Fareed Haque & His Funk Bros. 12.8.17

Stage Stop
Rollinsville, CO

Words by J. Picard
Photos by Blake Barit (Direct Attention)

Note: J. Picard manages Fareed Haque and books music at Stage Stop.

The fire was ripping at the Maylen's big red mountain house atop Coal Creek Canyon. I was getting the house ready for Fareed and his Funk Bros Alex Austin (Bass) and Greg Fundis (Drums). I have seeing the for probably over a decade in different forms, including MathGames. I was joined by Jeffrey Ervine (Genetics' guitarist) whom I brought along to enjoy the show and the experience! We made the short twenty-five minute drive to Stage Stop in Rollinsville, just outside of Nederland. The band was early, which is almost unheard of. They were setting up and soundchecking for the evening's show so Jeff and I grabbed beers and sat at a table on the lower level of the old hay barn, now incredible bar and venue that was built in 1868. Owner Heather Hatwan is known for her cooking and deep menu without a miss. We decided on the reuben and our evening took off from there!

On the second level folks started to wander in out of the cold and for a handful of lucky early arrivers, they were treated to a couple of songs courtesy of the trio. Following soundcheck the band ordered food as well, each plate looking as good as the one before it! I dove into New Holland Brewing's (Michigan) stout early and made several trips to the second story deck for smokes. On one such occasion we played witness to a passing Amtrak train coming from one valley between beautiful mountains and heading towards another. There is no venue that I have ever attended a show at that has provided the unique and beautiful experience that Stage Stop does. Inside, droves of people continued to arrive as the free shuttle to and from Nederland dropped off live music fans. By the time the band hit around 9:30 PM, the room was packed!

Christmas lights wrapped around the structure's support beams under which Fareed lead his trio through a range of selections from Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Garaj Mahal and originals both by Fareed and MathGames. Fareed's guitar work displayed the knowledge and proficiency of a professor. The crowd ate up his tasty licks and danced to his loose funky grooves. That night it felt as if Fareed was playing faster than I had seen him play and with even more energy. Alex's tone sounded great and the deep vibrations shook the venue, as well as our rib cages, as he complimented Fareed and nailed the pocket with Fundis. Fareed has played with some of the best drummers in the world and Greg is as good as any of them. His precise hits coupled with his ability to read Fareed and execute is second to none. On that Friday, he turned towards interesting electronic output as well, which created yet another solid layer on top of the already massive sound of the three.

After an hour and fifteen minutes the band took a break and hung out with fans for a bit before returning with an additional killer hour and a half set. Stage Stop got weird that night... in a good way. A solid two hundred and fifty people turned out for a jazz show in the mountains. The vibes were insanely good and people were so thankful for the experience as they talked to the band and purchased albums. The entire evening and experience (outside of bar tabs) cost folks a total of five dollars and included a Pabst Blue Ribbon! The mountain community loves good music and loves a good time. That Friday, it was evident and it paved the way for the bands return come spring.

After the show we headed back up 72 and back up Coal Creek Canyon where the hot tub sat at a steamy one hundred and four degrees. The band arrived and we dug into whiskey and wine and watched Star Wars on mute with Tabla Beat Science playing in the background. To everyone's surprise, some time around 2:00 AM I treated the group to a poutine (fries, cheese curds and gravy) which ensured a less painful morning. As the sun came up, we went down as fire turned to embers in the fireplace and night to day. It was only night one of the band's Colorado tour and what a great start it was!

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