," stands out in that it features local area female vocalists. Last week's "Torch Singer Thursday" featured Daniella Katzir backed by a strong group of talent that included Dave Devine (Guitar), Greg Garrison (Bass) and Bill Larson (Drums) in Dazzle's Dizzy Room. The evening began with a little bit of fine tuning before the band dialed in the sound. Daniella's straight-forward acoustic guitar playing was spiced up by Dave's precise and bright lead work. Greg smiled and played off of Dave, filling in the low end with well placed notation. Bill's drumming was only as complex as what the music called for, as was the case with the rest of the group.

Folks came and went, taking in bits and pieces of the evening's performance. Daniella's vocals were soft and sweet as she sang through several originals and covers. A version of Melanie's "Brand New Key" triggered a laugh and some singing along in the small room. As the night got later the room slowly cleared out and the band played on. Dazzle continues to be a place that features music of all sorts, as that Thursday's band didn't really fit the Jazz genre, yet fit the vibe of the room. Head over to Dazzle every Thursday to catch various local "Torch Singers," celebrating Jazz, Blues and other various styles... And it's free.

Robert Walter's 20th Congress, Kung Fu & Garrett Sayers Trio 1.24.13

The Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock
Audio By Corey Sandoval (Kind Recordings)

It was a big night in Fort Collins. The Aggie brought in an impressive lineup consisting of some of the best jazz and funk artists touring today. Hodi’s was celebrating their grand re-opening under new ownership with Dave Watts and Friends (aka The Motet) and free beer. The people that wanted to party headed to Hodi’s, the music fans went to The Aggie. I honestly would have loved to catch both, but the amazing music unfolding before my eyes kept me from moving on.

Up first was Garrett Sayers Trio lead by bass virtuoso and local phenom Mr. Garrett Sayers. This lineup consisting of Garrett on bass, Patrick Lee on keys, and Johnny Jyemo on drums has had a longstanding Wednesday night residency at the Highland Tap & Burger in Denver. They have intrigued me for a long time, but this was my first chance catching them live. GS3 took the stage around 9:15 and dazzled the crowd for just short of an hour. It was a roller coaster ride with this nimble trio weaving together a massive sound for such a tight unit. The diversity within the GS3, was evident from the beginning. Each member of the band seems to be coming from distinctly different musical backgrounds. The resulting blend of funk, jam, jazz, R & B, and so much more percolated in and out of every song. Garrett Sayers Trio is an instrumental band as were all the bands on the bill minus Kung Fu who will occasionally feature a song with vocals. There is something freeing about going to see an instrumental band. The show doesn't get all convoluted with silly things like lyrics. I’m being facetious but it really does allow the audience to focus strictly on the music. It was impossible not to focus on GS3 as all three members wowed the slowly growing crowd. They finished their remarkable set and headed down the road where Garrett joined his Motet band mates for their gig at Hodi’s. He really is a hard worker.

Garrett Sayers Live at Aggie Theatre on January 24, 2013.

Last year, jam super group Kung Fu made several visits to Colorado and they definitely made an impression. This time they were on a 5-day mission from God that took them from Aspen through Breckenridge and down to the Front Range. This was night three of that run and their set again came in at just under an hour and was truly mind melting. While the Aggie was only about a third full, I was impressed with the variety of people in the crowd. I chatted with a couple of older gentlemen who had won tickets off of the radio with little knowledge of what was in store for them. I saw young college kids mingling with middle-aged hipsters. Perhaps the most alarming thing about this show was the distinct lack of chatter during the show. As you can hear in the recordings, people were definitely there to see the music. Kung Fu is Tim Palmieri on guitar (The Breakfast), Robert Somerville on tenor sax (Deep Banana Blackout), Todd Stoops on keyboards (RAQ), Christopher DeAngelis on bass guitar (The Breakfast), and Adrian Tramontano on drums/percussion (The Breakfast). This is truly a powerhouse lineup that did not disappoint. They opened with “Do The Right Thing.”

Set One: Do The Right Thing, Snaggle, Scapegoat Blues> Letters From Bobby Portugal> Hollywood Kisses, Chakrabarty Overdrive

Kung Fu Live at Aggie Theatre on January 24, 2013.

Kung Fu is a hard-hitting amalgamation of funk-fueled fire assaulting the senses of all those who dare to enter the ring. It’s a constant onslaught from Palmieri who literally had to have a stagehand douse him with an extinguisher after his massive solo during “Scapegoat Blues.” “Hollywood Blues” was the only song of the entire evening that featured vocals. They closed their ‘not long enough’ set with “Chakrabarty Overdrive” which as it’s name would insinuate caused me to need to go outside for some air. Keep coming back Kung Fu, and keep playing bigger and bigger shows. Colorado needs your brand of funky goodness.

Finally it was time for the B3 master himself Robert Walter to take the stage with his 20th Congress. Now this band has had several incarnations and has a rotating list of members. Fans at The Aggie were treated to a stunning lineup consisting of Cheme Gastelum (Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings), Chris Stillwell (Greyboy Allstars), and Simon Lott (Charlie Hunter Trio). Just unbelievable. They opened with a gritty “Hunk.”

Set One: Hunk, Snakes & Spiders, Cory’s Snail and Slug Death, Sweetie Pie, Dog Party, He’s Really Gone, Rivers of Babylon, Get Thy Bearings, Who Took the Happiness Out?, Fox Hunting, Don’t Chin The Dog, Impervious, Instant Karma

Encore: Don’t Hate Congratulate

Robert Walter's 20th Congress Live at Aggie Theatre on January 24, 2013.

Robert Walter is best known for his work with Greyboy Allstars, however his solo band is truly not to be missed. I really felt that it has been such a long gap between his tours, that many are no longer in the know. And it’s too bad really, because the show we received from this lineup was nothing short of top notch. The lack of guitar really put the focus on Walter and Gastelum and their interplay was outstanding. The highlight of the show for me was the Phantom of the Opera-esque intro to the instrumental “Rivers Of Babylon.” They closed their set with a massive jam on Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” This is the caliber of music I would like to see more of on The Front Range. Despite the conflicting shows, I feel I made the right choice and left feeling musically satisfied in a way that I have not been in quite some time. Watching truly gifted musicians jam together is the reason I started really covering live shows. Seeing this stellar lineup on a Thursday night in Fort Collins just validates that decision.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

MusicMarauders Presents: Kung Fu 1.23.13

The Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn

I had no idea what to expect. Going to a show blind (never really listening to the band before) is a very risky endeavor to partake in. We have all heard the horror stories of people going to shows and absolutely hating the music. But how many times do we get to hear someone praise to the heavens for the opportunity they were given to see a new band or type of music? Honestly, this does not happen enough, but I was lucky enough to have this amazing feeling the other night as I watched Kung Fu rip through The Fox Theater like fresh key lime pie. Yummmmy!

How hard did they rip it? Let’s just say that my feet still haven’t stopped moving! Kung Fu is a super group of sorts combining the powers of RAQ, The Breakfast, and Deep Banana Blackout into one giant funktastic groove machine. Each member of the band plays an integral role in almost every song, and there are absolutely no breaks or sit-down periods allowed. The music is high energy, fast paced, and best of all really fucking good. From improved jams to funky compositions Kung Fu killed it on all levels… and I am especially happy that I was exposed to them. The real question for me is, “How have I not heard of them before now???”

The band known as Kung Fu seems to be something of a well-kept secret. Not many people know who they are or what type of music they play, but their name seems oddly familiar. Popping up from time to time here in Colorado Kung Fu brings a raging party with them each and every show. As I stood in the Fox with my best buddy Steve watching the keyboardist and saxophone player go back and forth with funky lick after funky lick, only one thing could come out of our mouths “Damn, this is awesome.” This is the honest truth… I highly recommend going to see Kung Fu whenever possible, and make sure to bring your dancing shoes!

Kevin's Photo Gallery

Three Nights of Railroad Earth Jan. 18th - Jan. 20th

The Ogden Theater
Denver, CO

Intro & Photos By J-man

Railroad Earth Live at Ogden Theater on January 18, 2013.

The weekend of January 18th welcomed a stop on the Railroad Earth tour that would spam three days and nights for three near sold out shows at The Ogden Theater in Denver, CO. Folks came from all over the country to celebrate with one of the scene's growing powerhouses. With tickets reaching nearly $50.00 after fees, the weekend would be a test for the dedication of the ever increasing fanbase. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we were unable to cover night one of the run. Our coverage begins on night two, with the energy and excitement building for the peak of the run!

Saturday January 19th, 2013:

Words By Brandon Picard

Railroad Earth Live at Ogden Theater on January 19, 2013.

Bands change. Musicians change. People change. One thing that doesn’t change is the passion that continues to circulate through this beautiful scene. Railroad Earth again is proving why they belong in the middle of it all. Saturday night brought the wonderful people of Denver, Colorado to the Ogden Theatre for the second of three nights on this outrageously successful weekend. Groups of people gathered outside on a rather blistery night hoisting their one finger in the air hoping for the chance to get inside for what was sure to be a brilliant celebration. The show was sold out, and RRE was ready to display exactly why.

Walking into the venue we were greeted with welcoming sounds of “Donkey for Sale” then straight into “Dance Around Molly,” a fiddle packed clap along tune that got the entire theater stomping and laughing together. The venue was packed! Folks quickly became very friendly with their neighbors dancing and rubbing elbows nearly every second. This is exactly what I had expected from Railroad Earth when I first saw them roughly five years ago. Having missed their September Red Rocks show, I was eagerly anticipating to see what they had been working on. As the first set progressed, I took a minute to look around the filled venue with pleasure, appreciating what was taking place. “Chains” followed and was sung by nearly every person in attendance. I got my first glimpse of the dobro, played to near perfection by Andy Goessling, who was changing instruments nearly every song. The backdrop portrayed an owl with massive wings. Changes in lights progressed with the music as the night went on. Heavy instrumentation was accompanied by a stimulating flashing white light, while the calm-paced more simple sounds came with a soft tone of reds and blues.

Towards the end of the first set a roar from the crowd let out as “The Hunting Song” started. One of my favorite RRE songs featured Goessling again, this time on his pennywhistle as he filled the instrumental gaps with high pitched melodies of joy. The song takes on a bit of a rock and roll theme as Todd Schaefer strays from his voice and allows his fingers to do the talking as he strums the six string like a savvy rock and roll veteran. “Fisherman’s Blues” rounded out the first half as Railroad Earth fans released from their roughly one hour daze that was the first set. This is when I began to realize that the show had over sold. The amount of people looking to get outside for a refresher of nicotine and herb was substantial. People gathered at the door waiting for their turn to bask in the 15 x 15 square feet of pure smoke. We quickly turned around and made our way back into the still jam packed theatre. Groups of people gathered in small powwows throughout the room chatting amongst themselves as Railroad Earth took time to recompose.

As the second set started the overly packed venue continued to fill with lingerers wandering in midway through “1759,” an upbeat, technical, time changing Irish jig. The emphatic lighting fell right back into place as the room filled with spurts of light from the entire spectrum. Tim Carbone continued to show his strengths on the violin as he tore through some psychedelic instrumentals. As songs passed quickly and time seemingly stood still, I began to take note of the formation the band continued to be in; the formation that I had seen them retain in many shows past. The spacing between the musicians of RRE is always consistent. I began to reflect on other bands, bluegrass or not, and the formations each demonstrate. It’s something I've actually never thought about. Most bands I have seen illustrate the same set up on stage show after show. The symmetry of Railroad Earth’s stage presence brings balance to an already visually stimulating experience. The sounds pass around from point to point on stage and eventually become clearly identifiable, even with your eyes closed.

“Like a Buddha,” another favorite of mine, brought the already elated crowed to the next level. The room was taken over with the mellow sounds of the flute. Hands everywhere in the air waved frantically as if reaching for an apple high in a tree. The dancing never stopped. Railroad Earth encored with “Old Dangerfield -> Luxury Liner.” The instrumental first half gave the musicians of RRE each a chance to flaunt their talents as the lead was passed around subtly. As “Luxury Liner” a Gram Parson’s tune started, it was clear people in the crowd had just a little bit more to give. Bouncing as one, the crowd moved with the beat until the music was no more. The ecstatic crowd burst in to applaud as Railroad Earth's Saturday show had come to an end. Everyone was smiling as they left the venue talking about “tomorrow” and what Railroad Earth had in store. For me, I was happy to see such a wonderful turnout for the weekend as a whole. Railroad Earth took us on a journey like they always do; evolving like clockwork each time I see them. I couldn’t wait to hear what Sunday was like!

Sunday January 20th, 2013:

Words By J-man

Railroad Earth Live at Ogden Theatre on January 20, 2013.

The line out front of The Ogden extended down the block, as folks waited to obtain their tickets via the one window and one person assisting the crowd. For a Theater of The Ogden's size, one window is not enough. Inside of the packed venue, Railroad Earth fired up with fan favorite, "Long Way To Go," followed by "Colorado" to kick off the evening. The crowd was captivated as the band slowed it down for "The Good Life > Seven Story Mountain." The instrumentation was strong and pure, but the energy was at the mercy of a band that likes to jump between extremes, touching on sonic beauty along the way. "Gold Rush" followed, causing folks to dance wildly within' the confines of their shoulder to shoulder space. The energy slowed back down as Todd's vocals lead the charge on "A Day On The Sand." Railroad welcomed Andy Hall (Infamous Stringdusters) to the stage to join the band for the last two songs of the set, "Morning Flies" and "Walk Beside Me." Though Andy fit the music well, he did little to elevate the energy as the band ended the first set with a couple of slower numbers.

Setbreak triggered an influx of folks to the smoking area, which was not large enough to accommodate the demand. The extended break gave way to the second set which began with Andy Hall returning to the stage for "Just So You Know." "Drag Him Down" led the band through some high peaks with Tim Carbone's fiddle wizardry at the forefront and the crowd singing loudly with the band. The set slowed back down with "For Love." "Flower Between The Stones" kept it slow as I began to look around the room losing interest in the music. "Been Down The Road" drew me back in with familiar melodies and Todd's soaring vocals. "New Thing," a John Skehan III original, was featured for the first time to the delight on the Denver crowd. The song transitioned into "Warhead Boogie." As the song began to climb, I hoped that it would build as it worked towards the end of the set. "Warhead Boogie" dropped to a low point and transitioned into "Black Elk Speaks."

The energy shifted with "Lordy, Lordy," creating a bouncy and fun vibe before sinking into "I Ain't Got No Home." "Hard Livin'" closed the second set and left me scratching my head. Instead of closing the show with a heater, Railroad just kind of eased its way out, leaving me to believe the encore would be elevated. They returned to the stage with Andy Hall for possibly one of the slowest songs of the evening, "Catfish John." For a band that can tackle either approach, whether fast and furious or slow and meandering, Railroad chose to close their run with the latter. I left that evening unsatisfied and wondering if I had caught the whole run, would I have felt satisfied? Based on the reviews of the previous night's shows, I am lead to believe that I would have been. However, only catching night three left me wanting more.

J-man's Photo Gallery

Monday, January 28, 2013

MusicMarauders Presents: Particle's 80s Flashback 1.19.13

The Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn

The last time I saw Particle perform live I swore that I would never go see them again. It was about five years ago, and from what I hear the band was going through a transitional phase. So what in the hell was I thinking when I signed up to cover the Particle 80’s Throwback night at the Fox Theater? Yes, I was blinded by the light so to say… but maybe, just maybe Particle could make up for their past sins and repair the fractured image they had formed in my brain.

So how did the night go you ask? To put it simply… Particle fucking killed it! To say this night was just fun is an understatement. From the outrageous set list, to the smiling band members on stage, to the raucous Boulder crowd Particle had our feet moving and grooving from the moment they stepped on stage. The night started off with a great rendition of “Electric Avenue” and 80's hits such as “Safety Dance”, “Sledgehammer”, and “Material Girl” followed with crisp transitions and unique arrangements of songs often forgotten about. The Boulder crazies were also blessed with the addition of Pete Wall on saxophone, which only lifted the band into a more dynamic and hard-hitting group. “You Can Call Me Al”, “The Final Countdown”, and “Eye of the Tiger” were also well received by crowd and all I could do was smile and laugh at my previous disdain for this group.

Well folks, it is safe to say that Particle is back. And back with a mission they are! After a few years of noodling with popularity, Particle has decided to burst back on the scene and make up for the time they have lost. I am personally excited to see them come back to Colorado in the future, hopefully with some new material or even a well-rehearsed catalog of their older tunes. If the Boulder show was any indication I truly believe Particle will start to draw in large crowds once again on the jamtronica scene. They sounded like a well-oiled machine with Steve Molitz and Eric Gould leading the charge. The rifts were funky, transitions were cleanly executed, and with each 80s hit the crowd became more and more enamored with this “old-school” act. Let’s all hope their current hot streak continues, because it is always good to see a past all-star return to form and kill it once again. Particle you are the Comeback Player of the Year in my opinion… and Peyton Manning will be sending you his trophy shortly.

Kevin's Photo Gallery

A Conversation with Will Rast (The Funk Ark)

As The Funk Ark settles down for a brief period and Will shifts his focus to Antibalas, we spoke with him to gain his perspective on his projects and Funk itself...

J-man: Talk to me about how you got your start on the live music scene and what keeps you going.

Will: When I was 12 years old, my 5th grade music teacher encouraged me to enter a composition that I had written and played for her, into a nationwide youth composer competition. I was one of a few selected to attend the American Association of Music Teachers national conference in New Orleans, LA. My family hopped in the car and drove 17 hours from Washington, DC so that I could perform my piece. This was my first taste of live performance. I was hooked, both on gigging, and on New Orleans music. I guess I'm always trying to recapture that feeling of excitement and anticipation I felt the first time. That's what keeps me going.

J-man: How did you get involved with Thievery Corporation and can you talk about some of your more memorable experiences with that band?

Will: I first started working with the ESL Music/Thievery crew in 2008 when I began jamming and playing some shows with Thievery bass player, Ashish Vyas and Fugazi drummer/multi instrumentalist, Jerry Busher under the name, Black and Tan Fantasy Band. We got hired to go on tour with ESL recording artist, Federico Aubele and through working with him, I met Eric Hilton and Rob Garza. I began to do random session work for Thievery Corporation and other recording projects at the label, such as Ocote Soul Sounds, featuring Martin Perna (Antibalas) and Adrian Quesada (Grupo Fantasma), Mr. Lif and Frank Mitchell Jr. Most of my most memorable experiences happened while just hanging out with the guys in the band at their shows. I never was invited to play live with them, even though they use recorded tracks of me playing in their live show. Working with Eric as a producer was a great learning experience. He has a great ear for music and beat matching, finding that one obscure sample that will set the track off. Working with him on the "Culture of Fear" record was a very cool process involving a lot of very talented people. They surround themselves with a very talented group of musicians, including former drummer for The Funk Ark, Jeff Franca, who left the band to join Thievery Corporation shortly after we signed our deal with ESL Music.

J-man: How did The Funk Ark begin and what are your visions for the band?

Will: The Funk Ark began as an attempt at creating a large funk band, comprised of local session players and friends of mine. My focus at first was on playing covers of songs by bands like the JB's, Sly and the Family Stone and The Meters. Soon we began to develop some original material that I wrote, which eventually started to morph into this Afro-Funk/Latin/Deep Funk hybrid that our sound resembles today. The ultimate goal is just to keep bringing the music to more and more people and to play more fun shows. We love collaborating with bands that we hold in high esteem like Rebirth Brass Band, Budos Band and Trombone Shorty to name a few, so getting to do things like that also keeps you coming back.

J-man: What is it about funk that draws you to the genre?

Will: Funk to me is a universally empowering music with a spirit of "get up and go." Often times there are theme's of social or personal empowerment, whether is Bobby Byrd singing "Try Again," or it's Fela Kuti singing "Gentleman" there is a freedom to it. It literally moves people with it's gyrating polyrhythms and driving, anthemic horn melodies.

J-man: The Funk Ark will be returning to Colorado this spring, can you talk a little bit about what brings an east coast band out to Colorado and why Colorado is such a crucial music market?

Will: We have played some of our favorite shows in CO, and we have come to realize that CO audiences have a real openness towards new sounds and when they like something they are very supportive of it. That type of support is sometimes hard to come by for independent artists, so when you find a place that has such a diverse array of markets, like CO, all with similar open attitudes towards music, you want to keep coming back to sort of bask in it, and let that positive vibe recharge your creative juices.

J-man: It was recently brought to my attention that you will be touring with Antibalas, how did that come together and being that they are an international act, where will the tour(s) take you?

Will: I've worked a lot with Antibalas founder, Martin Perna in a side project of his called Ocote Soul Sounds for ESL. When Victor Axelrod couldn't go on this coming trip to Australia and New Zealand, I was offered the opportunity to go. I of course jumped at the chance, having been a big fan for quite some time. I'll also appear with them on the Jimmy Kimmel show on Jan. 30th and at Brooklyn Bowl, Feb. 5th.

J-man: What are you listening to currently (past couple of weeks)?

Will: To tell you the truth, I've been listening to a lot of Antibalas getting ready to go on the road with them. For me, the best way to learn music is total emersion, sort of like a language, so I've been paying a lot of attention to their new self titled record, Antibalas. It's off the chain. Apart from that, I've been listening a lot to the "Roots of Chicha" compilations.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

MusicMarauders Presents: Particle 1.18.13

Quixote's True Blue
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel

I was pleased to see Denver's own, The Recovery Act playing two sets at Quixote's True Blue. While much of the crowd was there for Particle, almost every butt in the house was shaking to the funk-heavy jams of Lindsay French and company. As I stood on the back patio, many of the conversations were about her voice. "That girl has some pipes," was overheard among comparisons to Susan Tedeschi and Erykah Badu. For a band in it's infancy, they certainly made an impression on the crowd. Lindsay's vocals were strong, beautiful, and soulful, and her band provided solid, crisp, and driven rhythms that rode the pocket and engaged the crowd. Guitarist Dan Howson (who was celebrating his birthday) and key player Adam Williamson played roaring solos around the rhythmic funk of bassist Tyler Olmsted and drummer Adam Segalis as the Recovery Act played classic songs such as "Take Me to the River", "I Wish", "West L.A. Fadeaway", and "Dancing in the Streets."

In the other room, Earphunk brought the sounds of Bourbon Street alive. My first thought was that their bass player had a very round, deep, and full tone. He projected a dirty funk that shook the room and allowed the rest of the band to work off of his foundation. I love funk, and I always feel a solid, fat bass tone is the key to dropping the "dirty". Wet, fat, round, and thick. The lead guitar tone was also impressive as they shifted from super funk to textural atmospheres to breezy yacht rock. Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones came to mind as I heard the silky tone of their jazz-soul fusion. While I only got to see a portion of their set, I was impressed, and decided to keep an eye on them in the future.

That brought me to the main event, Particle. I remember the days of instrumental electronica Particle, and I have been particularly happy with the way they have developed over the years. What was once relatively one dimensional has gained depth and variety. I was very pleased to see Ben come back on full time, and look forward to seeing where the band go directionally. He seemed to have a positive effect in my opinion, and I'd love to see the way Particle could interject their signature dance parties into songs that are from differing genres. Adding vocals to a primarily instrumental band has proven disastrous for many bands, but Ben Combe provided stellar vocals to both "Have a Cigar" and " You Can Call Me Al." Pete Wall's saxophone was the necessary addition to pull it off, and Eric Gould absolutely nailed the bass breakdown. I was ecstatic to see Particle tackle the Paul Simon classic with such gusto and precision. Truly an excellent cover.

Having attended their Halloween show, I knew they were capable of stepping outside the realm of livetronica, but had not realized the extent to which this band was capable of defying my expectations. Steve Molitz was still a dominant force in the band, but the overall sound was more balanced than the synth based riffs of yesteryear. Steve's energy was still contagious as he seemed to emote the music with his body movement, as though the music were connected to his dancing rather than the other way around. Darren Pujalet consistently laid down beats that had the crowd moving and Gould's bass grooving all night long. I had more fun at this show than any other Particle show I've seen. When the show ended, I reminisced about shows past, and realized that while many of my favorite bands have become relatively complacent, Particle has gone the way of fine wine... developed new flavor, increased complexity, and generally improved with age. Uncork a new bottle of Particle today!

Brad's Photo Gallery

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Motet 1.18.13

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn

When it comes to the Motet and the funk they are known to bring, I have to consider myself an expert. Having seen approximately 40 shows of all different Motet settings (Cover shows, Best of Halloween, Originals) and maybe three times that of Motet side projects and surprise jam sessions, I know what they are capable of and how great they can be. There is not a band on the scene in our great state of Colorado who can make your feet move the way Garrett Sayers (Bass), Dave Watts (Drums), and Joey Porter (Keys) can and do on a nightly basis. Ryan Jalbert (Guitar), Matt Pitts (Sax), and Gabe Mervine (Trumpet) throw it down via stage left while providing energy and charisma to an already funky ass group. Jans Ingber and Kim Dawson give us stunning vocals and unique harmonies, which only enhances the crowd experience and has a tendency to make jaws drop. Yes, if you haven’t noticed already I have a deep affection for this band. Having lived in Boulder now for 6 years I have become friends with many of the members and just spent a week on Jam Cruise raging with many of them. They are all awesome individuals and even better musicians. So going into Friday night’s show I was pumped to see them bring some of their original material back into the mix, as in my opinion they can get lost in the whole “Cover Band” thing. The lights went down and the funk party’s beginning was right around the corner…

What came next was….or at least in my opinion, was a funky contradictory situation. On one hand the Motet brought us their usual fast paced, funk-driven grooves and on the other it was a show desperately needing some life and energy. Before I dive into the music I must point out that this was the quietest and least crowded Motet show I have ever had the pleasure of attending. The upper balcony of Cervantes was virtually empty with places to sit and relax in abundance. There was hardly a wait at the bar…yes, you read that correctly there was no wait at the bar at Cervantes for the one time in my life. Now, Railroad Earth is in town and people are still getting back from vacation so I can’t fault the venue for not selling this show out. But, I am wondering if the Motet had played a “Best of Halloween” or one of their highly loved cover shows would both nights have sold out easily? Musically, the 1st set of the night was a bit down-tempo and standard for my liking, but we did get a new song or two as it seems more and more likely that there will be a new album coming out sometime this year. In knowing this funk-tastic group I had a feeling the 2nd set would bring the “fire,” and as the clock neared 1 am the band re-took their positions.

Even though the 2nd set didn’t blow my mind or make Cervantes go crazy (like most Motet shows do), it was better and more “dance-able” than the 1st. Jans and Kim were able to get the crowd moving with some awesome harmonies and as per usual Joey Porter brought his funky fingers to play with some killer organ work and great sound effect usage. But for me the night’s MVP has to go to the bass guitar slayer, Mr. Garrett Sayers. Not enough can be said about this man, as his musical talent is only surpassed by his friendly personality. Garrett plays the bass like no one in Colorado, using classical training with funky grooves to create an awesome/eclectic way of bass thumping. He stole the show on this Friday night and I am glad in saying he did so. The night needed a leader or a “Captain de Funk” if you will, and Garrett stepped up to the plate and hit it way out of the park.

Overall this was not my favorite Motet show of all time, but my love for the band and the people in it will not waver in the slightest bit. No one in our great state can bring the funk like the Motet can, and I urge you to check out all of their music if you haven’t already. As always the funk will live on.

Kevin's Photo Gallery

Thursday, January 24, 2013

MusicMarauders Presents: Robert Walter's 20th Congress, Kung Fu & Frogs Gone Fishin'!

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Join us Friday January 25th, for MusicMarauders Presents: Robert Walter's 20th Congress, Kung fu & Frogs gone Fishin' at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom!

Purchase Tickets Here:

Particle's 80s Flashback 1.17.13

The Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

My general aversion to electronic music is well known. Although I have enjoyed a few forays into the genre my general reaction is not positive. However, I’ve seen some electronic groups play organically, as a unit, and the music is more textural than dubstep. These are the types of electronic artists I’m drawn to. Particle is one such band. Up first was New Orleans natives, EarPhunk. These guys are the next generation behind the Galactics and the Dumpstphunks of The Big Easy. They fluidly blend jam and funk in a balanced way that makes it fun for the audience. They did get riff-y at times, but that’s to be expected from a younger band still developing their sound. They started their set to a sparsely filled room, which would eventually get about a third full. Overall their brand of funk influenced jam won me over and will give me plenty of reason to give them another listen.

Having seen Particle for the first time around 2001 in a tiny bar in Iowa, I’ve watched this band grow and evolve over the years. The recent inclusion of former full-time guitarist, Ben Combe into the mix certainly seems to have reinvigorated Particle. Their show at the Aggie was both hilarious and technically stunning. Let’s start with the hilarious.

Setlist: Sledgehammer, Funkytown, Let’s Go Crazy, Electric Avenue, Once In A Lifetime, Pump Up The Volume > Rockit > Material Girl > Pump Up The Jam, The Final Countdown > Money For Nothing, Safety Dance > Launchpad Outro, It Takes Two >
Wild Thing > It’s Tricky > Bust A Move, Don’t Forget About Me, You Can Call Me Al, Sweet Dreams

Encore: Paradise City, Eye Of The Tiger > Sun Mar 11 Outro

From the opening guitar line of “Sledgehammer” I was grinning from ear to ear. Particle has their specific smooth style of electronica, but their take on the music of the 1980’s was fairly straightforward and strangely accurate. The setlist screams of lightheartedness, but don’t be fooled they absolutely shredded these classics. None more so the massive “Pump Up The Volume’ lead run that featured an enormous version of “Pump Up The Jam.” It was like a big musical sandwich with wheat bread on the bottom and rye on top. Particle never shied away from intricately composed pieces such as “The Final Countdown.” Perhaps the silliest moment of the night came in the form of “Safety Dance.” They ended the set with their version of the Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams.” The massive encore included a nod to both Guns N’ Roses as well as Survivor. It was an amusing and entertaining show all around. Combe killed the guitar adding an interesting layer to their sound overall. Steve Molitz continues to be the musical focal point with the lockstep rhythm section of Eric Gould and Darren Pujalet holding it all in check. Particle back to their old tricks, firing on all cylinders, and truly gelling on stage. I would definitely do it all again.

Nicholas' Photo Gallery

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rob Drabkin's 6th Annual Birthday Bash 1.18.13

The Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By J-man

There was heavy musical competition in Denver, as is often the case on Fridays. Railroad Earth was doing three near sold out nights at The Ogden Theatre, The Motet was celebrating the ten year anniversary of Cervantes and Particle would play host to a packed house at Quixote's True Blue. All of that being said, would you believe that over 500 folks passed through the door of The Bluebird Theater for one of Rob Drabkin's biggest shows to date? Many reading this will wonder, "Who is Rob Drabkin?" While many others, at least 500 in total, are already fortunate enough to know. That evening The Bluebird Theater was packed with excitable fans who turned out early to enjoy Shel and to secure a spot for Rob's headlining set. Following a lengthy stage turnover, Rob Drabkin and his band hit the stage.

Setlist: Stay Here With You, The Boy In The Bubble, A Bird Lost, For You I Would Die, Feeling Good Again, She Comes and Goes, Down To Fate, Duel w/ Bijoux, I Know What I know, Sweet Things, Diamonds, Little Steps

Encore: Lullaby, Stay (The Morning Light Fades), Solsburry Hill

Joined by Dave Preston (Guitar), Eric Moon (Piano), "Bijoux" Barbosa (Bass) and Brian McRae (Drums), Rob had a well selected group of musicians to fit his compositions. Visibly excited and with a huge smile on his face, Rob dove into his set. From the beginning the songs were tight and clearly well rehearsed, with a polished near-studio quality vibe. The Denver crowd was treated to a mix of old songs, new songs and some fantastic covers. Guests for the evening included Rob's father, Harry Drabkin (Tenor Sax), Andre Mali (Trumpet), Darren Kramer (Trombone), and last but certainly not least, the beautiful, Kim Dawson (Vocals). Kim's trained vocals mixed well with Rob's raw and captivating voice. That evening Rob would be releasing his EP as well as capturing a live recording. His new songs sounded great and reflected the musical growth of a storyteller, folk singer and driven individual.

Rob played his cards right by announcing his event early and selling fee-free tickets in advance. Additionally the announcement of the EP's release and that the show would be recorded further excited his fanbase which has appeared to grow significantly since last year's Bluebird show! Once attracting a respectable crowd to the venue, Rob bet the farm and performed an energetic and exciting show! It may just be that next year's show will have to be moved to a larger venue to accommodate Rob's increasing demand. If you haven't done so, stream Rob's new EP and go see him live if given the opportunity.

J-man's Photo Gallery

Two Nights of Toubab Krewe Jan. 18th & Jan. 19th

The Orange Peel
Ashville, North Carolina

Words & Photos By Scott Shrader (J. Scott Shrader Photography)

There’s many ways to beat the cold weather during this time of year. Some would suggest two jackets or maybe even a thick pair of gloves. After a week of rainy cold weather and a sad excuse for a snowstorm, everyone seemed to be warming up at The Orange Peel for two nights with Asheville’s own Toubab Krewe. Last time Toubab made the rounds to their hometown they threw together a two-day mini festival called “Carnavalito” at Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain. This time they brought the festivities indoor and brought along a couple of friends to join the party. Original drummer Teal Brown and former drummer Vic E Staff joined the band for the run. The combination of the double drum kit and Luke Quaranta’s percussion style added a different dynamic to the band’s overall sound.

Friday January 18th, 2013:

Friday night’s show started off with Dangermuffin; a three-piece outfit from Folly Beach, South Carolina. Their sound ranges from an Americana pop sound to the typical folky jam acoustic rock grooves. The crowd slowly filled in during their set and gave their support to the band. High praises were given once the band ripped through The Dead’s “Franklin’s Tower” and even with a lack of a bass, the cover was well executed. The trio delivered one more original that featured Luke from Toubab on percussion and then made way for the main act.

Toubab Krewe took the stage sometime after 10:00 PM to a very welcoming crowd. From fans, to family, to friends, it seemed obvious that this was a homecoming kind of show. Taking no time to find their groove the band kicked things off on an ambient slow jam that found its way into their signature world sound. The band addressed their excitement to be at The Orange Peel and played into the night, while delivering some new material to the crowd that seemed to go over well. One song was reminiscent of a carnival and was well received by the crowd. David Pransky (bass guitar/vocals) stepped up to the mic for a unique cover of “Raleigh & Spencer” that had a very different spin on it, much slower but again the crowd loved it. The crowd was spinning, dancing, and some almost religiously “getting down” to the sounds of Toubab Krewe, lucky for them, there was still one more night left.

Saturday January 19th, 2013:

The second night opened up with Adron; a group out of Atlanta,Georgia. Coming from the pop scene the four piece delivers a very unique sound that blends Classical with a Brazilian Tropic├ália acoustic influence. Adrienne McCann fronts the band and delivers a blues sounding and spine chilling vocal performance. Some compare her voice and songwriting to Joni Mitchell or Harry Nilsson. The group was well received and even more so when the band kicked into a Stevie Wonder song that showcased more of a jazz and funk approach to the music while still keeping their style intact. The crowd seemed to be a tad bigger from the previous night and the room definitely filled up by the end of Adron’s set.

Anticipation built during the set break and The Orange Peel seemed to be buzzing with music hungry fans. The band was greeted with a roar as they approached the stage for round two. Pransky greeted the crowd with a Hello and began to get down to business. Starting off on a faster pace than the previous night, the band seemed to be in high spirits. Justin Perkins shined on his signature kamelengoni all night and never missed a beat. All three drummers were on top of it and showcased a stellar drumming performance, as well. If there’s one member of the band that seemed be “in the zone” for both nights it was Drew Heller on guitar. Soaring through sections of songs with his eyes closed and a grin glued to his face, he never let up once and caught my attention the most. Perkins slid over to the keys for a few songs to make room for a couple guests who held down the horn section. I’ve always enjoyed hearing Toubab Krewe with guest musicians because the possibilities are endless when it comes to improv. The horns brought a new dynamic to the music. David stepped up to the mic to sing again for a Latin-influenced tune that strayed away from their signature sound but seemed to please the audience. The night rolled on and the music never reached a low point. Yet again, Toubab Krewe delivered a carnival-like experience to the town that helped them launch their career, and I don’t think it’s going to be the last one.

Scott's Friday Photo Gallery

Scott's Saturday Photo Gallery