The Motet & Mikey Thunder 10.29.14

Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Words, Photos & Video By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

The Motet is Colorado’s house band, plain and simple. They continue to be an innovating force in the world of funk and Afrobeat in Colorado. They are famous for their Halloween runs, which in previous years have focused on the catalog of a single band. This year The Motet chose the rather broad theme of ‘Mixtape 1975.’ Like most fans anticipating the show, I looked up the top hits of 1975. Songs like David Bowie’s “Fame” and the Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” floated to the top. One of those seemed like a distinct possibility. When show time came The Motet would surprise us all like they manage to do every year.

Arriving early there was already a decent turnout. The show would nearly sell out. AGGIE RAGE CAGE UPDATE: The bar has moved the fencing down a level extending the area where drinking is allowed to the top two levels. The floor is now essentially the only area for minors to watch the show. I think this is a better solution than confining everyone over 21 to the Thunderdome. Speaking of Thunder, Mikey Thunder was spinning a lot of popular funk music from the mid to late 70’s and beyond. He was set up in the back by the soundboard, but his funky pop was ripping out of the PA. As the room slowly filled Mr. Thunder played on. His set went until around 10:30 PM. In a haze of blue light and smoke The Motet floated onto the stage. The group was complete with leather vests, bell-bottoms, and intricately patterned shirts. Watts wore a top hat at the kit while Jalbert sported glasses that would make Phil Donahue jealous. The beginning of the show sounded like a mash up of Earth, Wind, & Fire and The Commodores, but I can’t be sure. When the dust finally settled the band went into hyper drive with a version of Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar.” This was an unexpected one for me, sure Floyd’s heyday was in the 70’s, but that band did not play funk music. “Jive Talkin’” by the Bee Gees was big hit from '75 and it seemed to fit The Motet’s chic a bit better. They tapped the talents of Camille Armstrong and Paul Creighton to sing alongside Jans Ingber. The Motet seems to have worked as a proving ground of sorts for young singers. Others like Kim Dawson have gone on to play with the likes of Karl Denson and The New Mastersounds. “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate (yep that’s who sang that song) came up next to a delighted audience. Speaking of which, it was a funny night given the proximity to Halloween. Attendees were split with about half going all out for the holiday while many others only managed the bare minimum in costume or accessorizing. A funny hat or silly glasses was all they could muster. KC & The Sunshine Band’s “That’s The Way I Like It” blasted into Kool & The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” in a battle of the ampersands of funk. My prediction came true when they closed up the first set with the Bowie classic “Fame.”

The set break lasted maybe 20 minutes before the funk army returned. Throughout the entire night the rhythm section stole the spotlight. This happens a lot with The Motet; the combination of Watts on kit and Sayers on bass is a powerful one. The boys returned to the “Sunshine Band” catalog with “Get Down Tonight.” They went into a rendition of the Ohio Players’ “Love Rollercoaster,” which most will remember the Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded in 1996. The Motet played some later day Temptations with “Shaky Ground” before going into a beautifully timed “Fire On The Bayou” by The Meters. The entire night was utterly enjoyable. The Motet continues to be a driving force in the Colorado music scene. They don’t just cover a set of songs; they immerse themselves in the music and present the music with a mastery and respect that is undeniable. They could have been a pop cover band from 1975, musically and stylistically. The Motet doesn’t half ass any performance, but for Halloween each year they pull out all the stops. Their show at the Aggie was a time machine back to an earlier time when the funk flowed freely and the clothing made chest hair an accessory. It was a great night for funk and an even better night for platform footwear.

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