It’s a rarity these days to see so much raw talent on one stage in a single evening. This show was basically a co-headline hometown throwdown with Euforquestra hosting the venerable Robert Walter and his 20th Congress. For good measure they invited one of the fastest rising stars of the Fort Collins music scene, Graham Good & The Painters to open the evening. We definitely had all the ingredients for a night to remember. This mini tour was booked as a three night run with stops at The Fox Theater in Boulder, Cervantes in Denver and closing at The Aggie on Saturday. Despite a relatively weak turnout, all three bands played with an energy and enthusiasm usually reserved for sold out crowds.
Graham Good is a modern day messiah of rock and all things positive at a time when he is desperately needed. He has found himself surrounded ‘The Painters’; six incredible jazz cats who give his songs the backbone they deserve. Mr. Good’s sound is soulful with a punch that is truly unforgettable. They opened with the poppy jam ballad “Music In The Morning” which quickly became a sing-along as early arrivers got to moving. Songs like the irreverently positive “Bullshit” and the downright catchy “Mariah” about a lost love stay with the listener long after the show. In an unexpected twist they treated fans to a cover of Vulfpeck’s “Cory Wong.” They closed their momentous opening set with “Grow.” This band is one to look out for, Graham Good & The Painters are pure fire.
For the two previous shows Euforquestra took the middle slot with Mr. Walter shutting it down. However, at the Aggie I assume because it was their hometown, Euforquestra was given the close. Robert Walter’s 20th Congress is a veritable super group consisting of Simon Lott on drums, Victor Little on bass and local legend Dan Schwindt on guitar. They took us through a slew of original instrumental jazz and funk tunes that ranged from tranquil to explosive. The set itself seemed to build into a musical frenzy with all four artists on stage taking turns wowing the audience. Their version of Burt Bacharach’s “My Little Red Book” which was recorded during his 2nd Lagniappe Session was breathtaking. The 20th Congress took us through a number of tunes off their latest album Spacesuit including “13th Key” and “Emanate.” Walter’s take on the Rastafari hymn “Rivers Of Babylon” transformed the reggae spiritual into a jazzy barnburner. They closed their sturdy set with The Greyboy Allstars classic “Quantico.” Robert Walter has done it all from his seminal work with as a Greyboy to performing as a sideman to Mike Gordon to fronting his own successful band. He is a legend anywhere he plays and it was an honor to see him in such an intimate setting.
Euforquestra continues to offer up a musical oasis full of funky goodness and dance-inducing jams. They are still a bit of a Colorado secret, but through extensive touring over the years they have gained quite the following. The core five members invited longtime friends Kim Dawson to sing and Gabriel Mervine to add his trumpet to the mix. Their ninety minute set showcased the amazing musical prowess assembled onstage. Their version of the Afrobeat classic “Black Pearl” originally recorded by African Music Machine set the mood. Tonight was going to be a funky exploration of soulful sounds and buttery beats. Ms. Dawson emerged from backstage to take the mic on the Bobby Patterson R&B standard “T.C.B. or T.Y.A.” She would remain on stage for the bulk of their show. Fan favorite “Road Funk” made an appearance before they regaled the crowd with a perfect rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop.” Another highlight was their ode to grandma’s “Soup” featuring a superhuman drum solo from Jeff Peterson. They closed their monumental set a version of The Ikettes’ “Just Not Ready For Love,” featuring Kim’s insane pipes. As Euforquestra returned to encore Bluto’s speech from Animal House echoed over the PA before they ripped into the spicy “Giving It All” to end the show. All three bands certainly did ‘give it their all’ and fans who made the trek were rewarded with a mind bending night of music. Each set took on a different vibe and feel, but together it became a melting pot of funk, soul, and jazz.