Continuing The Ever-Growing Groove
By Bridget Pleines
On September 7, 2001 I was once again mesmerized by the sounds of The Motet, Boulder, CO's (and, possibly the nations) most inventive and ingenious bands. They call their brand of music "Electric Americubafrican Groove" and it is just that. Although it touches on the American sounds of New Orleans funk and jazz, it also takes you to a different culture, the cultures of Cuban and African percussion. This band genuinely blows me away every time that I see them.
The Motet currently consists of Dave Watts on drums, Scott Messersmith on percussion, Jans Ingber on lead vocals and percussion, Michael Tiernan on guitar, Matthew Spencer on bass, and Greg Raymond on keyboards. But on the bands first song, "Aqulle Esquina," the entire band came out playing all kinds of percussion instruments, making it impossible for anyone to sit down. Besides the overall sound of the Motet, their ability to all break out in a percussion jam is something that makes them unique and a musical
force to be reckoned with. From that they flow into the jam of "Diena Na Farawe" an African influenced song with Jans Ingber's soulful voice leading the tribe.
An exceptional aspect of The Motet is their strong rhythm sections.
While most bands are lead by guitar or keys, The Motet is lead by percussion and rhythm. September 7 was no exception to this phenomenon. Dave Watts sat behind the kit leading the band into all their percussive journeys, while Scott Messersmith rounded Watts out on all kinds of percussion instruments.
This is not to say that the rest of the band is not exceptional.
Bringing the jam of a jamband and the soul of blues out of the guitar is Michael Tiernan. His guitar playing always has a unique blend of jazz riffs, Cuban rhythms, and blues heart. A newer member to The Motet family is Greg Raymond on keyboards. I was impressed by his playing, with speedy licks and soulful fillers; Greg is a welcome addition to the family. Sadly this show was the last for Matthew Spenser who will be leaving the band to pursue other ventures. His bass playing is always intuitive and driving to a
band that seldom needs driving.
Adding to the ambiance of the show was their exceptional surroundings. They were featured at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO, one of Colorado's most historic theatres complete with huge wall murals and an incredible balcony. The Motet has played here often and seems at home on its stage. The stage was decked out with greenery, wall tapestries and a huge hanging behind the band, making the show pretty on your eyes. The sound of the room was exceptional as always, with no interruptions and clearly harmonic balances. Everything was perfect at this show.
It's hard to review a Motet show because you are so drawn into the
music that you leave a shown blown away and wondering what just happened to you. Everyone I talked to after the show had the same feeling. In a world where many musicians just follow the norm and don't branch out and do anything inventive, The Motet is a fresh breath of air. You will not ever hear anything the likes of The Motet, so check it out.