Thursday, February 27, 2014

Genetics with Aspen Hourglass 2.15.14

1UP Colfax
Denver, CO

Words By Andrew Martin
Photos By Carly Marthis

Saturday night, I had the pleasure of attending another one of 1UP Colfax’s free shows. I’m surprised at how many times I’ve attended 1UP Colfax since its opening back just before Christmas: Six, including Genetics with Aspen Hourglass at what I’m proud to say was Genetics’ first headlining gig.

To provide a smidgen of backdrop on the evening, I was exhausted already. The Love Shack over at Cervantes and a 5:30 AM puck drop for the USA/Russia Men’s Olympic Hockey game led to a day of periodic napping and that general insanity that comes with not having gotten anywhere resembling enough sleep. Come 8:00 PM, I made up my mind to get cleaned up and head on over to 1UP. You know, support a band I enjoy, have a drink, beat X-Men for the 700th time - chill out with some good tunes.

After the general rituals that most concertgoers have (grab a beer, find a few friends, say hi to any staff members you may know), I stocked up on quarters and beelined over to the X-Men machine near the stage. Nothing provides a good backdrop to smashing Sentinals in the head with Colossus like a good rock band, and I’m pleased to report that Aspen Hourglass, the opener for the evening, provided quite the good soundtrack to my crushing of Pyro and The Blob. It was a strong, spastic set.

After a pretty standard setbreak, Genetics stepped up on stage. They came out amped. The first set went really well. I don’t know how better to describe it. Given that I was “taking it easy” on Saturday, I allowed myself the freedom of wandering, playing video games, meeting random people, those sort of ADD concert activities. But every time I found myself outside smoking or off to play another arcade game, the activity away from the stage almost invariably began with some comment like "man, they showed up tonight." I wasn’t the only one impressed by the show. There was a wide variety of people who swung in for the free show or to play a few video games and ended up sticking around for everything Genetics played.

Genetics closed their first set with a cover. The choice in a cover and how the it's performed is telling to me as it can show how comfortable a band is when given musical material to work with, that they can hold down or at least imitate the sound of the band they are covering. The cover Genetics chose was “Little Faces” by Oysterhead. Ballsy choice, had Genetics not already demonstrated their musical abilities by performing the majority of “Grand Pecking Order” back in May at Quixote’s True Blue.

Setbreak was short. The crowd wasn’t absurdly huge at any given moment, but there was a good turnout, and even more importantly, the majority of the crowd stuck around for both sets. If you’ve been to the venue, the crowd stuck out almost to the edge of the bar. That’s not bad for a local show.

The second set went much like the first, and didn’t lose out in intensity or creativity whatsoever. It was a lot of fun to listen to, and I found myself more than once mentally noting the fact that they have a good way of making me want to stay out on the floor listening. Even when I’d wander off, I’d invariably get pulled back over to the stage, drawn by any blend of the 4-piece’s woven melodies. Drummer Nat Snow threw down a consistent foundation for guitarist Jeff Ervine, bassist Joel Searls and keyboardist Scott Anderson to really work with, explore, expand upon and generally carry the tune from just music to something far more captivating. The band followed the standard jam-session style of “establish a melody/groove and then let somebody run with it,” but there were moments when they went into straight up Voltron mode and would blow the audience out of the water as one combined unit. And once you’ve gotten comfortable with the groove, they’ll all suddenly split off into an entirely new melody, almost on a whim. It was a well rehearsed set.

Genetics has a good sense of balance in their play. For being very solid musicians in their own right, they know when to unload a screaming guitar solo or a stomping bass riff, but they know when to hold back and let everybody else catch up as well. When the time would come for those huge builds, it wouldn’t be just the keys carrying it, it wouldn’t be a solo stealing the limelight, it would be the full band climbing the musical ladder together. You get a full, rich sound that offers so many different areas to focus on from beginning to end. The band is very in sync, they clearly prepare heavily for their sets - in other words, they give a shit, they have fun with it, and it shows. Evenings like Saturday at 1UP are the nights that remind us how great it is having access to a music scene as full and nuanced as Denver’s.

To conclude the show, Jeff announced that Genetics would be playing the upcoming Festival 64 at 1UP Colfax 4/18-4/20. Ultimately, it was a good show. I’m really glad I went. It was a low-key evening by intention, but a great performance from Genetics really pushed it up a notch with zero effort on my part.

Carly's Photo Gallery

Set One: Look Around > I.N.S., AirForce, First Time, Leap, Little Faces (Oysterhead)

Set Two: Goggle, Final Fantasy 7 / Dr. Franken Mashup, Scoundrel, Toss n' Wash, Numerality, Isis, Slowmotion Explosion, Dr. Spookymuffin, Trident, The Whale Song

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cornmeal & Whiskey Tango 2.14.14

Hodi’s Half Note
Fort Collins, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

Let me just clear the air, Cornmeal is alive and well and playing at a venue near you soon. Seriously, since the departure of long time fiddler Allie Kral, fans have all but written off this once majestic centerpiece to the jamgrass scene. The fact of the matter is people grow and times change. I can say without a doubt this isn’t your mammy’s Cornmeal, but before you run away to a Hot Buttered Rum show, take a minute and read on. Long time Colorado jamgrass stalwart, Whiskey Tango, took the opening slot at Hodi’s Half Note. For a band who is almost a Denver institution they rarely seem to make it up to Northern Colorado, but maybe I’m not on the proper mailing list. Their set was an energetic romp bound to entice a few new fans to their flock.

Set One: Annalisa, Brown Eyed > Space > Coal Creek Shakedown, Ear, Bull Dog, Galileo, Thicker, Loving Cup, Star Fucker, Betwixt, Wrong Way

This band is very much like a nascent Cornmeal, but with a bit more of that dirty twang. The juxtaposition of their clean vocals add much to their overall authenticity. Whiskey Tango opened with an original “Annalisa” which was a high gear step on the gas. These guys are truly a product of their youth. They are a bluegrass filter that does not discriminate by genre. We were treated to grass versions of both The Beatles’ “Bull Dog” as well as the Rolling Stones’ “Loving Cup.” However, the most poignant song was their original, “Betwixt.’ They were a great fit, by the end of their set the room was filled in nicely.

Okay back to the matter at hand… Cornmeal. My love affair with this band began back with the original lineup at the second Summer Camp. I remember seeing them on what would become the Moonshine stage and saying, "These guys can pick." Twelve years and one of the most dynamic female fiddlers in the scene later, we find ourselves at the precipice of a new era for this highly venerated group. How can a band survive if three fifths of their members leave within a year? The answer is they can, but not without growing pains. Cornmeal is not stranger to transition. So before we get steeped in the past, let’s look at whom Chris Gangi and Wavy Dave brought on the road with them.

Backyard Tire Fire’s, Scott Tipping, has solidified his spot on lead guitar and vocals. In fact, he seems to have blossomed since I last saw him at Summer Camp, but let’s hold back a second. Drew Littell joined the same time as Scott and seems to really be finding his footing in the group. The newest and perhaps most controversial addition is fiddle player, Molly Healey. Ms. Healy is all business. These three may feel they need to tip toe, but the fact is we are all happy they are aboard and keeping this band touring. They opened with “Drinking Away.”

Set One: Drinking Away, Coming Back Home, Feet On The Ground, Rain Your Light, All Things Must Change, That’s That, River Gap, Goodnight My Darling, Dear Prudence, The Road, Long Hard Road

The set list itself seems to be a declaration of sorts. The combination of “All Things Must Change” followed by “That’s That” is especially notable. The “River Gap” had me dancing. Dave and Chris know these songs by heart. So it’s interesting to see how Scott and Molly interpret them with their musical framing. They too played a little Beatles with a perfectly executed “Dear Prudence.” Their closing two songs seemed to give a nod to the trials that lay ahead. For a band that had been blasting across the country performing 100 plus shows for the better part of a decade, it can be difficult to stop and rebuild. However, that is exactly what they are doing. This will be the first time in twelve years that they don’t play at Summer Camp Music Festival. There is just too much history and although all of the personnel departed on good terms, the fan base has not fully healed. In all of my touring it’s hard to think of a group more dedicated than the Corn Stalkers, and with this reinvention, they too must evolve. The road ahead may in fact be long and hard for Cornmeal, but this band is no stranger to adversity. Time will tell how it all plays out. For now, I’m just happy to see Cornmeal on the marquee.

Nick’s Photo Gallery

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Motet's Self Titled Album

Words by Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)

A few weeks ago I attended The Motet's cd release party, and the band seemed really excited about their latest effort. I hadn't had a chance to listen to it until today. Right from the first track their decade-blending funk machine was rolling. It pulled out of the driveway, turned on 80's Synth Drive and headed straight for Funkytown. The funky bottom of Garrett Sayers' bass immediately established the tone, and I knew it would remain a constant motivator for the subsequent grooves. When Ryan Jalbert's clean tone guitar made an appearance, "Like We Own It" became a little more contemporary and Joey Porter's synth moved from 80's to the future like Michael J. Fox in one of the greatest sequels of all time. The horns added that traditional New Orleans brass timbre that rounded out their sound. I felt the first track quickly set the tone for an upbeat album and exemplified the type of music I've come to expect from the band.

"123" hit next with the funkadelic keys that were straight from Bernie Worrell's play book. With lyrics that addressed their heavily Coloradan fan-base, the song was easy enough to recognize as one that they played at the release party. Vocalist Jans Ingber led the group with his signature soul. They sounded dialed in, comfortable, confident and in prime form. That energy continued into the next tune, "Rynodub." It had a bass line that reminded me of level two in Super Mario Bros. before the robots arrived and carried the tune away to space. With Jalbert and the horns weaving intricate melodies, I was reminded of Krasno and the Shady Horns work in the funk powerhouse, Lettuce. This was balanced against a psychedelic landscape that was part Pink Floyd and part Beck. This track was begging to go in my rotation from the jump. Straight bumpin'.

"Closed Mouth Don't Get Fed" burst through the door with horns that would put a dip in even grandma's artificial hip. The tune was more of the classic James Brown-style funk than the other tracks. The ensemble singing worked well with Ingber's lead. Joey Porter's organ laid the springboard for the horn section to spit fire. "Extraordinary High" sounded like a new Jamiroquai track. Dave Watts and Garrett Sayers dropped disco-leaning beats while Ryan Jalbert wah'd the day away. It was fun, light, funky and a great contrast to the beginning of the next track.

"Rich in People" came out of the gate like it was going to be aggressive, but quickly broke down into a groove that would have sounded at home in a Kyle Hollingsworth song... Not surprising since Watts and Sayers are both members of Hollingsworth's solo project. Porter laid in some beautiful keys throughout this song, while the background vocals added to this tune's character with enriching harmonies. "The Fountain" showcased Sayers' talents as most of the song revolved around his endlessly entertaining bass lines. About halfway into the song, things got tribal, electronic and experimental. There is a (very unique) song by Cake called "Conroy" that had a similar vibe to the interlude. Ultimately, the funk resurfaced and Sayers' bass once again led the band on through another round of solos.

"Knock It Down," seemed to get back to the quintessential Motet sound. Joey and Ryan peppered in staccato rhythms as Ingber crooned. The chorus reminded me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' hit "Rollercoaster." Once again, the groove broke down to just Jalbert, Watts and Porter. Sayers crept back in with the low end and they were back to retro-funk which gave way to a distorted, reverb cloud of echoes and feedback.

To close the album, "Keep On Don't Stoppin'" moved back to the energetic funk that drew on multiple decades of funky influences simultaneously, and also happened to be one of the tunes I recall them playing at the release. Once again, Sayers' bass worms found their way in my ears and nestled into my brain. Porter's keys and the horns built to a crescendo that dropped into a celebratory disco-infused verse. From beginning to end, this album is chocked full of all the best things about the Motet. They said they were proud of this effort at the release party and I have seen why. This album finally gave their fans a quality recording to help spread the word. The songwriting, playing and production all came together to make this the Motet's best effort to date.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Funky Meters 2.8.2014

Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Denver, CO

Photos & Words By Kevin Hahn

There are legends, and then there are what most people call “The Originators” or “Creators” of whatever one may be talking about. In my 24 years on this planet, I have not had many opportunities to see “The Original” of any of my favorite music groups, venues, or even types of music. It seems as if these days most musical genres are turning towards what is most popular or what sells the most records. But there are a few groups who are trying to keep as close to the “Original” of what they are creating as possible. One such group is the Funky Meters, led by Original Meter members, Art Neville and George Porter Jr. To be given the chance to see these two men play together is a very special thing, and most music fans around the world do not get this chance often. Thankfully I live in Denver, which in my opinion has one of the best/most up-and-coming music scenes in the world.

Art Neville is still going at 76 years young. No he doesn’t have the chops that he once could display and his voice isn’t much to listen to either, but his passion for being in front of hundreds of screaming fans is still quite evident. Being led the entire evening on the Cervantes stage from cues from Mr. George Porter Jr., Art tried his best to stay in key while bobbing his head in appreciation of what was transpiring on stage in front of him. Neville still has that glorious smile that millions of fans have become accustomed to, yet his fragile state of being is not the easiest to watch when trying to get down to some good ole New Orleans funk. Luckily, the Funky Meters have Neville’s best buddy George Porter Jr. leading the rhythmic charge with his outstanding bass lines and just downright fun way of playing music. Porter, as I have said numerous times before, is not only one of the most talented musicians I have been lucky enough to see live, but the unique way in which he handles himself on stage is a sight to see.

George roams around the stage with a genuine purpose, throwing nasty bass lines in front of a different band member from time to time that only leads to a higher level of improvisation for the music audience. In this particular group, George Porter Jr. is joined by guitar badass Brian Stoltz, who comes from the former “Neville Brothers” group, and Russell Batiste Jr. on drums, who honestly is not my favorite drummer to watch/listen to, but he has a great time on stage and brings a good energy to the performance. Stoltz, however, is extremely talented on the electric guitar and can even sing when covers such as The Beatles “Come Together” or Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” are thrown into the mix. PBS (Porter, Batiste, Stoltz) are a great trio and have a very harmonious sounding connection on stage, even if Neville seems to just be making random sounds from time to time. But, songs such as “Cissy Strut,” “Cardova,” “Too Funky” and the New Orleans classic “Iko Iko” all were fantastic as Porter Jr. led the group through some of the Meters legendary hits.

The real highlight of the night for me personally, was hands down one of the hardest to watch musical moments I have seen in a long time. During the Meters true hit “Ain’t No Use” Art Neville was given the chance to show us that he can still sing the song that made him one of the most famous funk keyboardists of all time, and he failed miserably. He was off key, forgot most of the lyrics, and honestly should have been escorted off stage. But, George Porter Jr. kept a smile on his face and raged through the immensely popular song with some of the most intense musical gusto I have ever seen. Porter picked up the vocal duties half way through the song and directed Neville to jump from “A-Flat” to “E-Minor” (or whatever it was) with a sense of pride that the 76 year old was still trying his best to hold in there. It was a tearful moment for some, but joyous for others, as the true feeling of being in front of two real music “Legends” was taking place right in front of our eyes.

I walked away from Cervantes Masterpiece last Friday with a huge smile (almost hurting my cheeks) running across my face because I knew that I had just witnessed something absolutely amazing. Yes, the Funky Meters may be back next year to rage our great state of Colorado, but one never knows when someone like Art Neville may stop touring and retire. Do yourself a favor and go and see these guys play whenever possible, as it may not continue for much longer. They still can bring some serious funk-age and definitely know how to have a great time when playing in front of an audience who is there to respect their musical heritage. These men are legends and will continue to be so long into the future.

Kevin's Photo Gallery

Setlist: Too Funky > All I Do Everyday > Trick Bag > Come Together > He Bite Me > My Name in Lights > Cissy Pickup > Cissy Strut > Soul Island > (bass mix it up), Cardova > Get Out My life Woman > Cissy Endin’ > Big Chief > Bass Solo > Just A Little Bit > Just kissed my baby > IKO IKO > Feel Like Funkin It Up (RP Tease) > Ain't No Use

Encoré: Eleanor Rigby (tease), Art's bag of funk Bo Diddley > Hand Jive > Fiyo on the Bayou > Sunshine of Your Love > Look A Py-Py

Lotus 2.8.14

The Fillmore Auditorium
Denver, CO

Words By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)
Photos By Justin Gardner

As we waited in line for our tickets, the conversations on Colfax seemed to center around the Friday night show, one I'd missed. The word was, the band was on fire. My experiences with Lotus had all been at festivals and I was excited to see a headlining performance. As we entered the venue, I was once again baffled how some chandeliers, red paint, some curtains and photographs could make a cavernous warehouse appear to be a classy joint. I didn't have long to dwell on that because the lights went down just as we got our wristbands.

The line behind us extended down the block and the floor was already 3/4 full. As "Kodiak" began, the crowd roared to life and I felt like my expectations were fairly accurate. The groovy electronica had the crowd dancing from the jump, and was consistent with the type of thing I'd seen them do in the past. The sound was unique, but reminded me a little of Particle and a little of the New Deal... both good things in my opinion. Electronica hasn't ever been my bag, but Lotus incorporated all things danceable. From disco to funk, hip hop to pop, Lotus was versatile as they fused together a set that covered ground and kept us guessing.

Once the band settled into a jam, it seemed like Mike Rempel had limitless combinations of patterns that he repeated, augmented, and ultimately built to powerful peaks. Luke Miller seemed to plug in a lot of the texture, alternating between guitar and synth to create the psychedelic soundscapes that account for a lot of the direction of their show. The rest of the band, Jesse Miller on bass, Mike Greenfield on drums and percussionist Chuck Morris, drove a rhythm section that was so tight it was practically automated. This quintet of musicians proved through the night that they were a "livetronica" powerhouse.

From time to time they went uber poppy and those moments tended to be my least favorite of the show, but when they laced Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" hook in with a jam, that was a definite highlight of the night. I was really surprised by the amount of straight electro-funk they played. For some reason my hazy recollections had them much less funky and much more electronic. I was pleasantly surprised; they surpassed my expectations.

As the show wrapped up and the masses made for Sancho's, the frigid air sent me scurrying towards the car. The engine warmed up and I drove my friend Justin back to his house. On the way, we discussed the show. The term "Retro Biscuits" was coined, and we concluded that we both preferred that retro edge that Lotus had to the relentless womp of a lot of electronica bands. They looked into the past and the future at the same time. They blurred the lines of the contemporary and nostalgic and found a happy medium that sounded like everything and nothing all at once. Once again, the division of genre fell and the people rejoiced in it's variety. Justin hopped out of the car and I began thinking about where I could secure a copy of the show, and I haven't stopped yet. I didn't know all the songs, and I didn't care because every bit of it had me dancing. I had come hoping to discover more about a band I liked. I left satisfied, knowing I wanted to know more.

Justin's Photo Gallery

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lotus & Poolside 2.7.14

The Fillmore Auditorium
Denver, CO

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Justin Gardner

An early arrival at The Fillmore Auditorium for Poolside yielded a completely empty venue. It appeared as if we were the first to the party, which was not typical. One by one a few rail riders turned out and claimed their space at the front of the room as Poolside began their set. The young duo had the challenge of playing to one of the most relatively empty rooms that I had ever witnessed, based on size. Approximately thirty people danced, building up the energy in the nearly 3,500 person capacity room. The music was funky, tasteful, tactful and reflected a solid compositional approach, though there was not all that much happening on stage. Those who had turned out early seemed pleased and ready to get the party started. As their set continued the room slowly began to fill in. Though Poolside had the 8:00 start time working against them, in the end they utilized their time to tap into the hungry crowd. An interesting point came with a mix of Neil Young's "Harvest Moon," which I had heard prior, though really enjoyed. As the duo's set came to a close, the several hundred people in The Fillmore showed their appreciation and braced for Lotus.

Much like any band, Lotus has gone through different musical phases outputting a plethora of styles and crossing an array of genres. What would Lotus give us that evening? Would it be the melodic jam of pre 2007? Or would there be utilization of hip-hop samples per the release of Monks this past year? At the time it didn't seem to matter as everyone was genuinely excited for Lotus, in any form. The band took the stage with a cheesy Olympic procession, with folks waving flags. The set began with "Bellweather," to the delight of the room. Riffing guitars lead into Luke Miller on what sounded like a vocoder. The composition opened up in the middle with some danceable drumming from Mike Greenfield and percussion from Chuck Morris. The jam took off with soaring guitar from Mike Rempel, before the low end of Jesse Miller fell into place. The tempo slowed and the band transitioned in "Dowrn." Some interesting distorted digital tones were heaved at the audience before some dub bass kicked in, followed by hip-hop samples.

"Sid" began featuring a climbing guitar with funk swagger and percussion fills that moved the crowd. The composition meandered along with noodling instrumentation before gaining steam, taking off and transitioning right back into "Bellweather!" Lotus welcomed Justin Jones and Andy Smart to the stage for some added horn work on "Break Build Burn." Somewhat subtle horns mixed with samples and digital effects made for a production heavy output. A trumpet solo from Andy opened up to Mike's guitar ripping towards the close of the track.

"We recently re-started playing one of our oldest funk songs so we thought we would have these horn guys come and reach it's full potential," Jesse Miller exclaimed.

"Opo" followed in true funk fashion with riffing guitar work and a storm of percussion from Chuck at the back of the stage. Horn chops transitioned into trading licks and a consistently solid groove from a band that doesn't often tap into the funk. "Opo" was fantastic and an unexpected addition to the opening set of the evening. Towards the middle/end of the track Justin stepped up for a ripping sax solo. "Contagion" came next slowly building to four on the floor madness and triggering a massive get down from the packed Fillmore. The intensity built as the band went right into "Jump Off" to close the first set. Fluctuating bass tones interplayed with the song's melody and groove for a fascinating extended version of some classic Lotus material. Tension built and that release was nothing short of intense and captivating all the way up to the song's conclusion.

A short time after the first set ended, the band returned to the stage for "Tip of The Tongue." The version included some very loose improvisation that opened up to vocal samples and some killer drum and percussion work leading to the closing of the song with ripping guitar. Lotus welcomed the horns back to the stage for "Uffi." The incorporation of horns add a certain depth to the songs and altered Lotus' sound leaning towards funk. In fact, since they had the horns on stage, the band figured they would just do Earth, Wind and Fire's "Shining Star," as an unexpected treat. That point in the show confirmed that it was indeed the funkiest Lotus show that I had seen to date. Talkbox vocals delighted the young crowd and before Andy's trumpet took over followed by Justin's sax, for one last run of alternating solos.

"Bubonic Tonic" came next triggering a little bit of a needed slow down as Chuck tapped away on percussion. Stimulating tones and synth fills helped round out the composition before things started to get heavy. Deep layered drum rhythms clashed with descending synth in an all out jamtronica breakdown. The song slowed and an element of ambiance entered the picture as the song transitioned into "Sunrain." The more rock oriented tune was met with high end notation that made it feel like a dream. Ambiance turned towards destruction as the band output an incredible sonic wall of sound! "It's All Clear To Me Now" followed to the delight of the salivating crowd. Rempel's guitar work was well timed as the band nailed every cue and musical transition through out the composition. The jam was the perfect vehicle for some chaotic exploration and shredding guitar. The song took on a bit of a swagger as it transitioned into "128."

Menacing tones criss-crossed with the click of the drums before the track opened up. The energy shot up before coming back down for the midsection of the song. The band then started to build, slowly climbing to the song's inevitable peak. The upswing was captivating, danceable and reflected a band on fire. Soaring guitar, precise drumming and tight instrumentation took the set to it's eventual close. Lotus returned to the stage a short time later and began their encore with "Marisol." What started off as subtle and a bit mild, quickly became thrilling and disorienting, in a good way before leveling out into a sort of rock ballad sound. The final selection of the evening came in the form of "Spiritualize," triggering a massive roar from the crowd! Goosebumps overtook my arms as I felt it was the perfect choice to close the show. It felt like a beautiful dream as we collectively floated before Lotus brought us back down to earth to dance. As should have been the case, we were then treated to one last climb. When we reached the peak, it was an incredible feeling. This was the Lotus that I loved.

For Lotus fans, the setlist read like a fantasy and the band's execution was nothing short of impressive. The show reflected a lot of the 2006-2008 era sound and energy that folks always refer to. Moreover, it was tighter, more skillful and more thought out than the anything that I have heard the band output. Surrounded by a bunch of our friends, in our hometown, we danced the night away to one of the scene's true juggernauts. The general consensus is that Lotus is peaking... again.

Justin's Photo Gallery

Set One: Olympic Intro with Flag procession, Bellwether -> Dowrn, Sid -> Bellwether, Break Build Burn*, Opo*, Contagion -> Jump Off

Set Two: Tip of the Tongue, Uffi*, Shining Star*, Bubonic Tonic -> Sunrain, IACTMN -> 128

Encore: Marisol, Spiritualize

*Andy Smart & Justin Jones

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mayer Hawthorne 2.11.14

Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)

A couple of years ago, I was driving to work and heard "The Walk" on KBCO. I thought the tune was unusual with a sound that reminded me of old Motown, but had lyrics that were certainly not the Temptations fare. The clean R&B song seemed oddly antiquated, yet had a modern edge that intrigued me. I downloaded Mayer Hawthorne's album and got familiar with a couple of songs. Then I forgot about the would- be crooner. A few months ago I stumbled on a track on iTunes and noticed that he had released a new effort. I downloaded that one as well and decided to see if he was touring. Tuesday night, I entered the Ogden Theater and got a chance to see what this Neo-soul stuff was all about.

The opener, Quadrant, shared a similar stylistic flair and made sense as the musical pairing. DJ Kurse was spinning some great funk between sets, and when the lights went down, a giant neon broken heart appeared on the stage with a door in it. The band began with some big band funk before introducing the man of the hour. Hawthorne made his entrance with all the swagger of Tony Bennett or Wayne Newton, grabbing the mic and working the crowd. Quickly he moved into his repertoire and quickly I realized I was watching a truly talented troubadour. His stage presence was astounding. He flirted with the audience, bounced them to the beat like an air basketball and used his basic choreography to pepper in performance influences from half a century of music.

The County was Hawthorne's band, and they dropped studio-perfect accompaniment to the crooner. They laid down a variety of styles throughout the night and truly impressed me with their abilities. Rock and roll, soul, funk, hip hop, doo-wop, R&B, rap, jazz, and lounge music all applied. An audience member told me that he started as a rapper, but rather than paying royalties to sample someone else's tunes, he started writing his own R&B backing tracks. That explained the hip hop edge, and really was what drew me in. Like a Frank Sinatra album produced by Snoop, the classy surface had a gangster undertone and balanced his softer side with some bumpin' beats.

Hawthorne's voice was silky smooth, like his suit, like his band. He exuded charisma and was a captivating performer through the 90 minute set of doo-hop. His use of covers was also notable. The two covers that caught me off guard were "Poison" by Bell Biv DeVoe and Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" which served as an intro to "The Walk." Their execution was spot on. Another crowd pleaser was "Allie Jones." It started with a reggae rhythm, but soon slid from Reggae to hip hop. As Mayer got our hands in the air, the band dropped some heavy beats that had knees buckling and heads nodding. "Allie Jones" was one of many MH songs I wasn't familiar with, but liked on a first listen. Sometimes a concert of material I don't know leaves me distracted or disinterested, but Mayer was solid from beginning to end as he covered all the stuff I knew and a whole lot more.

Mayer Hawthorne was one of the most entertaining shows I've seen in a hot minute. Really.

Brad's Photo Gallery

Monday, February 17, 2014

Preview: WinterWonderGrass Festival 2.21 - 2.23.14

Harry A. Nottingham Park
Avon, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock

Some musical opportunities are so unique that they must be snatched up so that they are not lost to the what could have been. WinterWonderGrass is one of those opportunities. This is an outdoor festival, taking place in Nottingham Park in Avon, Colorado in the middle of February. This state is no stranger to outdoor cold weather events, but it’s a rarity to have a three-day festival at an elevation of 7,431 feet during the chilliest time of the year. That being said, WinterWonderGrass is a beer and bluegrass festival in the heart of the Rockies with a 360-degree view of the mountains. Being surrounded by natural beauty is one thing, but the lineup is absolutely insane. In just their second year, WinterWonderGrass has managed to truly step it up with a strong outing this time around. Their bill is anchored by the combination of Greensky Bluegrass with Sam Bush and Leftover Salmon. Here is the full run down of the artists:

Greensky Bluegrass feat. Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Elephant Revival, Head For The Hills, Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers, Scott Law, Tyler Grant, Milkdrive, Fruition, Whitewater Ramble, Wintergrass House Band, Dead Winter Carpenters, Gipsy Moon, The Old Town Pickers

This is obviously a bold string filled schedule with lots of well-loved musicians. Colorado is a bastion for bluegrass with both Telluride Bluegrass and Rockygrass calling this great state home. WWG has brilliantly thrown their hat into the ring. It’s as if they are saying our love of that banjo twang is not limited to the summer months. In all honesty this is a solid addition to the musical offerings of the Rocky Mountain Region. By combining both local and nationally touring acts, they’ve really built something solid.

WinterWonderGrass goes from around 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM on February 21-23, giving music lovers ample time to hit the slopes or just relax. There are three stages with two being located in the Beer Halls. There will also be a Kid’s Tent on site. The late night offerings are great as well with plenty of opportunities for collaboration. Not to mention the massive array of microbrews that will be available to sample each day for three hours. In fact your ticket comes with a stainless steel Kleen Kanteen mug to use for your beverage tasting. This also helps their green initiatives. The heated brew tents will be hosted by Crazy Horse Brewing and Great Divide, however, there will be a myriad of other beers to try including offerings from Odell’s, Upslope, Bonfire Brewing, Oskar Blues and many more. The beer will flow from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM with the bar taking over afterwards.

WinterWonderGrass is also offering a VIP option with access to the side stage viewing areas, free food and a custom laminate. For ticketing information and complete details about WWG check out their site. Stay tuned to MusicMarauders for our coverage as well as some live pics from the festival!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Eric McFadden, Norwood Fisher, Willie Waldman feat. Paulo Baldi & Herman Green 2.1.14

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock

The first night of February seemed doomed for a mediocre turnout. For reasons unbeknownst to me, this incredible musical collaboration that included Eric McFadden, Norwood Fisher, Willie Waldman, Paulo Baldi and the legendary Mr. Herman Green was moved across town to Donkey OTs. They had performed an early set the previous night opening for Stir Fried with Michael Kang and Allie Kral. This move for Saturday seemed silly for a number of reasons. Let’s take a step back. Firstly when a Jay Bianchi bar is known as Quixote’s why on Earth would you call another venue Donkey OTs? (Say it phonetically, I know it took me a second too. DON-key-0-Ts). Well apparently that complaint has not fallen on deaf ears, as it will be transitioning to the name of Darkstar Lounge at some point in the not too distant future. Secondly, as usual, this show was so under promoted that the turnout beyond friends and family could be counted on two pairs of hands. This is nothing new of course, but when they had a perfectly good model from Friday night why change it up? I can only believe that Jay actually cares about the venue and wants to provide good talent. It isn’t exactly clear what his involvement with this new venture is beyond booking.

So for the record let's take a second and evaluate who was in the room to play music. Eric Byron McFadden is a guitar virtuoso from the psychedelic school of San Francisco. His background in traditional jazz, Gypsy, Flamenco, Punk, Rock, and more has given him the ability to play with absolutely anyone. McFadden’s history with drummer Paulo Baldi, of Cake and Les Claypool’s Fancy Band, fame goes back to 1994 when they were in the group Liar. Baldi and McFadden currently play together in the Eric McFadden Experience when they get the chance. Willie Waldman is a founding member of Banyan and an amazing musical collaborator who has performed live with everyone from Jane’s Addiction to Snoop Dog. One of the founding members of the seminal west coast cult band Fishbone, John Norwood Fisher was there to lend his flawless bass skills. Last, but most certainly not least, Herman Green. This guy has played with everyone from Dave Brubeck to Miles Davis to John Coltrane. He is the founder of the influential Memphis group Freeworld, which was a band from Waldman’s formative years. I said all that to ask why would you move this group to a club on Federal with no advertisement? That’s too much talent to waste on a show that literally no one knows about.

That being said, the room itself was a spectacular place to see a live performance. The bar was being refurbished so bottles of beer or mixed drinks were the only option. That was of little concern. The venue is also home to the New Speedway Burger, which isn’t half bad. The back wall of the room is one long row of windows giving an unmatched view of Sports Authority Field and the Denver skyline. The nondescript wood paneling façade in the front did very little to indicate the picturesque scenery. In fact they have had their most profitable days when the Broncos were playing across the tracks. The room has plenty of space and if they finish the bar and get a few local micros on tap this could be an extraordinary place to see live music.

This impressive collaboration began around 10:30 PM and it was a primarily instrumental journey into the musical madness of these five players. The rapport between Baldi and McFadden was palpable and indicative of their two decades of experience playing together. Waldman has been sort of chaperoning Green around the country on a tour that began in early January. The pair had a performance with Wilco’s Nels Cline in New York and have been continuing out west. This tour has been an unusually lengthy run for the aging duo. Waldman appeared a bit more subdued on this particular Saturday than his normally boisterous self. That may or may not have been a result of the turnout. The show began with a huge bass solo from Fisher, which served as a launching pad for Baldi. McFadden gave us searing guitar solos throughout the night. His incredible technical ability and versatility with his instrument are simply something to witness. He has been called a ‘modern day Hendrix’ and I don’t feel that’s too far off. Baldi was given the opportunity to jam on the dirty funk jazz for two sets while Fisher continued to systematically slap out the rhythm. Green and Waldman took turns lending their horns to the fill. Even at his ripe old age of 82 Green can still nail the solos that he has been playing live for sixty years. Waldman bounced in and out occasionally riffing with his old mentor. The two sets of music were inspired and went well past 1 AM. At one point a local guitarist joined the group for a few jams. Waldman once told me, “I don’t mind playing to the dirt.” Meaning he’s down to play whenever and for whoever shows up. However, I can’t help but feel this band would have been better utilized playing a co-bill with Stir Fried and Genetics supporting. All that being said and despite the lack of a crowd this show was awe-inspiring. These five talented performers fell into a freeform rage and the venue was an experience in itself. I look forward to a time when this room will be properly promoted and the day when music of this caliber will get the attention it deserves.

Nick’s Photo Gallery

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mt. Sun’s Funky Good Times feat. The Pearl Street All-Stars 2.1.14

Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO

Photos and Words By Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot)

It was a cold night in Boulder, but that did not stop us music-loving, stout-drinking, and funk-craving fiends from showing up at the Boulder Theater for last Saturday’s Funky Good Times concert sponsored by the Mountain Sun Brewery. Celebrating 20 years on this snowy evening only made the music collaboration even more special. Dating back 10 years ago, keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth of the String Cheese Incident and the legendary George Porter Jr. of Meters fame on bass have come together once a year to display their musical talents and obvious fondness of a good time with a various cast of musical friends. This year was absolutely no different and man was it a great time.

Joining the incredible duo for their 10th annual “Good Times” concert was the soulful Kim Dawson from the Motet, drummer extraordinaire John Staten from Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Lettuce guitarist Adam Smirnoff, with Dennis Marion on Trumpet (JJ Grey/MOFRO) and local saxophone standout Jon Stewart completing the group. To be honest, when this lineup was first announced I was a bit underwhelmed. I have a great amount of respect for all of these musicians, but at first glance their isn’t the “name recognition” such as a Karl Denson, or Davy Knowles. But holy shit was I wrong, as this unique combination of funk-stars came together and truly put on a great show. Led by Mr. Porter himself the rightly named “Pearl Street All-Stars” packed the Boulder Theater for a raucous dance-fest with Mt. Sun Brewery providing delicious beverages for all in attendance. (21-up at least)

This years song choices showed the musical prowess and true ability all of the performers have as covers such as Lonnie Smith’s “Play It Back” and the New Orleans traditional “Iko Iko” let Kyle Hollingsworth and his ridiculous keyboard talent shine through. Kim Dawson and her soothing, soulful and downright beautiful self were showcased on the Pointer Sisters “Yes We Can, Can” and Ike and Tina Turner’s “Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter.” The Isley Brothers “It’s Your Thing” was the perfect choice to highlight Adam Smirnoff on the guitar, as his old-school style of playing fits perfectly with the structure of this tune. Smirnoff and Eddie Roberts of the New Mastersounds are very similar in my opinion, as they are 2 “Old School, Funk/Motown” guitarists trying to bring that style back into the forefront of our live music scene. Smirnoff has a great amount of energy when playing live and always seems to be having a good time whether he is prominently featured or not from song to song. Holding the beat down behind George and Kyle was John Staten for KDTU who I have had the pleasure of seeing numerous times now and I have to say, he never fails to impress. Staten is a monster on the kit and has the capability of transitioning/filling any song style necessary. The guy can flat out fucking play the drums and the solo he took to start up “Cissy Got the Blues” was just ridiculous. Oh, and his smile must to be worth at least a million bucks.

Starting 10 years ago, the Kyle Hollingsworth/George Porter Jr. friendship has formed some truly memorable super-groups. Whether it is headlining Nedfest with Keller Williams, or raging the Jam Room on Jam Cruise 11 this duo is capable of anything when they come together to keep the good times rolling. This year we were treated to the Kyle Hollingsworth Band songs “Let’s Go Outside” and the new tune “Falling Through the Cracks” which with Kim Dawson providing vocals seems to be a new instant hit. (I honestly can say I am 99% sure I have seen every “debut” of a new Kyle song, and this one seems to really have potential) And for all us Meter fans George Porter gave us “A Message from the Meters” and the above mentioned “Cissy Got the Blues” which also featured a delicious guitar solo from Adam Smirnoff, which is always great to hear live. Jon Stewart (Supercollider) and Dennis Marion (JJ Grey) were a great pair for the horn section and had numerous moments where each took turns slaying their respective solos. Stewart in particular seemed to really be captured by playing in front of a massive home crowd and brought the absolute heat on Stephen Still’s “Love the One You’re With” and Bill Wither’s “Kissing My Love.”

To wrap up the night, the all-stars from Pearl Street came out and jammed the Bobby Bland classic “Turn on Your Lovelight” to the joy of the now pretty inebriated Boulder Theater crowd. After numerous thank you’s and a raucous standing ovation the night was over and us funk-loving Coloradans were unleashed into the cold Boulder streets. It was a great night and will be hard to beat next year, but you never know what the Mt. Sun has in store for us. Rest assured it will absolutely be a great time!

Kevin's Photo Gallery

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Trad-Plus (Chris Pandolfi) & Andy Hall of The Infamous Stringdusters 1.31.14

Denver, CO

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Carly Marthis

As the 9:00 PM hour came and went, the initial wave of Stringdusters fans began arriving at Armoury in Lower Downtown Denver. This handful of super fans, referred to as the "Jamily," turned out early to get the party started. Chris Pandolfi and Andy Hall loaded in and set up their gear on stage, while mingling with some of their Colorado friends and family. The venue was filling in nicely as Andy and Chris made their rounds doling out hugs and smiles as they went. Around 10:30 PM Andy made his way to the stage to kick off his solo dobro/lap steel set. Through forty five minutes, Andy displayed incredible musicianship in esoteric fashion, creating layers. Bass notes fell into place under fantastic strumming rhythm intertwined with sliding melodies. The beauty of Andy's output can not be overstated. Songs like "Shady Grove," "The House of The Rising Sun" and the Stringdusters' "Road to Boulder," made appearances. The set was stripped down, exposing a masterful solo performance to kick off the evening!

Around 11:30 PM, Chris took the stage as Trad-Plus, utilizing his laptop to establish the initial layers of his musical vision. Tasteful tracks played host to subtle nuances such as familiar samples and even the sound of a needle on a record. Once the pieces were in place, Pandolfi stepped up with his banjo, be it acoustic or electric. Interesting effects and tones contributed to the danceable feel of the set. At times the banjo sounded like a banjo, while at other points it took on the role of a sort of synthesizer, tearing through a variety of sounds per Chris' direction. Though Trad-Plus is in its infancy, the project reflected solid intuition from Pandolfi, as well as improvement and tightening from the first performance just weeks prior.

Andy stepped up to join Chris for a few songs to close out the evening and what a pleasure it was. Not only was it interesting to hear two of The Infamous Stringdusters so far out of the bluegrass realm, but also experimenting with the new sonic playground that Chris had created. Massive sliding riffs slowed only to make way for Chris' rebuttal on what sounded like an electric guitar, steel drums, or keys. They leaned towards one and other, trading licks and smiles before closing the show with The Stringdusters' "Fork In The Road." The fans responded with overwhelming appreciation, and though the show was over, the party continued. As folks made their way to the door, they collected their free MusicMarauders show poster as a thank you for supporting the event. Though it snowed and the roads were bad, strong pre-sales and a dedicated fanbase helped to ensure the success of MusicMarauders' first independently promoted show!

Carly's Photo Gallery

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tiger Party, Dopapod & Kung Fu 2.1.14

The 1up Colfax
Denver, CO

Words By Brad Yeakel
Photos By Justin Gardner & Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)

Saturday arrived brimming with promise. With Dopapod and Kung Fu already on my agenda, I received invitations to a matinee Tiger Party set which began at 6:00 PM. We arrived fashionably late, but not late enough to miss out on some really excellent "Tiger Trio" action. The "Party" was Blake Mobley on keys, Fleeb Thomas on bass, and Seth Fankhauser on drums. The grooves were electro-funk with a little more testosterone than some other Tiger Party shows I have seen. At one point the lovely Ashley Niven guested and sang with Blake. It was actually one of my top three Tiger Party shows. I felt the set was motivated. It was svelte, sonic, and funky. It had purpose and it moved like a predator. I was glad I came out early.

When the set ended, we grabbed a bite and meandered over to Cervantes Other Side to see the Recovery Act get the room warmed up. I've seen the group a number of times and even attended their first ever show. The style they have created has been consistent since the first time they played, but their delivery has simply sharpened. It seems they have trimmed out anything that hasn't worked, leaving them a driven, nostalgic, soul-funk ensemble with chops and sensibility to boot. Their original work had such authentic soul, it comfortably sat amidst the covers of Stevie Wonder, Tedeschi-Trucks, and more. As much as I was enjoying the show, it was time to scoot back over to the 1up to catch alternating Dopapod and Kung Fu sets.

1up was far more crowded than when I'd ventured out. Dopapod was on stage, and the place had a great energy. The glowing lights, dancing crowd, blinking video games and generous shots had me quickly assessing the barcade's potential, which was tremendous. My only previous exposure to Dopapod was to review their album "Redivider." Like many members of the jamband community, their live show was far more entertaining than their studio effort in my opinion. Bassist Chuck Jones and drummer Scotty Zwang held down two sets of danceable grooves and gave guitarist, Rob Compa, a chance to take it outside of the box. But I thought the band's real star was the keyboard playing Eli Winderman. Winderman seemed comfortable leading the band into new territory and was enthusiastic while doing so.

During one of Dopapod's improvisational passages, members of Kung Fu started to appear on stage, gradually taking over for Dopapod while maintaining the established groove. When both of the bands had traded spots, Kung Fu hit a break and launched their attack. This was my second time seeing Kung Fu and I was similarly impressed as the first time. At the first show, I was convinced that their show was like watching funk break a board. After their second show I decided to do a little more research. I read up on the term "Kung Fu." According to Wikipedia, "Kung fu/Kungfu or Gung fu/Gongfu is a Chinese term referring to any study, learning or practice that requires patience, energy and time to complete..." With this new definition to ponder, the band made even more sense. The amount of work that went into Kung Fu's performance seemed deserving. Their "chops" were lethal, their compositions- complex, and their enthusiasm overflowing. I loved watching their show for the permanent smile on key player Todd Stoop's face. Watching such an excited and overjoyed musician always adds to my experience, and this time was no different. Their enthusiasm was just as contagious and fun to catch as an STD, but there wasn't an itchy feeling when it was over.

As far as musical talent went, Kung Fu was equipped with an arsenal of high powered weapons. I knew about Todd Stoops from his other band, RAQ, and have enjoyed his playing every time. He has consistently made musical choices I love. When I began to see the talent of their depth chart was when bassist Chris DeAngelis took a solo. Like a "bass carpet-bombing", DeAngelis shook foundations, rearranged landscapes and left my jaw hanging. It might have been the most impressive musical display of the night had it not been for everything Tim Palmieri did. His guitar playing was rapid, calculated, lively... searing solo after searing solo. I had remembered he was a decent guitarist, but this show he proved to me that he was simply brilliant. Repeatedly throughout the night I found myself staring at his fingers in disbelief. He was quite the player. With Adrian Tramontano adding some "boom-bap" and Robert Somerville's silky sax, the band really had no weak spots. They reminded me of a band of musical ninjas kicking boring music in the throat. And who hasn't wanted to see boring music get kicked in the throat lately?

Brad & Justin's Photo Gallery

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Motet, Snarky Puppy & Orgone 1.25.14

The Fillmore Auditorium
Denver, CO

Words By J. Picard
Photos By Brad Hodge

If you ask a Coloradan what the first word that comes to mind when you say "funk" is, chances are they will say "Motet." Livenation and Cervantes had quite an evening planned for fans of the genre, with Orgone opening, followed by Snarky Puppy and The Motet closing their album release party. We arrived at Fillmore to long lines at the ticket windows, indicating large walk up ticket sales. After a half hour spent navigating the line to obtain our credentials, we headed to the next line to get into the venue. A short wait followed by typical extensive searches translated into entering the quickly filling venue. Unfortunately, due to the time spent out front of the venue, we missed Orgone and instead were treated to a significant equipment and gear shift for Snarky Puppy, who were at the time nominated for a Grammy, which would play out the following night in Los Angeles. While purchasing drinks we ran into Chris Pandolfi (The Infamous Stringdusters) and Scott Morrill (Cervantes), as well as a plethora of familiar faces from the Colorado scene. Shortly after locating some space to the left of the soundboard, the lights went down and Snarky Puppy took the stage.

Snarky Puppy Live at Fillmore Auditorium on January 25, 2014.

Setlist: Binky, Alma, What About Me, Shofukan, Quarter Master

The first song "Binky," was tender and mellow, triggering an unreasonable amount of chatter in the half filled room. You could tell who in the room was either or a musician or appreciated musical composition based on their intense concentration. Others drank, smoked and chatted loudly about any and everything. "Alma" came next with a little more energy and build, drawing some folks from conversation to respectfully focus on the music at hand. Interesting horn work from Chris Bullock (Sax), Mike Maher (Trumpet), Jay Jennings (Trumpet) and Justin Stanton (Trumpet) played well with electric organ work of Cory Henry, clean chops of Robert "Sput" Searight on the drums and Nate Werth on percussion. Instrumental perfection seeped from the stage into the audience, captivating many with directional compositions that catered to phenomenal solo work and musical intuition. A new track, "What About Me," from their upcoming release followed with heavy bass from Michael League and guitar from Bob Lanzetti from the get go. Heavy synth and note for note action commanded the attention of the then three quarter filled room. The music was psychedelic, funky, rock, roll, R & B and so much in between. I found myself memorized by what I was experiencing.

"Shofukan," another new song, came next with the bands request of the large Denver crowd to sing along. One thing Snarky Puppy may not have realized at the time was just how high the Denver crowds get. One thing the Denver crowd did not realize, was that the song had no words. There was no chance of a sing along, but there was a fantastic chance of low down dirty synth and soaring guitar which followed suit. The matched melodies resonated note for note and the band executed each cue with ease and precision. The set closer, "Quarter Master," a song about New Orleans, kicked off with vigor. Flavors of jazz and funk mixed together, reflecting the true melting pot that is Snarky Puppy.

"Next up is The Motet! Thank you guys so much for being here, it's been a pleasure! We'll be hanging out afterwards before we catch our 8:00 AM flight to Los Angeles tomorrow. Wish us luck! We got nominated for a Grammy somehow. So we're going to be there tomorrow. Crazy... I know, it's weird. You can see us all in suits. See you guys later, thank you so much," Michael said awkwardly before the band launched into some intense instrumentation to close the set.

The Motet Live at The Fillmore Auditorium on January 25, 2014.

Setlist: Like We Own It, Extraordinary High, 123 > Closed Mouth Don't Get Fed, The Fountain > One Nation Under a Groove, Rich in People, Drum Piece > Water No Get Enemy, Keep On Don't Stoppin' > Rynodub, Funk Medley

Encore: The Ocean > Knock It Down

Upon the set conclusion, The Fillmore was packed and Mikey Thunder was dropping tasteful tracks to keep the party going. It was looking like yet another successful Motet show and the evening's headliner had yet to take the stage. People were buzzing, the smell of marijuana filled the air and the party was in full swing by the time Colorado's own took the stage. Joey Porter created some interesting tonal sounds on the keys while Jans Ingber welcomed the Colorado crowd and gave shoutouts to the evening's openers, respectively. Dave Watts dropped the beats, Garrett Sayers took over on the low with the horn section in tow that included Gabe Mervine(Trumpet), Matt Pitts (Sax) and Serafin Sanchez (Sax). The band started with "Like We Own It" with Jans sharing vocal duty with Kim Dawson and LaDamion Massey. The funk was thick and the instrumentation was deep with Jans' vocals fluctuating all over the place. Following the first song, the band welcomed Jason Hann (The String Cheese Incident) to the stage and filled the crowd in on a fan created music video shot and submitted by the fans that evening.

"Extraordinary High" came next following suit with Joey chopping away on the keys and the horns nailing their cues. The rhythm section of Dave Watts and Garrett Sayers was so solid, paving the way for some fantastic melody work from Ryan Jalbert and Joey. The Motet's single "123" came as an ode to Colorado with soaring horns and bending tones from Joey leading into the vocally driven track. Jans welcomed Natalie Cressman to the stage from the Trey Anastasio Band to contribute some additional horns! Following some brief feedback, The jam continued into "Closed Mouth Don't Get Fed." The Motet welcomed Jen Hartswick, also from Trey Band, to the stage for "The Fountain." The beginning of the track sounded vaguely like the others, before the mid section dropped out, got spacey and returned with horn chops that moved the near capacity room. The band transitioned cleanly into Parliament's "One Nation Under a Groove" before Joey dove into some talkbox.

"Rich in People" was next up and meandered along establishing a groove before Jans and the vocalists jumped in. Half way through Garrett stepped up for a low end solo that blew minds. "Drum Piece" featured Dave and Jason soloing and creating some interesting layering on drums and percussion, before the band returned to the stage and welcomed members of Orgone, Trey Anastasio Band and Snarky Puppy to the stage for "Water No Get Enemy." What started as Jalbert riffing on the guitar opened up to some killer horn work from the extended section and potentially the highlight of the evening. "Keep On Don't Stoppin'" followed in a similar fashion to many of The Motet's compositions, with a dump truck of funk and a mission to melt. The capacity Fillmore moved to the music in an all out dance party fashion.

Up next was "Rynodub," a song that built using heavy horns and staccato guitar, before dropping into a dub sound. Echoing guitar collided with deep bass and some amusing effects from Joey on the keys. The Motet closed their set with a medley of songs from their past Halloween run themed Mixtape 1980. The obscurity of the year selected set in as not many recognized the material, but just about everyone in attendance had no problem getting down to it. Through seventeen minutes the band provided a variety of songs that included pop, disco and of course funk! The crowd roared with appreciation, before The Motet returned for some more. Jans invited Jen back to the stage for Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean." As soon as Jen began singing I got goosebumps. She belted, reflecting as much range or more than Robert Plant in his heyday. Jans stepped back up to thank everyone before the band transitioned into "Knock It Down" to end a stellar performance.

What was put on display at The Fillmore that evening was a near perfect showcasing of funk from three fantastic bands. Congratulations to The Motet on their new self-titled album! Congratulations to Snarky Puppy on winning the Grammy for "Best R&B Performance" the following night! By all accounts Orgone was fantastic and I look forward to the next opportunity we get to see them. Folks in Denver, CO are lucky to live in one of the greatest music scenes in the country, if not the world. That evening further reinforced that notion for the approximate cost of $35.00. Colorado loves funk, but moreover, Colorado loves The Motet.