Carlos Washington and the Amazing Giant People and Waylandsphere
Starlight | Fort Collins, CO | 3.19.03
What a beautiful night of music in Fort Fun. For a Thursday night in a college town, the Starlight was virtually empty for what was to be a fabulous night of funk, improv, and great vibes. We were settled in the front row when the opening band, Waylandsphere, came on to the stage at about 9:30. This young band from Raleigh, North Carolina turned heads right off the bat with its explosive mix of rock, blues, jazz, and funk capped off with some brilliant improv. The band's lineup consists of Tommy Fowler on drums, Dave Tittchener on guitar and vocals, Matt Levine on bass, and Stephen Kostner on keys and vocals. But on this particular night, the fans and myself were given a very special treat as the incredible Cecil Daniels joined them on electric MIDI-Horn. The stage was set and the lights were off, for the few whom showed up early, we were given a great appetizer before the main course of "Giant People."
Waylandsphere came out smoking and did not stop for an hour and a half of some of the best new music to be heard in the Fort for a long time. The Starlight was the perfect venue for this band, with great vibes and even better sound. The owner, Eric, and the sound tech, Nate, really know how to put on the perfect show. The band came out with a fiery version of the great Herbie Hancock tune "Hornets," which blew me out of the water. Between Cecil throwing various electronic notes over the smooth rhythm of Matt and Stephen, it made feel as though the Headhunters were playing right in front of me. The song quickly changed melody as they went into "Noteres" between the great jazz classic, creating a monster funk sandwich. The next combo had everything going for it and you could tell the band was having a great time in the moment. "Halpern > Wanna Be > Halpern," had Cecil all over the funk, soloing left and right with the band not missing a beat behind him. David had a great guitar solo with Cecil dancing around him, enjoying playing with such a tight, young band. "Resolution" produced some great chemistry between Stephen on the Hammond and Cecil on what sounded like a tenor on crack. The final highlight of the set was a great cover of "Corrina," made famous by Phish. Unlike that version, this was much bluesier and included the full whistling jam under Cecil in the end. As they departed the stage, we went back stage to say thanks for an incredible set of fresh music from a band I hope to see many more times.
The stage was now set now for some serious funk as everyone awaited the second act of the evening, Carlos Washington and the Amazing Giant People. This was the first time I had seen them since the "Giving up the Food for the Funk" benefit ran by Chicago's own Silver Wrapper Productions in November of 2000. The band has really grown into a powerhouse of funk, jazz, and R&B since Carlos left KDTU a couple of years ago. With Carlos Washington on trumpet, Jesse Malloy on saxes, Ignacio Arango on bass, and John Staten (KDTU’s new drummer) on drums, this band is a funk virtuoso unlike most in music today. As James Brown played over the loud speaker, the Starlight started to fill up and everyone could sense the aroma of pure funk filling the air.
All that has to be said about the opening of this show is hallelujah! "Payback," the funk classic, was playing over the loud speaker as the band walked out and took the stage. They started teasing it and just went fully into it as the James Brown version went off the loud speaker. This version was a monster jam with all the band members pulling off huge solos, and Carlos pulling off his best JB impersonation on vocals before segueing into "Dirty, Dirty." This version had to be about 20 minutes long and stronger than any version I have heard, including when Carlos was with Karl and they had Fred Wesley on stage with them. The horns were really spectacular all night but when the opening riffs of "Gutbucket" started, we knew this was going to be a really special night. This song, also the title of their newest album, had been on my computer all day at work, so it was a real treat to hear live. Carlos's vocals were just absolutely beautiful all night, perfect with his trumpet playing and Jesse on the tenor sax. The band has really progressed over the last three years and the chemistry between the four members is really great, compared to most funk/R&B bands on the scene.
As the set progressed, the highlights became a lot more evident with each song played. The "Rad Racer > F Funk > Groovebag," was some of the best overall playing I have heard all year. They pulled out all the stops, from all out funk madness to straight up fusion. This had the crowd just eating out the band’s hands all night. The "Superstrut > Recovery" gave the crowd that old-school KDTU vibe of "Fallin > BBQ" or "Family Tree." Carlos has a great overall tone in his voice and can pull off many styles of harmony and grace. The final highlight of the set had to be "Time To Get It," which had everybody dancing around to the funk. With the band intros and final solos, I had to sit down to reflect on what an amazing four hours of bliss that had been blessed to all that been there on that particular event.
For any people new to the scene, please go check out both of these hot acts in your area as soon as you can. I just have to say thank you for teaming up and playing such a wonderful night of music for us in the Fort. Thank you to the Starlight for putting on another fabulous show. But most of all thank you to the bands for putting a smile on our faces in such hard times of uncertainty in a world filled with turmoil. Always remember, to let the music flow and keep positive and life can be really enjoyable and great. Well everyone, thanks for reading, keep the peace, and I'll see you on the flipside. Take care.
JamBase | Colorado
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