LOHI Music Festival Presents: Joey Porter's Shady Business & Eddie Roberts 3.23.13

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel

After a Friday night of superb funk, I returned to Cervantes to check out a very special show. Eddie Roberts (New Mastersounds) opened the show with his band, the West Coast Sounds. Having seen them headline the Other Side on Friday, I wondered how the energy would change moving to the larger room and crowd, but with a shorter set. The set got a slower start than Friday, but seemed to pick up velocity as it went on. The crowd filled in the floor by the end of the set, and everyone appeared to be on board. A friend pointed out that it was like the kind of music Diana Ross' backing band would play, just way faster. As I contemplated the statement, I heard what he meant. The clean tones that define Eddie's style were accompanied by succinct horn lines, soulful organ, and funk-soul flavor. What did not sound like an R&B backing band was Roberts' solo work, which was predictably phenomenal. The West Coast Sounds were great both nights and I'd recommend checking them out if they come your way.

Last year I came out to see Joey Porter's Shady Business and was very impressed with the lineup of musicians. I'd anticipated this year's show from the day I saw it was announced. With a lineup that included members of 3 of my favorite live bands, the Motet, Lettuce, and the New Mastersounds I was beyond pumped. As the band took the stage, it was bookended by keyboard wizards Joey Porter (Motet) and Nigel Hall (Lettuce/ Warren Haynes Band). Between them was an all star lineup of funk musicians including Eric Krasno (Lettuce/ Soulive), Garrett Sayers (Motet/ Kyle Hollingsworth Band), Dave Watts (Motet), Kim Dawson (Motet), the Shady Horns (Lettuce), Eddie Roberts (New Mastersounds), Dominic Lali (Big Gigantic), LaDamion Massey, and many more. With so much talent on the stage, it would have been easy for the sound to get too busy, but the players were extremely respectful of each other's space and allowed the solos to float around the band easily. The funk they dropped was dirty, deep, chunky, and gritty. They traversed traditional funk and disco grooves with soul and some synthy 80's party music.

Friday night, Eddie Roberts had Eric Krasno sit in with the West Coast Sounds, and the two of them had a fantastic dual. Shady Business had far less of that interplay between the two. Because of the nature of a band that at times had up to 15 musicians on stage, there wasn't a whole lot of time for them to link up and tear it up. While I felt it would have been a lot of fun to see them trade solos, it wouldn't have served the music as well... And that was the most impressive thing of all. Every single person played within their role, provided crisp accompaniment and scorched their solos when the time came. The camaraderie and respect among the musicians on stage was great to watch, like a bunch of old friends having a reunion. Fun was contagious, and it leaked out of their instruments, through the speakers, and into our dancing souls. The highlight of the evening for me was their cover of Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothing." The extended jam on this tune was thick, sticky, and deep. I've always loved that grindy low end of the clavinova, and Stevie Wonder tunes usually deliver. As I danced in a bouncing crowd of smiles, I was thankful that Joey Porter had put together such an incredible group of musicians for our entertainment, I couldn't wait to do it again next year!

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