Lettuce, The Motet, Exmag & DJ Jazzy Jeff 6.5.15
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)
This spring Colorado has been inundated with precipitation. Several of the early spring shows at Red Rocks have had to deal with the weather. It would definitely be a factor on this particular evening. Hardcore funk fans got in early to secure a spot close to the action as the DJs started the off the night.
Most Millennials will remember the highly successful sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bell Air, staring Will Smith. In the years since his involvement with Smith, DJ Jazzy Jeff has toured the globe and founded a highly successful music production company. However, it was my nostalgia for his early career that prompted me to head inside. Around 7:00 PM DJ Jazzy Jeff took the stage with Dayne Jordan aka Dosage. Dosage is now an accomplished rapper in his own right, but he pretty much acted as a hype man for Jazz for his forty five minute set. The good DJ treated us to some wobble-infused mash ups of pop music and bass. His selections ran the gamut from Michael Jackson to Phil Collins. At one point Jazz busted out Will Smith’s “Summertime” to an enthusiastic response from the audience.
Exmag, or Extraordinary Magnitude, was up next and during their set the skies began to look very ominous. Exmag blended digitally produced samples with live guitar riffs and ethereal sounds. Droplets of rain leaked from the sky giving us an indication of what was to come. I ran out and snapped a few pictures before retreating under an awning for the remainder of their set. The organic elements of the music flowed nicely with the heavy beats for an electrified funk feel. They made livetronica soulful. Exmag wrapped their set up just as the storm came.
Fans scattered as the sky opened up and dumped their contents upon us. Balls of hail rained down and lightning struck all around the venue. People were advised to head to their cars and wait until it was over. Some fans, including myself, found shelter inside Red Rocks; others were inevitably drenched. I’ll just say the storm felt biblical.
This being Colorado after about fifteen minutes the rain lightened and stopped completely. The crew swept the water off the stage and The Motet fired up the funk engine. The most amazing thing is that everyone who evacuated, returned to get down despite most of them getting soaked. The crew did a great shop getting the stage reset, and within thirty minutes The Motet emerged to a wet, but excited crowd.
Set One: Funny Bone > Knock It Down, Cloak ‘N’ Dagger, Fight The Power, Rynodub, 123 > Just Around The Corner, Sexx Laws > Keep On Don’t Stoppin’, Get Down Tonight > Jungle Jazz
Ironically, Brooklyn-based funkers, Lettuce, are also lead by their drummer. Adam Deitch is a modern day drumming messiah playing with absolutely everyone. Currently he primarily focuses on playing with Lettuce and Break Science. The rest of Lettuce is a veritable who’s who of the East Coast funk and jazz scene including Soulive’s Neal Evans on keys and Eric Krasno on guitar, Erick “Jesus” Coomes on bass, and Adam Smirnoff on guitar, Eric Benny Bloom on trumpet and Ryan Zoidis on sax. Saying their set at Red Rocks was intense might be an understatement.
Set One: Big Anthem, By Any Shmeeans Necessary, Colorado Knows How To Party, Get Greasy, Chief, Phyllis, Breakout > Relax > Jesus Dre > Trap > Madison Square, Squadlive > Lettsanity, Lett Zeppelin, Do It Like You Do > Makin' My Way Back Home
Lettuce absolutely threw down. The set was a selection of the new and the classic. “Colorado Knows How To Party” was a nod to all the drenched patrons in the audience. “Madison Square” was an obvious highlight for the beloved funk band. Nigel Hall joined the band to sing on “Lettsanity” and “Do It Like You Do.” Lettuce took full advantage of this co-bill with The Motet. They delivered a hard-hitting, funky free-for-all to a sold out crowd at one of the most beautiful venues on the planet. Be on the look out for this band, they are playing a slew of festivals this summer across the country.
All in all this was a very special evening on the Rocks for both The Motet and Lettuce. These bands combined their raw talent for a very special, albeit rain soaked show. I honestly would not be surprised to see these two bands team up again next summer. Time will tell.
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