Benefit For Colorado: Luke & Jesse Miller (Lotus) & Brian Jordan Trio 9.13.13
Words & Photos By J-man
It was early afternoon on Friday September 13th. The sun was shining, the birds chirping and folks passed in and out of the office door of Cervantes in Denver, CO purchasing tickets for MusicMarauders Presents: The Infamous Stringdusters & Skockenaw Mountain Boys. Things were looking good in regards to ticket sales and as the Stringdusters loaded in I turned to my "to do" list. I handled some logistics, attempted to locate Tim Carbone to drop off some of his gear and made preparations for a busy evening between Cervantes, Brian Jordan Trio at Armoury and Lotus at Red Rocks, when all of a sudden I got an unusual text. "Looks like Red Rocks is most likely being postponed," the text read. The message continued inquiring about venues in town. This would have been a normal text message if it had not been from Luke Miller on the day that Lotus was playing Red Rocks. Another text followed from Lotus' Monitor Tech, Padraic McQuillan, inquiring about the availability of Armoury. I decided it best to talk details on the phone and ultimately we came to the conclusion that it was worth a try but that the band would probably take the night off. With the cancellation announcement in place Stringdusters tickets began to fly off of the shelves towards a sell out. I headed across town to Armoury to check the next item of business off of my list when my phone rang. I answered to hear Luke exclaim that they wanted to do something at Armoury, before he launched into the details. By the time we hung up, the realization that members of Lotus would be playing Armoury on a night that they were scheduled to play Red Rocks hit me. I was overtaken with a variety of emotions, but kept focused due to all of the work that came with such an undertaking.
Back at my house I explained to Brian Jordan, who had been staying with us for the week, the insane situation that had played out. That night instead of competing with Lotus, he would be opening for and playing with members of Lotus at a sold out Armoury. We spread the word like a wildfire and before we knew it, the event page which earlier in the day had twenty five RSVPs, was now approaching two hundred. Additional staff was pulled from a couple of Armoury's sister bars and by 5:30 PM I started getting texts about the growing crowd at the venue. We loaded up the car for the evening, swung by Cervantes to drop off Tim's gear and to congratulate the Stringdusters on a sell out, made a stop by Paul Brown's (LOHI Productions) to pick up an amp for Brian before arriving at the packed Armoury. By 6:30 PM, Armoury was at capacity. We loaded in for the evening's opening Brian Jordan Trio set which kicked off around 7:30 PM. Blake Mobley (Tiger Party) had been added to the bill and in talking to him before the show, I picked up on his excitement and anticipation. With the trio taking the stage, music began at Armoury and the capacity crowd got down. It was great to see the trio in front of a packed house and to see how receptive the young crowd was. The Brian Jordan Trio killed it and Blake Mobley destroyed the keys and synth bass. At the end of their set, per the energy in the room, the trio took an encore.
Outside of Armoury the line extended down the block with fans waiting to get into the intimate room while more continued to arrive. Luke and Jesse were dropped off by their mother, who was an absolute delight. The duo began to set up with the help of myself and sound engineer, Don Ross. a short time later they were up and DJing to a tightly packed room! Fans that had yet to make it in, cupped their hands peering through the front window at the action. The crowd was going crazy and rightfully so... no one expected to be in such a small room with a band that should have been playing the Rocks. A short time after they began, they called up drummer Blake, from the Brian Jordan Trio. The electronic groves sounded great with a drummer and before long, both Luke and Jesse were playing instruments, while calling Brian to the stage. Brian stepped up and threw down, blowing the young audience away and adding a fantastic layer to the mix. The final piece of the puzzle was Blake Mobley on keys and they were off to the races.
I froze, looking around the room with the realization that this was a special moment that could not be replicated. This was any promoter and music fan's dream and we were all lucky enough to participate in such a happening. The bartenders flew back and forth at a dizzying pace all night long as the door staff held its ground both at the front and back of the venue. Throughout the night people continued to show up claiming to know the band, work with the band, etc. Everyone had a story, and with good reason; That night in Colorado, Armoury was the place to be. As the midnight hour came and went, so too did the show. Lotus had a tour to tend to and an early morning departure time on their tour bus. Armoury slowly cleared out and as the band pulled their gear from the stage I turned to Luke and said "Thank you... Is your mom coming to pick you guys up?" with a wink. He smiled and shook his head at the joke. I tied up a few loose ends and before I knew it, we were over at Cervantes talking to the Railroad Earth guys about the following days rescheduling and enjoying the music of the Stringdusters. What a night in Denver! There is absolutely no town like it! In the end the Lotus Camp, Brian Jordan Trio & Armoury raised about $2,500.00 for the Colorado flood relief. To be able to get down as hard as we did and have the evening benefit a great cause was truly a pleasure and a great feeling!