On an otherwise nondescript Thursday night at Shine, local band The 100 Percent made the most of their 45-minute set. Packing in nine soul-soaked original tunes that had the crowd cheering and clapping, often before the song was even complete, the band displayed chops that show they have what it takes to differentiate themselves in the oversaturated Boulder music scene.
Led by front man James Thorpe, who writes all the songs, sings lead vocals and plays guitar, The 100 Percent is a mix of the best aspects of Ben Harper and Jason Mraz, Whereas those other groups would fall mostly into the “pop” music category, The 100 Percent rise above that designation with exceptional musicianship. Their sound is more bluesy and soulful, without the overproduction and glitz that seems to taint those other bands. In short, it just sounds more real.
Thorpe’s songwriting isn’t revelatory, and the lyrics can be somewhat obscure, but they are often relatable and always honest. His high-pitched vocals sounded genuine and heartfelt, and you could tell Thorpe was putting his all into the performance. His guitar work, especially during his solos, was also above-average.
However, this is no one-man show. Thorpe has assembled some seriously talented musicians to bring his songs to life. Ben Reich on the upright bass was incredible, and the band allowed his smooth, effortless bass lines dictate the directions each song took. Greg Bair-Caruso’s drumming was tight throughout, and he even got a chance to throw in a solo on the song “Madness.” Also, sitting in for this particular show was Paul Fowler on the keyboards, who added vocal harmonies and an awesome makeshift mouth-horn solo on the song “Virgil.”
The 100 Percent is a band that has the ability to transcend genres, which is what could help distinguish them. In a town where there are so many groups trying to fit in one category, be it jam, bluegrass, or electronic, it’s refreshing to see one that isn’t so easily defined. While their work may be cut out for them, The 100 Percent has demonstrated they have the ability and musical prowess to really make an impact.