Eufórquestra with The Cycles & The Maytags, the Aggie Theater, Fort Collins, CO- 11/12
Eufórquestra continues to be one of the most impressive, tightly focused funk bands touring today. The detail that they may still be flying under your radar is not completely surprising. They lack the star power of Lettuce or the business-savvy of Vulfpeck, but what they be wanting in clever marketing they more than make up with impeccable musicianship. Founding member Mike Tallman’s undeniable talents on the guitar are the hallmark of every performance. The rotating cast of characters that join the band at various stops only adds to the excitement. Former Polyphonic Spree trumpeter Matt Bricker is now a touring member, but even players who have relinquished their fulltime status can’t stay away. Eufórquestra founders Matt Grundstad on percussion and Ryan Jeter on saxophone joined the band in their adopted hometown of Fort Collins. The lineup was filled out with Jeff Porter also on percussion and the legendary Kim Dawson from the Pimps of Joytime sitting in on vocals. This 10-piece powerhouse delighted fans with a two-hour-plus set of funky tunes, but first to take the stage were The Maytags.
Hailing from Des Moines, Iowa The Maytags are a funky, nostalgic yet fresh approach to soul-filled rock-and-roll. Fans who made it early caught this tight up and coming group focused on sweet riffs and buttery harmonies. Lead by crooner Dustin Smith The Maytags have a unique but utterly approachable sound. Their latest release Love Lines deals with the heartache of a breakup distilled through the funky breaks and straightforward lyrics of Smith. Given the popularity of groups like Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats and Fitz and The Tantrums there is a real market for acts that harken back to a bygone era. The Maytags definitely fall into that realm.
The middle slot was filled by local jam power trio The Cycles. This young and energetic group dabbled in a wide range of sounds and styles. They opened with the slaphappy bass jam “Get Out of Your Head.” They focused on a wide range of newer material which maintained the polish of their earlier recordings. They are an ever-evolving group bringing new sounds to the stage as they continue to hone their style. Their set lasted about an hour and featured some incredible synchronicity from all three members. Highlights included originals “Boom Baby” and the monstrous set-closing “Hang It Up on The Wall.”
Given the stacked lineup Eufórquestra opted for a chunky set rather than to break it up. The full band came to the stage sans Kim Dawson who would join later. They started dirty with the “Stank Funk.”
Set 1: Stank Funk, Solutions Dub> Cause A Reaction, 64-18, Melody Truck, Higher, Black Pearl> TCB or TYA, Road Funk, Take Me Dancing, Fire, Don’t Boom Boom, Obatala, Alphabet, Colorado Kicked, Built To Last, Soup> Erpine> Soup, Dr. Standby
Encore: Instant Coffee> Whole Lotta Love
Eufórquestra broke it down on the remix “Solutions Dub” before Austin Zalatel came to the microphone. He gave an impassioned speech about the recent election and the need for real and sustainable change, the band followed him up with an appropriate “Cause A Reaction.” They continued with a pair of classics in the form of “64-18” and a sublime “Melody Truck.” It seems the more the merrier with Eufórquestra. Having nine talented musicians playing together that know each other so well, meant we all we witness to some top-notch improvisation. The three-headed hydra of Grundsta¬¬¬¬¬¬d, Babineau, and Porter playing percussion together provided these songs with a deeper, at times heavier tone. Otis Lande gave us an unbelievable bass solo during “Back Pearl” that worked as a walkup for Ms. Dawson. The band blasted off on an inspired rendition of Bobby Patterson’s “TCY or TYA” with Dawson lending her powerful vocals to the mix. Fans were treated to a few more showstoppers from Dawson including “Take Me Dancing” and an incredible cover of Lillian Hale’s “Don’t Boom Boom.” Eufórquestra delivered some genuine Afrobeat with “Obatala” before Matt Wright dazzled us from the keys on a fiery “Built To Last.” The “Soup” sandwich was another highlight of a solid show. The horns took us home on a freakishly tight “Dr. Standby” to close.
The “Instant Coffee” into the Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” sung by Dawson was a jolt to the system again affirming Eufórquestra’s place at the top of funkdom. This group just does not disappoint. They bring an intensity and passion for each live performance that is simply rare in today’s scene. Eufórquestra is a positive force in these dark times. Go check them out the next time they float by your town.