The Motet, Wonder Ballroom, 7/13/13: “This is a Dance Party, A Celebration of Life!
Jul30

The Motet, Wonder Ballroom, 7/13/13: “This is a Dance Party, A Celebration of Life!

Review by Rob Gardner Photos by Alexander Maso Living in Boulder in the early 2000s, I had the chance to see the Motet grace the stage of The Fox and Boulder Theaters on a regular basis. I would usually see a cadre of devoted female fans along the rail, donning their famous “Dance Your Ass Off” t-shirts and grooving to the funk-laden beats of Dave Watts and the rest of the Motet crew. Fast forward ten or so years, and the Motet are still laying down some of the most rhythmically complex and infectiously thick funk grooves in the scene today. After a few previous “Funk is Dead” performances featuring funk interpretations of classic Grateful Dead tunes, the band returned to Portland and their polyrhythmic roots to showcase the sonic diversity that defines the Motet. When they took the stage this past Friday at Portland’s Wonder Ballroom, ringleader and percussionist Jans Ingber greeted the eager crowd and announced, “This is a dance party! I want to see you dance!” And dance, dance, dance we did. From their first notes, the Motet delivered a relentless rhythmic assault that kept the crowd moving and grooving well into the wee hours of the night. While the band and their sound has evolved over time, the show demonstrated their deep roots inspired by a lush infusion of African, Cuban and Latin polyrhythms, improvisational jams, and turn-on-a-dime transitions. As usual, Dave Watts laid down a thick foundation of syncopated beats, Joey Porter delivered his high-energy keyboard funk, Garrett Sayers held up the house with his infectious bass grooves, and Ingber brought it down with his rock solid percussion and inspired vocal soul. Topped with a garnish of some tasty jazz inspired love from the horn section, the Motet was in prime form. Demonstrating their diverse influences, the Motet ventured into rhythm and blues, soul, electronica, afrobeat, and even a few notable covers, including thick funk renditions of David Bowie’s “Changes” and P-Funk’s “One Nation Under a Groove.” Drawing from a new album-in-the-works, the Motet also introduced a variety of new tracks including Porter’s contribution, the silky smooth “A Closed Mouth Don’t Get Fed.” The funk fest also featured a variety of musical guests, including Steve Watkins (Porter’s bandmate from side project Juno What ?!) who stepped in on keys, and Portland’s own Tyrone Hendrix, who took over for Watts and laid down some Jazz-inspired beats on the drums. (Ed. note: Hendrix is also the brand new drummer for Juno What ?! and yes, he is related to Jimi.) Rounding out the guests, Zappa Plays Zappa’s Ben Thomas accompanied Ingber with some incredible vocal acrobatics as...

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Melvin Seals and Cats Under the Stars in Portland on 09/20/13
Jul12

Melvin Seals and Cats Under the Stars in Portland on 09/20/13

Artist: Melvin Seals and Cats Under the Stars Date: Friday, September 20th 2013 Time: 9:00pm Venue: Alhambra Theatre City: Portland , OR Address: 4811 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Venue phone: 503-360-1450 Country: US Age restrictions: No Minors Add to Google Calendar | Download...

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Preview: The Motet at the Wonder Ballroom, Saturday, July 13
Jul12

Preview: The Motet at the Wonder Ballroom, Saturday, July 13

At this point, if you haven’t yet heard of The Motet, you’ve been living under a rock, or at least living far away from civilization. Based in Denver, several of the band members have roots in Portland, so they really seem to enjoy giving our city some major love. The Motet will play some of the best funk you can get anywhere outside of New Orleans, and are to the West Coast funk community what Lettuce is for the Northeast: totally awesome and we’ll tell everyone about ’em. You might remember The Motet from the past couple of years when they toured around with their “Funk is Dead” act, taking classic Grateful Dead tunes and “puttin’ a little booty” in them (this is word-for-word how they described it). What you might not be as familiar with is their own original songs, which will — let’s be honest here — get everyone in the crowd laid. (The Portland Metronome doesn’t make empty promises.) This Saturday, July 13 , The Motet returns to Portland’s Wonder Ballroom, with opening support from Excellent Gentlemen. This show has a good chance of selling out, so we recommend getting your tickets ahead of time! See you all...

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Cascadia Music Festival: One Night of Pure Bliss
Jul12

Cascadia Music Festival: One Night of Pure Bliss

Review by Kara Wilbeck Photos by Alexander Maso   It was a pretty stressful day. From waking up late and rushing to get to work on time, to making sure my boyfriend remembered to pack everything in the car, to convincing my boss to let me leave early, everything that happened that day was frazzling. But as soon as we got on the grounds of Emerald Meadows in Eugene, all the stress disappeared. We drove up the tree-lined road to the inaugural Cascadia Music Festival, and were greeted by cheerful parking attendants. There was no line, no wait, no body cavity search… it was all really easy-going. Having heard that Cascadia wasn’t car camping, we were expecting to lug all our gear to our campsite, sweating and panting by the end of it all. Imagine our delight, then, to find that camping was right next to the parking lot in a wooded grove! No one told us where to go, and we were easily able to set up with all our friends. No hassles, no problems — lots of shade.  Cascadia being a one-night festival, we made sure to get in the venue as quickly as we could. After the Shook Twins opened up the day with their beautiful harmonies and really fun show, funk band Jelly Bread took over and turned the place into a party. Playing mostly crowd-pleasing covers, Jelly Bread gets the job done right. Some highlights of their set included a funked-up version of Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman,” the Motown hit “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” and Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” I love small festivals. It’s so easy to meet everyone around you, and it always feels like everyone there is your friend. The intimacy between the crowd and the musicians is unbeatable, and the venue always feels like home. Another great advantage is the close proximity of the campsites to the stage area! Between every set, we were able to make the short trek back to home base, and cook, enjoy a beverage and goof off until the music started up again. After a bit of a time out, everyone made their way back over to the stage for banjo master Tony Furtado. Man, we are so lucky that we have this guy living in our backyards! He started up his set on guitar, but soon switched to his main instrument, playing some raucous bluegrass jams that left almost no one still sitting. The hula hoops started spinning, and the crowd started to boogie out in the sunshine. Some highlights were a beautiful cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Peggy-O” and a great...

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Dark Star Orchestra in Portland on 10/06/13
Jul11

Dark Star Orchestra in Portland on 10/06/13


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Artist: Dark Star Orchestra Date: Sunday, October 6th 2013 Time: 8:00pm Venue: Crystal Ballroom City: Portland , OR Address: 1332 W. Burnside St. Venue phone: (503) 225-0047 Country: US Age restrictions: All Ages Add to Google Calendar | Download...

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