They kept trying to tell me funk is dead, but The Motet proved to a sold-out Boulder Theater that funk is very much alive.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, The Motet is the brilliant idea of drummer Dave Watts to become far more than a cover band. Though they do tour with original music, they have become best known for their Colorado Halloween concerts in which they play solely covers from one selected artist. Past Halloween shows have featured Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Talking Heads, and Earth, Wind and Fire to name a few, and each one has blown the costumed audience away.
It’s really no surprise that everyone was equally stoked about their latest cover set, “Funk Is Dead,” in which they play the music of The Grateful Dead (with that Motet twist that make each show far more than a simple tribute).
With Watt’s funky drumming and Garrett Sayer’s bass lines that are almost overwhelmingly groovy, the crowd was dancing with such fluidity that, until you turned around, it was easy to forget you were at a sold out venue. The band supplied such a high-energy performance with crooning vocals and roaring horns that, despite their rather extensive set, it was apparent that nobody wanted to stop dancing to go home.
And let’s not forget about Yellow Dubmarine, the D.C.-based Beatles cover band that will absolutely blow you away. Offering a perfect reimagining of the Beatles’ music with that fat bass and sweet syncopation that draws so many to the world of dub reggae, these guys got the crowd grooving more than most openers I’ve ever witnessed. There are other bands out there rocking similar ideas (i.e. The Easy Star All Stars’ album Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band), and Yellow Dubmarine put up an amazingly solid set as proof of their worth in the dub ranks.
These bands deserve a special thank you on behalf of musicians, music lovers, and the music itself. They managed to fill an entire evening with music from generations past and brought each song a new life that it had never seen before. They introduced their own modern stylistic take on songs that everybody knows and loves to get every audience member regardless of age, race or gender on their feet and moving around, and that is something that everybody can get behind.