Garaj Mahal & Genetics 5.12.18

The Caribou Room
Nederland, CO

Words by Kristin Zachman (Direct Attention)
Photos by Blake Barit (Direct Attention)

Last weekend, Coloradans bore witness to the reunion of jazz juggernauts Garaj Mahal. The legendary foursome displayed their funky fusion at Denver's Be on Key Psychedelic Ripple and Nederland's Caribou Room. This reunion brought together the Garaj Mahal we all know and love for three stellar shows over the weekend.

Those who commuted to the picturesque mountain town were gifted with a fog-filled drive up the canyon alongside the roaring Boulder Creek. After thirty-ish magical minutes of twisting and turning, we pulled up to The Caribou Room which is irrefutably my favorite music venue in Boulder County. This new space is decked out with great local brews, an excellent eatery, and the fabulous Peaceful Security, all set in beautiful Nederland.

With Very Nice Brewing IPA in hand, I anxiously waited for Genetics to open up the show. These local boys came out with some stellar music, showcasing their undeniable musicality. If a band is as strong as their weakest link, Genetics may as well be invincible. Each player gave an effortless and flawless performance while the group weaved in and out of original songs and covers. If their practically perfect playing alone didn't capture the audience, intertwining the Stranger Things theme with Warren G's "Regulate" would. Another showing of Genetics proved to be as impressive and entertaining as ever.

By the time Genetics left the stage, the floor had filled up in anticipation for the appearance of Garaj Mahal. Fareed Haque, Garaj's prolific guitarist, sauntered onstage, stool in hand, followed by co-founders Kai Eckhardt on bass, Eric Levy on keys, and Alan Hertz on the skins. It only took the boys a moment to settle in before Fareed leaned back on his stool and they dropped into the funky and irreverent "Meatless Patty." Kai Eckhardt then wove a beautiful story of his time in Africa before falling into an inspired piece which set the groovy and uplifting tone for the rest of the show.

While reunion shows can serve host to a multitude of meanings, I think every fan hopes reunions are a sign of more to come. For the first time in a decade, the boys came together to play in the United States, but ten years brings a lot of change. Garaj Mahal will carry on with Kai and Fareed co-leading the ensemble with an array of guest musicians, as well as Eric and Alan, schedules permitting. The group plans to take this change into the farthest corners of their creativity and to soldier on down the musical road, bringing a reinvigorated version of Garaj Mahal to venues near you. For the fans in Canada, you can catch Garaj at the Feelgood Folly Fest in Gagetown, NB this June.

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