With their first show selling out months in advance, The Meter Men decided to add a second night at The Ogden. By many accounts the second night which coincided with Page McConnell’s birthday, was the show to see. We arrived around 8:15 PM grabbed our passes and headed to Sancho’s for some pre-show libations. As we walked we passed Mike from Euforquestra, he let us know they would take the stage sharply at 9PM. After our drink we walked inside the worn walls of The Ogden to get down to Fort Collins’ Finest Euforquestra. Due to a last minute cancellation from the original openers they were asked to fill the bill just a few days prior to the show. They of course obliged and put on a forty-five minute romp of worldly music that was enough to please all of the early arrivers. At first the room was a loosely cobbled together assortment of patrons, but soon the room swelled to its proper size. They began the night with a tight and focused rendition of their now almost classic “Road Funk.” Matt Pitts from The Motet was sitting in for new father Ryan Jeter on sax. He added his own flair to the Euforquestra sound. Highlights from the set included an amazing “Price Is Right” and a jittery “Instant Coffee.” The crowd was complete as they closed the set with Beck’s “Nicotine and Gravy.”
The Meter Men consisting of The Meters sans Art Neville with Page McConnell took the stage shortly after 10 PM. We were immediately hit with their classic “Fire on the Bayou” which saw some searing guitar work from Leo Nocentelli. He would be on point all night, but with a stage filled with such talent by the end I felt like I had whiplash. During “Funkify Your Life” Ziggy Modeliste took the mic and tossed solos to both Porter and Page.
“George Porter taught me all I know about red beans and rice.” – Modiste
Ziggy was in the funk pocket for the entire two hour set and took several opportunities to tell stories and pump up the crowd. Many in the crowd were there for Page, but left as Meters fans. McConnell himself has strayed away from having The Meter Men perform any Phish tunes, but rather wanted the band to relearn some of their deeper cuts. Those early Meters tunes were the stomping grounds of jam for the Vermont quartet. After a massive “Hey Pocky Way,” that became an invigorating sing-along, they finished their set with the much-anticipated “Cissy Strut.” The Meter Men came back for the encore with a massive “Happy Birthday Jam” for Page, which was yet another high point in a great set of music. Reviews from night one seemed mixed at best. Some felt the energy from both band and crowd may have been lacking. I have to say that was not the case for this show. Seeing so much live music I rarely get totally jazzed up after a show. As I headed out into the crisp night air I was all smiles. The Meter Men are a viable project reminiscent of The Big Easy Blowout project that toured the Front Range back in 2006. The difference is that rather than a random assemblage of awesome musicians playing the music or New Orleans, three fourths of The Meter Men made the music of NOLA what it is today. Plus you know… Page. Here’s to hoping they continue to spread the funk for years to come.
St. Patty’s Day, the drinkingest day of the year was also night two of Galactic’s Paddy Gras run at The Ogden in Denver. Galactic made the trek to Summer Camp in 2007, and are on the bill this year as well. When I saw the recent announcement of their inclusion on the lineup I knew I had to cover them here.
I arrived early and witnessed smeared shamrocks on the faces of the bleary-eyed patrons which acted as the unofficial war paint for the evening, as the sea of green filled in for the sold out show. Shirts adorned with leprechauns, cartoon characters, and various shades of emerald were the informal jersey of the dance battle, which I was immediately confronted with upon entering.
DJ Logic was on stage spinning his brand of jazzy funk-infused house music while kids were break dancing on the floor. Logic is an interesting cat; he is known for sitting in with numerous bands from the Blues Traveler front man John Popper in the Popper Logic Project to Widespread Panic. He gained notoriety at the inaugural Bonnaroo by performing with over a dozen artists and filled the role of the DJ at large in a big way. Logic spun for close to an hour keeping fans happy as the show got underway.
Los Angeles-based band The Aggrolites performing their own brand of self-proclaimed “Dirty Reggae” was next on the bill. Elements of rock and soul find their way into the mix. They rely heavily on crowd reaction and develop an energy that is contagious. The few fans that were familiar with The Aggrolites congregated in the front as the band eased into their set. Jesse Wagner blasted out his vocals on the microphone as the audience joined in the vibe. Riff heavy songs shot out the PA like musical bullets. Having no familiarity with the band, I quickly found myself dancing and chanting along with the group. Normally The Aggrolites find themselves playing alongside bands like 311, Flogging Molly, and Social Distortion, but they were a great way to get the night started. They ended their set with a powerful cover of The Beatles “Come Together”.
After a quick stage change Galactic took their places and opened with a funky “Boban”, here is the rest of the setlist.
SET I: Boban, Total Destruction To Your Mind, Heart of Steel, Break In The Road, Balkan Wedding, Manic Depression, Hey Na Na, Night People, Out In The Street, Bittersweet, Ha Di Ka, Shibuya, Funky Bird, Boe Money, From The Corner To The Block, Crazy Horse Mongoose, How Many More Times
ENCORE: Ash Wednesday Sunrise, Goin Down
The driving drums of Stanton Moore immediately took center stage and didn’t leave the spotlight for the rest of the evening. The man is a beast and he shows his prowess with ever hit of the snare. Rebirth Brass Band’s Corey Henry on trombone was a distinctly awesome addition to Galactic’s performance. The back and forth between Henry and Ben Ellman was thrilling. Corey Glover originally of Living Colour fame, took over vocal duties for the show. It was reminiscent of the Galactic days of yore that saw Theyrl Houseman DeClouet on the mic. The instrumental version of Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” was a highlight to be certain. Glover came back to the stage to hit it hard for a run of tunes that made up the meat of the set. The staggering crowd was treated to some classic Galactic funk with “Shibuya” and “Funky Bird” before Moore soloed on the kit for “Boe Money”. They ended the show with a stellar “How Many More Times”. They encored with a sick “Ash Wednesday Sunrise” into “Goin Down”. Galactic brings the heat when they play. They are a funky force to be reckoned with and continue to perform with an energy that is impressive to say the least. They are truly worthy of their place at the top of New Orleans exports and I’m truly looking forward to seeing their set at Summer Camp this year.