Category Archives: Concert Reviews & Setlists

Here you can find the most current reviews and setlists to the best of my ability.

THE DENVER DELUXE COMES OFF BIG FOR ITS FIRST YEAR!!!!

Yesterday was the inaugural event in the RiNo district of Denver, known simply as The Denver Deluxe. It is a one day festival put on by Park Burger to raise money for a community garden, with some serious assist by 10 Barrel Brewing Co. The festival featured food from Park Burger, beer from 10 Barrel and glorious music, both internationally and from our neck of the woods. The folks at Park Burger wanted to start off, what hopes to be an annual occurrence, with a bang, so they enlisted the help of The Original Wailers, which includes Al Anderson, who did perform alongside Bob Marley, back in the day. Besides these legends, Florida’s own tropical jammers, The Hip Abduction, were making a stop in Denver, on their first tour to Colorado, or even this far west. Louisiana blues bomb, Jonathon Boogie Long was also on tap to tear it up under the Colorado sun. The day would also include some of the area’s favorite hometown acts, such as Rob Drabkin, Musketeer Gripweed and Technicolor Tone Factory.

Regrettably, my family and I missed the first half of the day and sets by Technicolor Tone Factory, Musketeer Gripweed and Jonathon Boogie Long. However, we did show-up in time to catch a majority of Rob Drabkin, who was in the middle of his moving original “Down To Fate”, when we got there. He and his band, which included a sharply dressed trumpeter pulled-off a tremendous exploration in the middle of the traditional “Lil’ Liza Jane”. The covers of Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill” and Paul Simon’s “Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes” were both exceptional and crowd pleasing. The well-played set ended with another fantastic Drabkin original, “She Comes & Goes”.

Florida’s newest highly sought after export, The Hip Abduction made a worthy first impression with “Before We Lose Our Minds”, off of their latest album. The reggae flavor of both “Live It Right” and “Children Of The Sun” were perfectly welcome under the sweltering yellow ball of light. The asphalt became electric with the live sounds of “Come Alive”, which seemed familiar to several of the attendees, probably due to being played on ¬†the Jam On station on Sirrius Radio. This was followed by a humongous version of their world-beat instrumental “La Resaca”. “Stand Up For Love” brought more of a catchy unity vibe to the already stupendous set. They introduced a new tune that was world-beat meets jamtronica, which I later discovered, had been named “Sinte”. Everyone was a Hip Abduction fan by the time the band broke into the tropical jams of “Holiday”, from their 2013 self-titled release. The sextet finished up their first-rate set with a rousing version of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”, which was probably the first time any of us had heard a kora used in a cover of the song.

The crowd had grown to a decent size, by the time The Original Wailers took the stage. They opened with a choice version of “I Shot The Sheriff”, with Chet Samuels showing amazing skill on lead vocals. “Stir It Up” and “Three Little Birds” kept the party rolling and had the crowd singing every line. The band played a few unfamiliar tunes, that were probably originals, but the festive vibe wasn’t impacted in the least. “Could You Be Loved” definitely got the attendees back into a singing mood. The Original Wailers went a little psychedelic on the classic tale of oppression, “Buffalo Soldier”, which contained a mind-blowing guitar solo by the true original Wailer, Al Anderson. They played a few more original tunes for the masses and then got them dancing with the heavy bass of “Jamming”. As the headlining set came close to the end, they gave the audience what they wanted with a remarkable “No Woman, No Cry”. A phenomenal improvisation gave “Exodus” the power of true emancipation to conclude the outdoor portion of the day.

Though we only heard three of the six acts playing on The Denver Deluxe stage, yesterday, those were a spectacular four hours. The music was eclectic and wonderful, bringing a nice spectrum to the first year of this city festival. I have to admit that I have experienced at least a few infant festivals, over the years, but The Denver Deluxe was well organized and didn’t seem like it will suffer much from growing pains, except for where to put all the people as the crowd grows from year to year, especially if the musical performances are as good as this year’s. The food and beer for sale were pretty tasty, but it might not hurt to have some fries or chips on the menu and a darker beer selection. These are minor details compared to the success of the overall experience, so I tip my hat to Park Burger and all of the folks that had a hand in making such a terrific day. I am extremely excited for next year’s Deluxe, but for a quick flashback, go to my Facebook page and check-out a couple videos of The Hip Abduction’s set at The Denver Deluxe. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!! Enjoy!!

HAPPY LISTENING!!!! ūüėČ

EUFORQUESTRA FILLS THE LAWN WITH SMILES AND DANCING ON CSU CAMPUS!!

As part of the annual summer concert series, the CSU Lagoon has hosted many of the area’s finest musicians over the years. This year’s schedule included, local world-funk outfit, Euforquestra who were playing as part of Mishawaka Amphitheatre’s 100th anniversary. This was in conjunction with a large donation being made to Habitat For Humanity. There was an opening set by the area’s youngest celebrity, Emma Marie, but unfortunately, we missed it.

Euforquestra took to the stage around 6:40, beginning the first set with the upbeat reggae original, “Cause A Reaction”. An afro-beat instrumental kept things moving before the band gave a nod to our states biggest cash crop on the funky “64-18”. After a couple of more compelling instrumentals, they whipped through the jazz funk of “Price Is Right”. The second set included music that skirted reggae, afro-beat and funk, with plenty of jamming throughout. The Stevie Wonder vibe was apparent on “Road Funk”, off of their latest album “Fire”. The stand-out of the show was a fantastically extended version of the island groover, “Soup”, complete with a percussion jam stuffed into the middle. Euforquestra ended the set with a funky instrumental, but came back to encore with their reggae staple, “Called You”.

I first heard about Euforquestra in 2007, when they were still based in Iowa City, IA. Soon after, I got to catch them at Fort Collins’ Civic Center Park, just before they relocated to the Choice City, in 2008. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to have seen this collective play at Ned Fest, LoHi Music Festival, New West Fest, Hodi’s Half Note and more. They recorded their most recent album, “Fire”, with the production savvy of The String Cheese Incident’s Kyle Hollingsworth, leading the band through the album. Admittedly, it had been over a year since I had seen Euforquestra live, so it was awesome to hear the balance that they have reached between the world grooves, funk and super jams. There was a positive family vibe on the CSU lawn, on Wednesday evening and the music was a huge piece of that. I would easily recommend checking-out Euforquestra, anytime you get the chance. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!!

BONNIE & THE CLYDES DREW A LARGE CROWD AT CSU LAGOON ON WEDNESDAY!!

For many years, the Lagoon at CSU has been hosting local musicians, once a week, during the summer months. This year is no exception, with concerts happening on Wednesday evenings from June through the very beginning of August. As in years passed, the lagoon concerts offer a plethora of musical styles to appeal to music lovers of all ages and tastes.

This past Wednesday saw the country quintet, Bonnie & The Clydes, perform for a large crowd on campus. The band headed by Bonnie and Taylor Sims took-off with some rockin’ honky tonk. The band tackled a few tracks from their latest album ‘Dear Somebody’, including the country rocker about progress, “It’s Gonna Fall” and “Down Down Down”. Taylor took the mic for the modern country twist of “She Was A Girl”, before Bonnie took over for excellent covers of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and Waylon Jennings’¬†“I’ve Been A Long Time Leavin”. They played a couple of country ballads, complete with outstanding harmonies. “Seminole Wind” was a stand-out from Bonnie & The Clydes’ first set. The original number, “My Love Will Keep” helped to end the first set in stellar fashion.

The band began their second set with a slower honky tonk tune, which featured Bonnie on mandolin. The five-piece tore into a country swing instrumental, which was a lot of fun. Bonnie also got to strut her vocal prowess on their rendition of Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You”. The sky was pretty grey by this point in the evening and there had been¬†a little light precipitation, but the increasing wind gusts were enough to cause my family and I to cut the evening short around 8 p.m.

Though I didn’t see the entire show that Bonnie & The Clydes put on at the CSU Lagoon, I know that these folks make amazing music and probably continued to impress for the rest of their time on stage. Bonnie has an awe-inspiring vocal range, that includes a rare ability to yodel with impeccable control. She and her husband, Taylor Sims, both write songs for the band and sing with an untouchable amount of passion, while having fun at what they do. I am not a huge fan of modern country, but with the talent that Bonnie & The Clydes bring to the genre, while giving frequent nods to classic country artists, it is impossible to keep from, at least, appreciating the music. They play quite a few shows along the Front Range with a current schedule that has them playing in Lyons on July 7th and 8th. They will play the Copper Mountain Music Festival on July 10th and at Blue Skies Park in Longmont on July 12th. So, if you just love amazing music, check-out Bonnie & The Clydes, whenever and wherever you get the chance. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!! Enjoy!!

HAPPY LISTENING!!!! ūüėČ

Review: THE LOWEST PAIR BRING THE WEEKEND TO A SOOTHING END IN LAPORTE!!

Last year, the soul-stirring sounds of The Lowest Pair magically found my ears, and since then, I have been seeking out those sounds. Fortunately, Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee were in Colorado for a few shows, last week, including a free afternoon performance at The Swing Station, in LaPorte, on Sunday, to finish the tour of our majestic state. Kendl is from Washington state and Palmer, from Minnesota. The pair met a few years ago, and found a kindred musical spirit, that has resulted in a few albums, including two that were just released this year. Though Palmer plays acoustic guitar and Kendl mostly picks banjo, they can both play both instruments, as well as writing and singing.

When my family and I arrived, the duo was a few songs into their set on the Swing Station’s patio. After a tune that Kendl described as a sinister love song, they played “The Sky Is Green” about being gullible. Though, there was a fair amount of chatter from other patrons, the music was far too good to be relegated to the background. “Rosie” is a compelling number about asking for another chance at love, and it was strangely soothing. A tune about reinventing yourself, “Strangers” featured Palmer on harmonica. A wonderfully relatable song, “Dreaming Of Babylon” touted the glory of being a little spaced-out. The duo finished-up their first set in stellar form, with “Sweet Breath”, which was about gambling.

Palmer T. Lee did the lion’s share of the singing at the beginning of the second set, which included the wonderful original “The River Will”. The duo showed-off more tremendous harmonies like on the gospel-infused “Dock My Boat” and “Keewanaw Flower”, about Palmer’s old stomping grounds, in Minnesota. “In The During Of A Moment” is a beautiful tune that eludes to being in the moment and sounded superb on this particular Sunday. The Lowest Pair took on John Hartford with a phenomenal cover of “Darlin’ Corey”, to end the show. After some well-deserved appreciation from the crowd on the patio, Kendl and Palmer returned to the outdoor stage to encore with “Pear Tree” off of their first album.

Though the crowd on the patio was a little loud for an acoustic show, the music was spectacular. I had seen The Lowest Pair in November, at Avogadro’s Number and was extremely satisfied with the soul-stirring sounds of Kendl’s banjo, Palmer’s guitar playing and the duo’s songwriting and singing skills. This past Sunday was no different, except that I had even more of a sense of contentment and peace, while they played. I knew more of the lyrics and the outdoor setting was perfect for their acoustic roots music. It is easy to say that The Lowest Pair is full of skill and a penchant for deep lyrics, but the truth is that the chemistry between Kendl and Palmer, is a huge component of the incredible music the two make together. If you’re fans of Front Range acts like Bonnie & Taylor Sims or Moors & McCumber, then I can’t recommend enough, that you should check-out The Lowest Pair, the next time they come through the state. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!!

THE LOHI MUSIC FESTIVAL WAS ANOTHER HUGE SUCCESS IN 2016!!

Saturday was the day that many folks in the top half of the state had been looking forward to for a few months, in order to kick-off the festival season. It was the annual LoHi Festival and it was another big year for this street festival located in the Lower Highlands neighborhood of Denver. This year’s fest boasted a line-up that included Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, ¬†Animal Liberation Orchestra and several more. The sky was blue and the sun was beating down, but an occasional breeze made it a pretty wonderful day for a music festival.

The festival began at 11:15 a.m., but my wife and I didn’t arrive until about 11:45, although we did manage to catch a fair portion of Whip Snap’s festival opening set of funky jams. “Tightrope” was the first tune we caught. The band showed off melodic vocals and some cool jamming on “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley”. The band ended their set with some super-groovy jams.

Rastasaurus took to the Spring 44 Stage at a quarter after noon with their groovy reggae style. They played a new tune called “Cane Sugar”, which was in keeping with the general vibe the band had up to that point. Then the band went in more of a jamband direction, which included a sweet rendition of Little Feat’s “Skin It Back”. The island grooves of “Zero Gravity” were welcome under the sweltering sun. Rastasaurus ended their time on-stage with a few more from their wheelhouse, including “Reggae Got My Soul”.

Denver’s own, Greener Grounds were on the Evan Williams Stage for a set of original jams and grooves. “Neptune” is a hypnotic spine tingler, that sounded fabulous beneath a gorgeous sky. They played something new, followed by the anthemic rock spectacle, that is “Clairvoyance”. Greener Grounds concluded their performance with the tasty island grooves of “Sun Tan Snow Day”.

The world-grass experiment that was Poor Man’s Whiskey performing Paul Simon’s “Graceland”, commenced in positive form with”Boy In The Bubble”. Natalie Cressman of the Trey Anastasio Band, joined the band on stage for “Graceland”, but unfortunately her microphone was not turned-up loud enough, so it was very difficult to hear her vocals. Jennifer Hartswick, who also plays with the Trey Anastasio Band, joined her bandmate onstage for the horn section and some backing vocals on an extremely energetic version of “I Know What I Know”. ¬†Conductor, Matt Butler took the stage to lead the collective through a huge jam complete with plenty of solos, then directing the group into the chorus of The Grateful Dead’s “Franklin’s Tower”, before they finished up “I Know What I Know”. “Gumboots” and “Diamonds On The Souls Of Her Shoes” were well adapted for the jamgrass instrumentation, but “You Can Call Me All”, whipped the growing crowd into a sing-a-long frenzy. “Under African Skies” sounded incredible, however, “Homeless” found the group putting their instruments down and getting together for the warm a cappella number. The collective soared through covers of “Crazy Love Vol. II”, “That Was Your Mother” and “All Around The Word Or The Myth Of Fingerprints”. Though they had finished playing the songs on “Graceland”, Pour Man’s Whiskey and friends were not done with Paul Simon, as they concluded the outstanding set with “Me & Julio”.

Analog Son was next-up on the Evan Williams Stage. They started out with a sweet jazzy groove, which featured the extreme intensity of founding members Jordan Linit and Josh Fairman. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch anymore of their funky set, but I’m sure it was good, especially considering the crowd around the stage, only got bigger.

I was so looking forward to Animal Liberation Orchestra’s performance under the Colorado sun, and they did not disappoint. They opened with the exquisitely-penned love vibe of “Maria”, which was trailed by “Falling Dominoes”. Zach Gill took a trip through time passed on “The Ticket” and picked-up his ukulele for the good-time feel of “Plastic Bubble”. Steve Adams took the lead on “Undertow” from their latest album, which was followed by an excellent cover of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day”, with Zach Gill supplying some commendable vocals. “Shapeshifter” was a stand-out, partially because of a stunning jam on the theme of “A Few Of My Favorite Things”. The quartet brought out Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman for their brass on choice renditions of “Walls Of Jericho” and “Animal Liberation”. The ladies left the stage, before Animal Liberation Orchestra closed out their time with an enormous “I Love Music”.

There were two more sets of tremendous music left, at this point, featuring Kyle Hollingsworth Band and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, but unfortunately we had to leave, so I am not sure how the festival ended musically. I do know that it rained pretty hard near the end of Kyle’s set, which continued during Karl Denson’s. There was also lightning, so it is hard to say how long the music went in the streets, but there was still the late night after-party at Cervantes’ which was set to include some spectacular collaborations between many of the festival’s artists. All-in-all, it was a great festival with amazing weather, although I’m glad I wasn’t there long enough to get soaked. I would like to thank the LoHi organizers and staff, for four years of magnificent music and vibes, but I think this was our last year for the LoHi Music Festival. We will probably start looking for other festivals that we have wanted to check-out. We wish the LoHi Music Festival further success and more phenomenal line-ups in the future. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!!

 

FRONT COUNTRY & JON STICKLEY TRIO IMPRESS WEDNESDAY NIGHT CROWD!!

On Tuesday, I released a post about the Jon Stickley Trio playing a show at Hodi’s Half Note, on Wednesday night. The show was part of the ‘Grass For That Ass’ shows that happen weekly at either Hodi’s or Aggie. Wednesday night’s schedule included three bands, but I missed Rabbit Wilde’s opening set.

I showed-up, just in time to catch the California country-grass quintet, Front Country. Lead by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist, Melody Walker instantly grabbed with her vocals on the set opener, “Made It Home”. Three part harmomies were compelling on the bluegrass infused, “One Kind Word”. They played a new tune they had been working on in the studio called “Lonesome Town”, which had the feel of being on a dirt road with Steve Earle. With mandolin, upright bass, guitar, fiddle and the occasional banjo, the highlights of the set include “Undertaker”, “Colorado”, “For The Sake Of The Sound” and an outstanding cover of Don Henley’s “Boys Of Summer”. Front Country took the sound to church to close their set with the glorious “Gospel Train”.

The Jon Stickley Trio went on around 11:30 and started with some fiery acoustic jazz-grass that was reminiscent of Tony Furtado. It is quite difficult to explain the sound this trio has when they are musically all over the place, but always arriving in spectacular fashion. Jon and violinist, Lyndsay Pruett have incredible chemistry, with playful back and fourth, between the two. “Point To Point” from their new album went from chaos to classical in a heartbeat. Their tribute to Tony Rice, titled “Rice Dream” was a fitting tune to play on Rice’s birthday. The American Celtic track, “Never Stop” was a stand-out of the set. It is hard not to get wrapped-up in the alternative rocker with a warm summer breeze blowing through it, that is “Plain Sight”. “Darth Radar” is a lively number that sounds a lot like Charlie Hunter playing jazz guitar with Reverend Horton Heat. Another highlight was the Lyndsay Pruett penned “Goa”, with its gypsy jazz stylings. Though I was thoroughly enjoying the music that Jon Stickley and company were dropping on my ears, I had to head-out before the end of the show.

Since I missed the opener, Rabbit Wilde, I can’t speak to their set, but I can about the two bands that followed. Front Country delivered a set that easily slid from country to bluegrass, while Melody Walker soared on all fronts. Jon Stickley Trio makes acoustic trance music, which borrows from the bluegrass, jazz, rock and latin genres, while creating something extremely fresh. I would strongly urge fans of amazing acoustic music, to catch both of these acts, when they come back through Colorado. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!! Enjoy!!

HAPPY LISTENING!!!! ūüėČ

THE CURE ASTOUNDS A SOLD OUT CROWD AT FIDDLERS GREEN!!!!

Last night, a packed Fiddlers Green Amphitheatre witnessed an outstanding concert by The Cure. The English alternative rock behemoths brought their expansive catalog to Colorado for a beautiful June night of incredible music.

The show started with the reflective “Out Of This World” from the ‘Bloodflowers’ album, which displayed the strength of frontman, Robert Smith’s, voice and the perfect balance of instruments to vocals. Three of the next four tunes, were from the ‘Disintegration’ album, with the poppy “High”, being the odd man out. A more acoustic version of “Just Like Heaven” seemed like a highlight for most of the audience. The dark nature of “Cold” and “A Strange Day” were great representations of their 1982 release ‘Pornongraphy’. The band then played three straight, off of ‘Head On The Door’, including a phenomenal build to a boil version of “Push”. “Fascination Street” and “The Hungry Ghost” were both highlights of the set. The set ended with the dream versus reality conundrum on “Bloodflowers”. The band may have left the stage, but they were back within six or seven minutes, and began the first encore with a new track, titled “It Can Never Be The Same”. The first encore also contained the chaotic energy of “Shake Dog Shake” and “Burn” from ‘The Crow’ soundtrack, to end encore number one. The four-song, second encore, was finished-off by the pairing of “Play For Today” and a stunning “A Forest”. Encore number three was kicked-off by “Hot, Hot, Hot”, which was fitting for the energy and the red heavy light show. Classic Cure tunes flowed with awesome versions of “The Caterpillar”, “The Walk” and “Let’s Go To Bed”. A fourth encore concluded the exceptional show with “Lullaby”, which had some great visual effects. The pairing of “Why Can’t I Be You?” and the staple “Boys Don’t Cry” brought the show to a close around the 11 p.m. curfew.

The almost three hour show was incredible and included songs from the band’s forty year career, including the incorporation of some songs that hadn’t been played since the 80’s. Robert Smith’s voice is still really crisp and with the balanced sound, there was nowhere to hide vocal imperfections. The light show and visual effects were perfectly designed and timed for the music. I saw The Cure about twenty-four years ago and can say that, I think this show was quite a bit longer and just as good. Understandably, Robert seemed to be having some trouble singing near the end of the show, but was amazing when he needed to be. As a long-time fan, who hadn’t listened to The Cure much over the last twenty years, it was incredible how the music, lyrics and memories flooded my brain during the show. I would recommend catching The Cure live, if you were ever a fan, and especially if you have never seen them before, but I would definitely see them again. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!!

The Cure 6/05/16

Set List:

  1. Out Of This World
  2. Pictures Of You
  3. Closedown
  4. High
  5. Lovesong
  6. Just Like Heaven
  7. The Last Day Of Summer
  8. Cold
  9. A Strange Day
  10. A Night Like This
  11. Push
  12. In Between Days
  13. Fascination Street
  14. The Hungry Ghost
  15. 39
  16. Bloodflowers

Encore #1:

  1. It Can Never Be The Same
  2. Want
  3. Shake Dog Shake
  4. Burn

Encore #2:

  1. At Night
  2. M
  3. Play For Today
  4. A Forest

Encore #3: 

  1. Hot Hot Hot!!!!
  2. The Caterpillar
  3. The Walk
  4. Let’s Go To Bed

Encore #4:

  1. Lullaby
  2. Close To Me
  3. Why Can’t I Be You?
  4. Boys Don’t Cry

 

TURKUAZ AND THE NTH POWER PUT SOME SOUL IN THEIR FUNK AT HODI’S!!

Fresh off of shows in Denver and Boulder, the funky-soul double bill of Turkuaz and Nth Power were set for a Saturday night show in Fort Collins, to conclude their run along the Front Range. We arrived early enough, to catch the entire set from soulful jazz-rockers Nth Power.

As the band took the stage, it was obvious that percussionist, Weedie, was not present, which was unfortunate because the layers that he can add to the Nth Power’s music are mesmerizing. However, the four-piece that had made it to Hodi’s, put on a solid performance with Nick Cassarino delivering both incredible guitar work and searing vocals on tunes that ranged from jazzy-gospel to funky blues and several more styles throughout. Two of the stand-outs were the spiritually uplifting “Only Love” and “Right Now” with its 80’s style groove. Besides Nick’s contributions, founder Nikki Glaspie held down the beat and Nate Edgar brought the thump. Recent addition, keyboardist Courtney Smith added tremendously with his fingers, as well as with his voice. Another highlight of their set, was when the band brought up local guitar prodigy, Jaden Carlson, for a stellar guitar duel with Cassarino. Nth Power finished up their energetic set with the soulful “Only You”, that was filled with a rockin’ jam.

Turkuaz went on around 11 p.m. and they started their set off with a couple of funky numbers. The modern funk with an 80’s twist on “Lookin’ Tough, Feelin’ Good” got the crowd moving frantically. Sammi Garett took the lead for the soulful swagger of “Tiptoe Through The Crypto”. One of the highlights of the night was when the nine-piece, took on the 70’s disco-soul sounds of “Chatte Lunatique”, that included French lyrics and a version of Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Coming”. ¬†With a classic soul vibe and some fiery blues guitar, “It’s So Hard” showed-off the vocal talents of saxophonist, Josh Schwartz. The band brought up a solid guitarist for the funky-feel of “Bubba Slide”. Throughout the set, Turkuaz incorporated 80’s funk, soul, rock and jam into their driving dance grooves. The band doubled-up on the funk with amazing takes of “Generator” and “The Mountain”. The group slid back into classic soul on the highly danceable “Snap Your Fingers”. Although I am a huge fan of The Band, I had never heard a more infectious, immaculately performed version of “The Shape I’m In”. Turkuaz concluded their spectacular set with their Bowie-ish “Coast To Coast”.

Both Turkuaz and Nth Power contributed remarkable music to a wonderful night at Hodi’s Half Note, in Fort Collins. Though they have left Colorado for the moment, there is no doubt that both bands will be back in our gorgeous state, sooner than later. With the positive vibes and skill of the Nth Power, they are the perfect band to fill you with love and happiness. Tukuaz is a group that utilizes four different vocalists to span several genres with extreme effortlessness. Their sound builds from the ground floor up, with a solid foundation in the basics of funk, becoming so many other things during its construction. I emphatically recommend seeing both of these bands whenever you have the opportunity, but if you have the chance to catch them together, then you have seriously gotten lucky and better seize it, when it presents itself. That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!!

THE JOHN KADLECIK BAND BEGINS COLORADO RUN WITH AN EAR-BURNER AT HODI’S HALF NOTE!!

Last night was the first of three nights that the John Kadlecik Band are playing in our damp state. Originally the show was slated to have an opening set by Whiskey Tango, but when I arrived to Hodi’s around 9:45 p.m., I found out that there was no opener and that John K. and company had already been on stage for a song or two. They were near the end of ¬†the Jerry Garcia staple “They Love Each Other” which sounded remarkable. I found out that they had opened with the Motown classic “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”. The quartet pulled-off “Sister Smile” from one of John’s earliest projects called Hairball Willie. It was excellent with some country-Dead flavor for that southwestern kick. The sweet keywork and tasty guitar, made “Lazy River Road” a hammock of amazing memories. One of the show’s highlights was when bassist, Klyph Black took lead vocals on a stunning rendition of Jefferson Airplane’s “Good Shepherd”, which provided some impressive organ and stellar guitar by John. They delved into John’s more than a decade old project called The Mix with the electric-folk feel of “Upon The Lowland Sea”. Then John went back in his repertoire from a couple of decades ago, with the Dead-Phish, early 90’s island jam feel of “Seen Love”. A rousing but unsurprising version of The Grateful Dead’s “Deal” ended the spectacular first set.

After about a half an hour set break, the band wasted no time getting into the second set with a slower “Shakedown Street”, that soon built to a huge jam. The foursome put an excellent reggae groove on Van Morrison’s “It Stoned Me”. The group played a song I didn’t know, followed by the Garcia-Hunter flavor of “It’s Alright”, which was full of a killer “Dark Star” jam. Kadlecik’s take on “Don’t Let Go” was still a psychedelic vehicle, but was much shorter than many versions that I have heard. That was followed by a groovy version of Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs To Me”, including some steel guitar sounds, to drive the Americana vibe, home. John invoked the spirit of Garcia on a wonderful “I’ll Take A Melody”, which was followed by an explosive “I Know You Rider”, with the keyboardist, taking a verse, on the vintage tune. Though John had thanked the crowd and the stage had gone dark, the band didn’t leave the stage before breaking into another Dylan number, “When I Paint My Masterpiece”, that had a little taste of dreamy mandolin to it. The guys left the stage, but returned, to a loud stationary crowd, seemingly surprised that we wanted more. After a minute to discuss, the quartet ended the night in phenomenal fashion with an extremely danceable, “After Midnight”, that ended up stretching the show to about three hours of music.

I have been seeing and hearing John Kadlecik for about twenty years, and have never ceased to be awed by his guitar skill, as well as his vocal similarity to Jerry Garcia. The John Kadlecik Band is no exception. Between the originals and several live staples from both Jerry Garcia’s and the Grateful Dead’s repertoire, the music kept everyone on their toes with a loyalty to the legacy of the greats, while adding adventurous explorations to the mix. Besides his extraordinary playing, John really put his vocal prowess on full display, last night. With two more shows left in Colorado, I have to highly recommend that anyone who loves the styles of music that make the jam scene so incredible, either check-out the John Kadlecik Band at the Oriental Theatre in Denver, tonight, or tomorrow night at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. JKB may not be a straight-up Dead tribute band, but there is no denying the amazing music that pours in rivers from these exceptional musicians.

SET I: How Sweet It Is, They Love Each Other, Sister Smile, Lazy River Road, Good Shepherd, Upon The Lowland Sea, Seen Love, Deal

SET II: Shakedown Street, And It Stoned Me, ? , It’s Alright*, Don’t Let Go, She Belongs To Me, I’ll Take A Melody, I Know You Rider, When I Paint My Masterpiece

ENCORE: After Midnight

That’s What I Know, So That’s What You Know!!

FOCOMX 8 COMES TO A CLOSE!!

Over the last two days, well over 200 musicians, DJs and comedians performed in the downtown area of Fort Collins. These performances took place at bars, restaurants, the Fort Collins Museum Of Discovery and even an independent movie theatre. The Fort Collins Music Experiment is an excellent concept, that is catered to accommodate fans of most styles of music, with the hope that people will discover a band or genre that they weren’t previously familiar with. It is also a terrific event for a date night or small group outing. For the bands, it is a wonderful opportunity to reach fans that you may not normally play for.

On Friday, my plans changed, so the only band I saw for any¬† length of time was Malai Llama at the Aggie. The youtube video I had seen of the band, lead me to believe they were an instrumental¬†jamtronica outfit, but that wasn’t exactly the case. The band incorporates a sound that is more like Umphrey’s McGee or Trey Anastasio Band, into a rock base. One of their songs included a sweet blues jam, while others went more funky. The quartet’s sound is not necessarily jamtronica and certainly isn’t all instrumental, but the music they play is pretty damn good!!

Yesterday, I started the festivities early, with The Aggregates at Avogadro’s Number. I walked in to hear the quintet in the middle of a latin-flavored jam and it sounded tight. Then they went soul-funk with the guitarist on vocals. The funk continued in various forms, being coupled with a Bill Withers’ style of soul blues and even utilizing the flute on a couple of tunes. The band nicely pulled-off The Greyboy Allstars “Turnip’s Big Move”. The last tune of the set, was a stretched-out number that melded jazz and funk effortlessly, and gave me chills near its end.

I headed over to The Boot to catch the jams of Wooleye for my next stop. I haven’t seen these guys for years, and am not sure how many of the members were in the band then, but what I remembered and what I saw on-line made me believe that they were worth checking out, especially since I was already in the neighborhood. The jam I walked into, reminded me of something from the Grateful Dead. The quintet consists of drums, bass, two guitars, and keys with the guitarists trading-off on vocals. The set was full of originals that had a lot of similarities to the New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Robert Hunter, but the songs seemed to require more of the singers than they seemed able to consistently maintain. The extraordinary playing was joined by strong vocals on the set-closing Grateful Dead cover of “Deal”.

Because the weather was looking ominous, I stopped back at Avogadro’s Number and caught the fairly traditional bluegrass act, Nice Hat, Mister, which coincidentally has a member that does have a rather nice hat. The quintet utilizes upright bass, two acoustic guitars, fiddle and mandolin to make some outstanding high country music. They went from covers of younger artists like The Infamous Stringdusters, to bluegrass staples like “Old Dangerfield” followed by an original. All of the playing and singing was quite impressive, but the biggest surprise¬†was when I found¬†out that the mandolin player is only fifteen and has even written some music for the band. They played an instrumental by young Eli Slocum and it was excellent. Nice Hat, Mister closed with a rousing version of “Sitting On Top Of The World”, along with some glorious harmonies.

I took a break and then arrived at Washington’s, around 8 p.m., to catch the Dead Jam House Band, that usually plays at Avogadro’s Number, once a month. I had only seen them one other time and that was last year, as part of FOCOMX 7, but was looking forward to their set. I showed-up as they were finishing a tune that had a lot of Phish overtones, but it turned-out to be their first original. Then they played the Jerry Garcia Band number, “Cats Under The Stars”, which was superb. The sextet announced that half of the band was new, which included the bassist, drummer and keyboardist, before they started the next tune. Unfortunately, the next song was “What’s Up?”, by 4 Non Blondes, which was never played by Jerry or the Grateful Dead, but despite my aversion to the song, the female vocalist did an exceptional job on it. This was followed by a soulful tune that found the keyboardist on lead vocals for a pretty commanding performance. Then their was talk that the we were going to get a treat, which turned-out to be a cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. To be fair, no-one really can do justice to a Queen cover, but the lead vocals were really strained and shakey, so I had to do the only thing I could, leave.¬†That ended my time at FOCOMX 8.

Though I didn’t really get my money’s worth this year, which was my fault, I did find a couple acts that I will be more likely to try and catch in the future, and will certainly recommend to others. I highly suggest checking-out the funk blend that The Aggregates are making and the traditional bluegrass stylings of Nice Hat, Mister. That’s it until next year!! Hope You Had A Wonderful FOCOMX 8!! That’s What I Know, So That’s What I Know!!