Summer Camp alums Euforquestra hosted a hometown show at The Aggie in Fort Collins to celebrate the release of their debut live album Let Us In. The night began early with an opening set by Barley Davidson. Barley Davidson is an offshoot of local funk institution The Nu Classics. Focusing on a smoother delivery than their counterpart, Barley Davidson features Walter Hannah on guitar and Eric Imbrosciano on kit with a rotating group of horn players to fill in the gaps. I found them to be a silky way to get the night going. Walter had filled in on keys for Euforquestra a few times before Matt took over, so it was nice to see him spreading his wings with this new project. Besides their jazzy jams they also tossed in a couple of instrumental covers including Tears For Fears’ “Everyone Wants To Rule The World” and Squeeze’s “Tempted By The Fruit Of Another.”
Next on the bill was Papagoya, who also call Fort Collins home. They were a blend of funk, jazz, jam, and reggae, meaning that they were the perfect segue from Barley Davidson to Euforquestra. Lead by Dimitri Zaugg on keys and vocals, they were a glossy brand of funky dub that exuded a solid energy and clean musicianship. Having caught them once previously, I knew they were solid performers, but this time around they brought some potency to their playing. Their hard hitting sound reverberated off the wall of the Aggie. By this point the room was filling up nicely, never reaching full capacity but it was definitely a solid crowd. An interesting mixture of college kids and elder hippies dancing like it may be their last chance. Papagoya ended their set and soon after Euforquestra took the stage.
Opening with one of their classic Afro-Cuban jams “Tramba,” Euforquestra came to play, which was obvious from their first note. Here is their setlist from the show.
SETI: Tramba, Reggaemylitis, MOMO, Road Funk, Sea Miner> Pure> Excuse O, Going Over That Waterfall> Tipsy> What A Day, Cause A Reaction> She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Elegua, Price Is Right, Soup
ENCORE: Late In The Evening> Feel Together> Glide> Feel Together
Euforquestra is a dance-fueled machine; they symbolize a road tested funk outfit of epic proportions. From the time they took the stage the temperature steadily rose until it reached the liquefy point. Ripping into the Peter Tosh classic “Reggaemylitis” was an early highlight, in a show literally chocked full of them. “Road Funk,” which features Matt Wright on vocals shows a different side of this constantly evolving group. Being the newest member of a band can be challenging. However with every change Euforquestra seems to search out and take advantage of the talents of that person in the best way possible. Wright has a higher pitch and a brighter tone to his singing that meshes incredibly well on this song.
“It’s an oldie where I come from.” –Mike Tallman
“Sea Miner” is to Euforquestra as “YEM” is to Phish, it is their instrumental opus that never ceases to wow an audience. It was the beginning of a massive jam that included a stops on “Pure” and “Excuse O.” Tallman’s guitar work was on point all night, he is most definitely one of the most underrated guitar players on The Front Range. They dedicated “Going Over That Waterfall” to Earl Scruggs, and took it to its jazziest point with both Jeter and Zalatel taking turns blowing it up on the horns. Euforquestra transitioned skillfully into the polka-esque “Tipsy,” before busting out the Talking Heads classic “What A Day.” They pulled out a couple of tracks off of Let Us In with “Cause A Reaction” into The Beatles’ “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window.” The segue between these tunes is tight, like a well-planned kick to the face. They pulled out “Elegua,” which is a track off their Explorations In Afrobeat album. It’s enjoyable to see them sticking to their roots, and while this concert looked ahead to the new album, it was full of moments that looked back to what brought Euforquestra to this point. They ripped into one of their newer songs “Price Is Right” before finishing their almost two hour set with a massive “Soup” that stretched to the twelve minute mark and left the crowd gasping for air.
The encore was just spectacular with a version of Paul Simon’s “Late In The Evening,“ that was spot on. They finished up by teasing the audience with “Feel Together” tease before going into Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad’s “Glide,” and then back into “Feel Together.” The band is just firing on all cylinders right now. With around a hundred shows a year Euforquestra continues to push out to new audiences and refine their sound. These hometown shows are a great way to see old friends and watch one of my favorite bands bring the heat. As the sweat-soaked patrons walked out into the cool night air we were left with a feeling of sheer joy, knowing that the boys would soon be back and we could do it all over again.