Whether it’s a summer night at the Mishawaka, New Years Eve at Hodi’s, or a headlining slot at the Lagoon Concert Series, Eufórquestra never lets the hometown crowd wait too long for a show. The now annual Fort Funk extravaganza is the Fort Collins, CO local highlight of the year and features a guest or two sitting in with the band. Last year Jennifer Hartswick from Trey Anastasio Band joined Eufórquestra. This time around it was The New Mastersounds’ Eddie Roberts that had the opportunity to share the stage. Prior to the headliner, fans were treated to some seriously talented bands to open the show. First on the docket was Moves At Midnight.
From the ashes of Trichome, Moves at Midnight rises like a funky Phoenix ready to throw down the most epic of dance parties. Lead by Evan Daldegan on guitar and vocals, this quintet is taking a fresh approach to the music that made them a Front Range phenomenon. Blending elements of R&B, Funk, Jazz, Jam, and more, Moves At Midnight appears ready to pick up exactly where they left off with Trichome. Their set at The Aggie was short, but filled with powerfully tight jams as well as some interesting song selections. Before concluding the show, they invited the horn section from TNertle up to collaborate for some final tunes.
TNertle is the latest project to emerge from the minds of Trent Campbell and Kyle Ayervais. Originally formed while they were both studying at the Berklee School of Music, TNertle has evolved from an electro duo into a full-blown funk and hip-hop display complete with a horn section and an MC. This music is a melting pot of electronica, hip-hop, reggae, funk and more. Their performance at the Aggie featured some interesting lyrics from Ray Salazar who MC’d for most of the set. Eventually Moves At Midnight saxophonist Michael Windham sat in as well. They are a product today’s modern music scene. The line between electronic and organically produced music is becoming more and more blurred. Groups like TNertle are seizing the opportunity to bend genres and create the music they want to hear.
Finally, it was time for the main event. Eufórquestra took the stage with two old friends, founding members Matt Grundstad on percussion and Ryan Morris-Jeter on saxophone. The horn section took the spotlight on the set opening “Built To Last.”
Set 1: Built to Last, Higher, Stank Funk, All the Light I Need, Long Drive Home, Soulful Strut, Road Funk, Carrot Juice, That Woman, Black Pearl, Fire, Flood in Franklin Park, Instant Coffee
Encore: Colorado Kicked
Eufórquestra kept it simple early on with straight forward performances of “Higher” and “Stank Funk.” The toned down “All the Light I Need” sung by Austin Zalatel was a nice chill out before the insanity which was to follow. The New Mastersounds’ Eddie Roberts appeared on stage for “Long Drive Home,” which was originally written and performed with his West Coast Sounds band. Fans were delighted to hear a rendition of the classic Young-Holt Unlimited instrumental “Soulful Strut” before things got serious with a nasty “Road Funk.” Eddie took the lead on the NMS favorite “Carrot Juice.” There was some serious back and forth between guitarist Mike Tallman and Eddie Roberts. Both were all smiles as they traded licks throughout the set. Digging deep the band proceeded with a rendition of the African Music Machine’s “Black Pearl.” It was interesting to see Eddie adding his style to classic songs like Eufórquestra’s “Fire.” The Grant Green track “Flood in Franklin Park” was another obvious highlight. They closed with an appropriate “Instant Coffee.” The whole band returned to encore with the recently released “Colorado Kicked.” This evening was more of a happening than a concert. Fort Funk is quickly becoming a “must attend” annual event here in the Choice City. With so much musical offerings in Fort Collins it is becoming more important to stand out in the crowd. Inviting incredible, nationally touring musicians to your hometown is one way to do just that. It also adds something unique to the performance. Rather than the random sit in, this is a melding of styles and a way of innovating through collaboration. Eddie Roberts was the perfect choice for the Fort Funk show. I wonder who they will invite next year? Fishman? Time will tell.