MusicMarauders Presents: Moksha feat. Peter Apfelbaum, Jen Hartswick & Skerik 3.30.13

Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn

Our music scene today is full of up and coming “Jamtronica” acts. Some are good, most are awful, and then music lovers get lucky and catch one of the really true awesome ones. I am one of those lucky, addicted to music fans that were fortunate enough to catch Moksha play on their latest Colorado tour. Hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada, or “Sin City” to us crazy college-aged Boulderites, Moksha is a jamtronica quintet who according to their website is known as the “Secret Weapon” of the Las Vegas music scene. I caught these guys last week at Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place in my adopted hometown of Boulder, and WOW was I impressed. But before I begin describing how hard the 5-member band Moksha rocked the tiny Shine “listening room,” I must explain how amazing their guest horn section really was.

Joining forces with Moksha for their Colorado run was Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band) on trumpet, Peter Apfelbaum (The Hieroglyphics Ensemble, Trey Anastasio Band) on sax, and one of my favorite musicians in the world Skerik (Garage A Trois, Dead Kenny G’s) also on the saxophone. This horn section was off the hook from the first note they struck, and the combined big-stage experience from the three guest musicians truly rubbed off on the young jamtronica rockers. Both Skerik and Apfelbaum were on point with each beautiful sax riff and the combined sound of both musicians was harmony to our ears. Hartswick and her trumpet added a unique aspect to the funky Vegas quintet, and Jeremy Parks (Guitar) was especially in tune with trading off solos with the horn players.

In a small venue such as Shine the bands sound was beautifully exemplified and the jam-packed room was rocking from start to finish. Brian Triola (Organ) had some very impressive moments ranging from silky vocals to funky chops on the organ and keyboard. His quick moving hands jumped all over the place as he jammed along with his musical comrades on stage. The rhythm section of John Heishman (Bass) and Pat Gray (Drums) provided a great framework for Moksha to work off and with each song the beat would progress with different tempos, styles, and overall structure. Playing along with the guest horn section was lead singer and saxophone player Sam Lemos. His ability to lead the band through their repertoire of rocking songs and funky grooves allowed the other members of the band to truly jam the night away. Personally, guitar player Jeremy Parks was the real highlight of Moksha as his ripping riffs and fast paced jams seemed to be perfect all night. Parks had a commanding stage presence throughout the concert and was a true joy to watch on the small, but beautiful Shine stage.

For all of you Boulder music fans there are a few things to take from my Moksha experience at Shine. Firstly, Shine is a great place to see a small concert. Their “listening room” is well built, has great sound, and provides their attendees with a harmonious combination of great food/drink as well as a unique place to see a live musical event. It is also centrally located off of Pearl Street in downtown Boulder and is one block from the historic Boulderado Hotel and my favorite music venue, the Boulder Theater. Secondly, Moksha is one of those special jamtronica acts who even though new to the scene is already establishing a strong foothold and place among us music addicts. I highly recommend both Shine and Moksha, as the combination led to an awesome Saturday night in downtown Boulder. Also, Skerik is a beast on the saxophone and one of the more talented musicians you will come across on our scene today. I promise, you will not be disappointed with any of these…trust me!

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