Roosevelt Collier's "Colorado Get Down" Feat. Members of The Motet 2.19 - 2.21.15
Words By J. Picard
It's been about a year since Roosevelt Collier's first run of shows in Colorado with members of The Motet, known as "Colorado Get Down." Following a handful of very successful plays on the Front Range, it was time to take the show to the mountains. I began reaching out to the limited options of venues and was thrilled with the responses! The decision ended up being a Thursday night in Denver at The 1up - Colfax, Friday at Shakedown Bar in Vail and Saturday at The Barkley Ballroom in Frisco! Leading up to the run there were a ton of logistics to sort out and nail down. By the time Roosevelt touched down in Colorado, anticipation for the shows was through the roof...
Thursday February 19, 2015:
The 1up - Colfax
Photos By Jim Mimna (J. Mimna Photography)
Backstage Roosevelt wrote out setlists while the band prepared for what was shaping up to be a sold out show. House Photographer, Jim Mimna, captured the subtle moments prior to the band taking the stage, with the eye of a genius and execution of a wizard. With just minutes before go time, Jim gathered the band for a few group shots. With the clock ticking past the 11:00 PM hour, the band headed to the stage to the delight of the packed house! After some fiddling with his amp and cables, Roosevelt jumped into some heavy slide while his band followed suit with instant peaks. The pedal steel screamed while the crowd went nuts and the lights flashed at the hands of Tiberius Benson.
"Wow, is this the encore? - Bill Nershi
"So, some announcements, some announcements. First of all, how are you all doing out there? I see like a lot of my friends and stuff out here. So in June, yours truly, along with these great guys, will be playing LOHI Music Fest! Just announced. Is anybody going to LOHI? You'd better buy your god damn tickets (laughs)!" - Roosevelt Collier
Roosevelt then called Gabe Mervine (The Motet) to the stage for some trumpet. Gabe entered the stage to minor applause, triggering Rosie to send him backstage and run it back. Upon the second intro, the crowd errupted. Roosevelt also called Cody Russell (The Drunken Hearts) to the stage for some added steel. He nervously made his way up and rightfully so, as he would be playing alongside one of his favorites to a packed house. The following track was soulful and somewhat laid back as the guests were establishing their space and roles on the stage. Gabe took off first nailing it with bright instrumentation and fantastic tone. Cody stepped up next throwing down some impressive slide that reflected a much different background and approach than Roosevelt's. The crowd cheered before focus shifted to Joey as the song wound down. As Gabe and Cody began to wonder off stage, Roosevelt told them not to go anywhere and called Emily Clark to the stage for added vocals, as well as Cliff Porter from the Reno, NV band, Jelly Bread. Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" followed to close the first set of the evening with some impressive output from the guest vocalists. At one point Cliff went back and forth with Rosie, connecting the dots for many on the similarities between steel and vocals. Gabe took another big solo prior to Roosevelt passing it on to Cody, for a eerie resonating solo that added a cool vibe to the song. The song returned to the main riff and came to a close with the crowd cheering wildly.
"You're kidding me, man. Don't mess around," Roosevelt said naievely.
"Great work, man," I said holding out my hand, to which Rosie shook with a huge smile from ear to ear.
The band returned to the stage a short time later with the evening's special guest, Bill Nershi, featured on Otis Rush's "All Your Love." Billy handled vocals before taking on some funk riffs. Roosevelt stepped up and passed it back to Bill for his first solo of the evening. The crowd loved it and from there, Roosevelt jumped right into a jam with his cast of super heroes following suit. Joey chopped away with clavinet tones with Rosie outputting descending notation in conjunction with Bill. Bill took off again with a strong solo before the band dropped back in,steering the jam back towards the main riff, peaking a couple of times before the song's close. The String Cheese Incident's "Out And Inside" came next with Billy in the captain's seat. The song had a very raw flavor from the packaged version the fans are used to. The packed room danced wildly as Roosevelt jumped in following Bill's opening verse. Rosie passed it to Joey before Bill's ripping return. The song was a highlight on paper, though didn't completely translate live.
Back stage the party continued following Roosevelt's first sold out show at The 1up - Colfax! Musicians posed for photos with one another, drank an assortment of alcohol and wound down from the first of three nights of shows. I glanced down at my phone, which I had been checking all night, to gauge the weather situation, which was supposed to take a turn for the worse the following morning/afternoon. Venue Manager, Bobby Jones, arranged for ground transport while Hospitality Manager, Eric Fletcher, changed the marquee for the venue's upcoming shows. As Roosevelt's transport arrived, we sent him off and headed off ourselves into the cold Denver night.
Jim's Photo Gallery
Friday February 20, 2015:
Photos By J. Picard
Video By Carly Marthis
Carly and I found a table on the far side of the room with a great vantage point, as the show kicked off. People were there to party and got down hard from the get go. Rob came over to where we were standing and communicated to me that he had been practicing heavily in anticipation of a sit-in. At the door of the venue, it was one in, one out, meaning the show was technically sold out. A short time later, Rob was called to the stage on Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away." Roosevelt took the first solo with sliding precision, mocking the vocal lines and screaming on the pedal steel. Roosevelt passed it to Rob who absolutely shredded with perfect tone and clear understanding of his instrument. Roosevelt glanced over at me and smiled, then back at Rob with a terrified face, as he was swinging for the fence. Rosie threw a hand in the air to the music as Rob didn't let up, just crushing it. The hair on my arms stood straight up and I smiled. Upon the conclusion of Rob's solo, the mountain venue errupted. I had tears in my eyes and hoped that no one had noticed.
Roosevelt dropped a quick lick, Garrett followed suit, then it was off to Rob and back to Rosie. This continued for a couple of minutes. Each line better than the one before it, the trio passed the music around like a hot potato that kept getting hotter and hotter. It was at this point that a single tear fell from my face. As I wiped it, I glanced to my left and Rednor was shaking his head at me. The music built up until everyone on stage peaked and peaked. The crowd jumped and threw their hands in the air up until the conclusion of the song. The vibe was everything I could have hoped for and more, and we still had another set of music. As there is no greenroom at Shakedown Bar, the band wandered through the crowd, mingling with fans and sharing in conversation for the duration of the break, while I monitored the weather situation.
As the evening wound down, the band threw down their last couple of contributions to the evening. It was fantastic to see the band having so much fun. I was so grateful to be in that place getting down with a handful of folks that we knew, and so many folks celebrating life! With the show's conclusion the crowd showed great appreciation and then continued to party hard to the house music, even creating a circle while drunk folks spun around on the beer soaked floor. Little by little, the 200 person bar began to empty out as we packed up our gear and thanked both "Shrednor" and Jr. for their hospitality, before ascending the Vail Pass and descending down into Frisco. We separated two by two into three vehicles and made the sketchy journey down towards our hotel at a speed of about 25 miles an hour. Upon our arrival we exhaled and settled in for the night.
Saturday February 21, 2015:
The Barkley Ballroom
Photos By Jesse Filippelli (Filippelli Photos)
Around 11:00 PM "Colorado Get Down" took the stage for their last show of the run. The room filled in slowly, as the effect of WinterWonderGrass in Avon, CO could be seen. A short time later, the venue filled in nicely, squashing my notion of the WWG effect. Venue owners, Todd Altschuler and Keegan Casey, were very gracious hosts and seemed excited about the musical experience that was about to unfold. As the show started, Carly and I hung towards the back of the room, winding down from a weekend of shows. As was the case with the previous shows, the crowd was receptive and danced along with the music. Roosevelt seemed loose that night, playing off of the crowd and laughing as people up front danced wildly. The band took a brief set break and returned a short time later for the second set of the evening.
Jesse's Photo Gallery
Sunday February 22, 2015:
We awoke with the sun, quickly packed our suitcases, loaded up the Jeep, hit a Starbucks and we were back on the road towards Denver. Though the roads looked menacing on our decent, the Jeep handled well in four wheel drive. It wasn't until we hit the foothills and dropped into Denver that we hit black ice and fishtaled a couple of times, triggering a crawl to the airport. We made a pit stop for McDonald's breakfast and headed down Pena Blvd. to Denver International Airport. We said our goodbyes to Rosie, who we would see a week later for his return to Colorado with Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. Off Rosie went to re-join Karl Denson in Missoula, MT, while we headed home to our bed. The three night run of shows was a fantastic success with two shows selling out and the third hosting a great crowd. Roosevelt and I began to plot his return immediately, to a market that shows more support than any other in the country, making it Rosie's unofficial home away from home.