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!

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