You would only know if you “know”: the unheard-of band “tetoM” booked at the Wolf Tongue Brewery in tiny Nederland, Colorado was an unannounced show for local greats The Motet. This simple backwards spelling was obvious to the die-hard fans who packed the house for the 4/20 holiday ready to kick it old-school style with the band that is rapidly gaining the support of fans all over.
The Wolf Tongue is a small brewpub-turned-venue that operates without any PA system. Until their soundcheck, the band had planned on playing without any amplified vocals but added one mic at the last moment. Taking the stage at 10:30, the band launched into a driving groove, clearly at home in their element and surrounded by friends and long-time fans. The entire dance floor was a flurry of excited dancers erupting in hoots and hollers at each change and reprise.
Band members moved easily around the cramped stage area grabbing various percussion instruments to drive the beat. Vocals were conducted virtually without amplification, led by Jans Ingber. The crowd enthusiastically participated, shouting out lyrics to the well-known tunes and clapping along when prompted by the musicians. The intimate venue allowed the band to enjoy themselves in close contact with their fans and contributed to a circular flow of energy that kept everyone grooving to the beat throughout the nite.
Rock solid jams gave way to funky interludes and deep beats. At times, the music would flowingly be reduced to just Dave Watts on Drums and Scott Messersmith on Percussion, soon to be picked up by Matt Spence’s hoppin’ bass or Steve Vidaic’s electric keys. The first set lasted ‘til 12:15. It was announced that 4/20 “donations” would be accepted on the back porch during setbreak.
The band re-took the stage at 12:50 and continued to lay down the righteous grooves. The afro-cuban roots of The Motet were clearly evident and were embellished by a bit of rapping, courtesy of Jans. This rarely-seen element was testament to the obvious comfort the band felt with the crowd. The musicians were relaxed and happy, trading licks and solos with ease.
After an hour-long second set, the band announced their last song of the nite and faded away with Dave Watts’ delicate touch on the drums. Not surprisingly, the crowd wanted more and, just when it seemed that the music was over, the band started up with one last tune. Totally acoustic, they played right up until the 2:00am curfew and graciously thanked the crowd. As the music faded, band members mixed with crowd members and the Wolf Tongue soon took the appearance of a local bar at closing time: Friends embracing and saying their goodbyes after a great nite of down-home groove.
Read the review of Thursday night's show at the Fox Theater.
JamBase Boulder Correspondent
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