MusicMarauders Five Year Anniversary feat. Jen Hartswick Super Jam 2.13 & 2.14.15
The 1up - Colfax
Words By J. Picard
Photos By Derek Miles (Miles Photography) & Jim Mimna (J. Mimna Photography)
Friday February 13, 2015:
Jen followed up with some introductions and very entertaining stage banter that had the crowd laughing and clapping. A slow, sultry composition followed in Average White Band's "If I Ever Loose This Heaven" featuring some fantastic harmonies from Natalie, Jen and Nick. Some ripping guitar from Nick lead back into the vocals for the track's close. Aretha Franklin's "Rocksteady" closed the first set with a punch that came in the form of Jen's incredible vocals, followed by a solid solo from Joey on the keys and a round from Eddie on the guitar! One more pass through the vocals and the first of the weekend's four sets had concluded! Backstage there were hugs and high fives as the Super Jam refueled for the second set which would be much lengthier.
Set two kicked off with K.C And The Sunshine Band's "Shake, Shake, Shake" with Oteil dropping bass bombs while Jaden shredded, blowing the minds of even those on stage. The focus returned to Oteil who output some incredible scat bass that blew minds and left people screaming. It was pure madness that gave me goosebumps and left my cheeks hurting from smiling. Ray Charles' "Drown In My Own Tears" featured Jen's incredible vocal range and ability to completely captivate a crowd. Watching from the side stage, I had tears in my eyes as the hair on my arms stood straight up. Natalie jumped in with some brassy sounding trombone that fit the mood perfectly. A return to Jen's soulful vocals, which soared, triggered the instruments to halt, leaving only Jen to the song's end.
Stevie Wonder's "Living For The City" followed tightly, lending no credence to the aforementioned notice of the group never playing the song. Jen's vocals were chased by Eddie who picked away with noodly staccato before leaning into his instrument. Joey stepped up and knocked it out of the park with some Herbie sounding jazz/funk. The horns punched in the background as Denver music fans got down to some of the best music that The 1up had seen to date. Oteil stepped up as the band turned towards the master of the low end for a solo that was truly amazing. Up next was The Beatles' "I Want You," with Nick matching his vocal notes on a guitar that wouldn't let up until the conclusion of the song, which was heavy through and through. Pharrell's "Places and Spaces I've Been" came next with a light vibe that was encouraged by the beautiful sound of Jen's trumpet, followed by Skerik cleaning up on the tenor.
"That's an original tune. They are all original... somebody wrote them." Jen Hartswick
Black Heat's "Love The Life You Live" came with a barrage of horns and Natalie at the vocal forefront. Skerik threw down on what felt like the closing song of the second set. The composition wound down while Jen introduced the band and they jumped back into a rip roaring final push to the end. The appreciative crowd errupted in cheer as the group exited the stage, only to return a short time later with Heart's "Magic Man" in rocking fashion. Jen's vocals were strong as the music fell to psychedelia. Nick's guitar screamed as the vocals peaked for what felt like a raging rock explosion of love! Upon it's conclusion, Jen thanked The 1up and MusicMarauders before letting the crowd know that the following night would be all new music! Backstage the energy was through the roof with band members hugging, laughing, taking pictures with one and other and letting loose as their night of "work" had concluded. That evening was truly something special, raising the bar for Super Jams at The 1up and setting the scene for the following night's action. Very little sleep followed for me and the next afternoon, I once again found myself at the center of my universe, The 1up - Colfax...
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Saturday February 14, 2015:
Once again, around 11:00 PM, the Jen Hartswick Super Jam took the stage with an aggressive "25 Or 6 To 4" by Chicago. My folks were pumped! Jen's voice was no worse for wear from the previous night's madness as she belted and was chased by horns, as well as well as Nick and Anders. It was an absolute throwdown from the start with the whole band peaking and peaking and peaking!
Up next was Cee Lo Green's "Fool For You," in soulful fashion, with Anders stepping to the forefront for his first solo of the weekend. The slide added an enjoyable flavor to the mix, before Oteil took over and passed it to Nick. For many, this is what we were here for, pure improvisational output... and guitar solos! The Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)" followed to the delight of the Denver crowd. Joey nailed the signature intro key licks before Nick jumped in on vocals and Jen and Natalie backed him. At one point Nick requested that the crowd participate in a call and response segment, which as we know can go either way. In this situation, it was very well executed creating a beautiful moment. There was some beatboxing from the stage which translated to a wild Skerik solo, before opening up to some weird sounds coming from all over the stage. A dash of slide, wank from keys, scratching from guitar strings and fading trumpet, made for a swanky vibe.
"If It hadn't Been For Love," a song originally by The Steeldrivers, covered by Adele, and then Jen Hartswick, came next with a bluesy vibe. Natalie stepped up to the plate with some extensive trombone before Jen came back on the vocals. The set closer came in the form of Rufus and Chaka Khan's "Tell Me Something Good!" The whole room was singing along and getting down, as Joey took over on keys, bending notes and throwing down. Jen's vocals resonated powerfully as Oteil and Nikki created a deep groove to take it to the close. Backstage the band was greeted by cake celebrating MusicMarauders' five year anniversary, as a party type of atmosphere ensued. Recently, I have been focused on appreciating things as they happen, so I took a deep breath, and glanced around the greenroom. It made me very happy to see a bunch of my favorite musicians celebrating along with my parents, Carly and some of my very good friends. I realized that every second of my life had lead up to that moment and I smiled a big shit eating grin.
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