The Motet | Mt. Tabor Pub | Portland, OR | 7.12.03

The Motet is as groovy as ever, knocking down the walls with its hyper beats and pulsating sound. I caught The Motet recently at the Mt. Tabor Pub in Portland, Oregon. Let’s just say there where, uh... other bands vying for music fans attention that weekend, namely Phish at the Gorge Ampitheater and the Oregon Country Fair in Eugene. Needless to say, the turnout was pretty good and those in attendance got a special treat, they were left literally “dancing their asses” off.

By Tony Stack
Based in Boulder, Colorado, these artists have been steadily rising the ranks of improvisational music. The ensemble consists of two drum kits (Dave Watts and Scott Messersmith on percussion), keyboardist Greg Raymond and Garret Sayers on bass. Take each musician’s incredible talent, other various instruments, and on this evening the saxophonist from the opening band Porterhouse, and you’ve got quite a powerhouse.

The sound is funk, it’s jazz, it’s world beat, and a little soul... call it what you will, you won’t be the first to try to encapsulate their repertoire. One thing is certain: it’s never the same thing twice. The Motet prides itself on being freely creative, dishing up unexpected twists and turns during tunes, one of a kind segues, and unknown directions each time. It’s the true beauty of experimentation, taking improv to a whole new level.

The Motet has been described as evolutionary - never stagnant, constantly changing but always delivering something amazing. And it’s the truth. By the end of the evening, everyone in the whole damn place was on their feet and rocking to the groove, I’ve seen it happen before. The drum sound reverberates and the room changes into a stomp ground, people are dancing like they’ve never danced before. It’s fun to watch and before you know it, you become enveloped yourself.

The Mt. Tabor Pub has been home to many, many artists through the years, and of late it has improved and evolved to accommodate upcoming bands. The large feel of the room and ample dance floor allow people to float freely and get their groove on in a less crowded, packed setting that often comes with smaller venues. The price of a beer won’t put you in the poorhouse either, and that’s always a bonus.

As the Motet continues to tour and wow its audiences, it is sure to remain one of the most unique, hard hitting outfits out there. The band members might change from time to time, but it’s the constant, miracle shows these guys pull off each and every time that brings people coming out for more. The fans become part of the experience, and it’s a form of expression at its finest. I can’t wait to see and do it again.

Deb Weisman
JamBase | Portland, OR
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[Published on: 7/17/03]

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