There are three key fundamental elements to a superior live music experience. The band, the crowd, and the space. Sure, there are factors from the outside like weather, parking, a potential Shakedown Street, and maybe even lame small-town cops. But it’s the first three that bring it all together. Two veteran acts co-billed a doubleheader at San Francisco’s legendary Great American Music Hall last Thursday and Friday.
Seminal groove band The Greyboy Allstars are comprised by some of the most revered players on the modern music scene—saxophonist Karl Denson, guitarist Elgin Park, keyboardist Robert Walter, bassist Chris Stillwell and drummer Aaron Redfield. Fast approaching their 25th year together, 2018 will be the busiest year in quite some time for the quintet.
Jazz seems to be an art for only those who really understand and/or concentrate on music. The Greyboy Allstars have been playing their funked up, improvised, powerful versions of jazz jams for almost as long as the Fox Theatre has been in existence. For two nights, they were celebrating together as part of the Fox Theatre’s 25th anniversary month. And for this celebration, they picked one of the classiest and most talented foursomes to party with.
Conductor Matt Butler is a genius! However he got inspired to come up with this idea of improvisational conducting talented musicians was brilliant. The reason that I say this is because it is very pleasant and beneficial to all parties when musicians are happier than the crowd. Everyone wins! There are only a few inspirational times when that happens. I see it when I am at major festivals and musicians are collaborating, or I see it in super jams such as the Everyone Orchestra.
It was another fun filled weekend of music in Denver, but I chose to be at the funkiest concert in town. This was the second night of this bill, and there were virtually no openers in this show. All three of these musical acts are headliners, which made this show a no brainer for me. I knew this show would be great because I have seen all of these bands several times, but never before like this. This was the best that I have seen all three of these acts perform. There was music at all times even between sets. I love the idea of a constant dance party without a lot of standing around.
Robert Walter's 20th Congress have announced the first leg of U.S. tour dates to support their new album, Get Thy Bearings, available June 25 from The Royal Potato Family. The tour hits Colorado for five nights in August before heading to the West Coast in September for eight shows running from Los Angeles to Seattle.
The veteran cast, all-star group of talent called the Greyboy Allstars is back on the road in support of their newest album entitled, Inland Emperor, which the tour is aptly named after. They started it all off with this two night run at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom, which is one of my favorite indoor venues in Colorado. The opening band was the New Orleans funk powerhouse Dumpstaphunk.
Thanks for waiting to read about the best part of Wakarusa! The best three shows of the festival lay here in the second half of the review. In this section, I want to tell you which bands earned my top three ribbons of the festival. Please keep in mind that I could not possibly see all of the bands that played, although I did try to see most.