As a self-proclaimed “hip-hop girl” at heart, I’m most comfortable when I’m walking around campus with the familiar flows of Tupac or Mos Def bumpin’ in my headphones.
So it stands to reason there are two things I do my best to stay far away from: Country music and hippie jam bands.
It’s not that I’m a music snob, but as the king of da’ south puts it – I like my beats down low.
So the last place I would expect to want to spend my precious Saturday night would be at the Boulder-based band, The Motet, concert at the Aggie Theatre, 204 S. College Ave.
Convinced to check out “The Motet Big Band” at the Fort Collins music festival NewWestFest, the extended version of what is normally a six-piece instrumental band this time included a full 10- to 12-piece band with vocalists.
Its sound won me over with the undeniable combination of the singer’s Prince-esque voice and the “fusing of elements of Afro beat, Afro-Cuban, funk, Latin and jazz,” as The Motet describes itself on its Web site, themotet.com.
I was no easy convert, however.
I was surrounded by a crowd of people who, from the looks of it, would commonly be referred to as “trustafarians” or hippies and though I have been known to rock a pair of Crocs with just about any outfit, I felt completely out of place.
They swung their arms, kicked their feet and swiveled their hips in such a carefree nature that I couldn’t help but stand and gawk.
But, before I knew it, I was pulled into the crowd by a random guy and was awkwardly bobbing my head to The Motet’s cover of “When Doves Cry.”
Feeling confident in my rhythm, I threw caution to the wind and joined the fun. I broke out the hippiest version of the shoulder lean I could manage and danced the night away.
Walking away from the stage with a grin on my face like I had just met the love of my life, I confided in a fellow skeptic and hip-hop lover that it was the most fun I had all day.
It was much of the same Saturday, for the launch party/concert for the new Motet CD, “Instrumental Dissent,” though to my dismay, the big band was not performing as they only play the annual Halloween show and a few other special events throughout the year.
“A digital disco dance jungle. That’s what this place is going to be like tonight,” sophomore natural resources recreation and tourism major Michael Gorman said as he danced along to the opening act, 3 Peas.
As I stood leaning against the railing on the upper level of the Aggie, I realized that it was the carefree feeling I felt when I first saw them that brings people from all walks of life out to their shows.
“It’s about having the freedom to express what you want to express,” said junior real estate major Lauren Bleck.
As Motet opened with its first song, in my bird’s eye view of the now-energized crowd I could see just what she meant.
There were bald men, girls with curly blonde hair, kids with long dreadlocks twisted up and off of their already sweaty necks all moving in their own way to the same music.
Skirts with patches all over them flowed to the beats while a single cowboy hat bounced up and down in sync with the fluorescent lights.
Coats and jackets of all different styles that had been worn to protect from the cold winds of the first day of fall were flung on to the front of the stage.
It was almost symbolic of the inhibitions and angst that had clearly been checked at the door of the packed venue.
“It’s no longer about a group consciousness,” said sophomore biological science major Ben Marshall of what’s commonly assumed of “hippie” jam bands. “It’s about being an individual and having a good time.”
And so, with my notepad in my hand and the lyrics to the Eminem song I had heard on the way to the concert still stuck in my head, I made my way through the same crowd I had once judged as too different from my own style to have much in common with and joined my friends in the front row.
Though I still prefer a tight flow to a country drawl any day, the music of The Motet and the audience it draws has convinced me that my apprehension to try a little funk was holding me back from dancing my ass off, as the band’s slogan promotes.
After all, college is all about new experiences, right?
Assistant news editor Marissa Hutton-Gavel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Motet’s next show is on Friday Oct. 6 in Boulder.
The annual Halloween shows, which feature covers of different artists each year, will be
on Oct. 25 at the Abbey Theater in Durango Oct. 27/28 at the Fox Theater in Boulder and Oct. 31 at Cervantes’ in Denver featuring Madonna all night long!
Check them out at themotet.com.