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.


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