Local moves up in the world

Oct 082003
Authors: Brooke Harless

Initially playing parties here in Fort Collins, out of the back

of an old pickup with an archaic p.a., members of local band Sweet

Nectar began developing what would become one of the most popular

local Fort Collins hip-hop groups.

The lyrical front men of the band, Gabe Smith aka “Bantar” and

Ben Schrer aka “The Fool” met in high school and began making

music, sharing a common passion of hip-hop and poetry. Smith and

Schrer began playing with members of local bands Listen and 3 Peas

whom they continue to collaborate with for shows. Sweet Nectar and

3 Peas combined to form the Sweet Peas, a group that is a common

facet of the local scene.

In 1999 they met deejay Nicklas Gindler aka “Scratch Kerouc,”

and formed Sweet Nectar. Their style of poetic hip-hop has been

described by some as “cigarettes and metaphors,” defining the

band’s unique sound that abandons attempts to fill their songs with

catchy content and easy verse, chorus rhymes. Instead, the trio

concentrates on enveloping an eclectic sound that encompasses many

musical sounds and contains messages and story-like


“Sweet Nectar is an innovative project at the forefront of the

Fort Collins underground scene, epitomizing the unique synthesis of

hip-hop and funk, which Fort Collins music is progressing towards,”

said James MacDowell, a CSU Psychology graduate and owner of CFS

Productions, which has promoted Sweet Nectar a number of times.

Their first gig at the Boys and Girls Club of Steamboat was the

beginning of what was to become many gigs that have launched them

into local familiarity. Playing local venues such as the Aggie, the

Starlight and Mishawaka amphitheater have given them a vast local

following. They have also been well received in Bozeman, Montana

and Durango.

“I had never been to Durango and it was a great experience that

our music could take us somewhere I had never been. Really, that’s

our goal, for our music to take us places we’ve never been,” Smith


The dynamics of the band are rather close knit and their strong

relationship is reflected in their three-way unity onstage. They

not only have good fan relations, as they are willing to discuss

music with anyone and can be found after performances mingling with

the crowd, but they also have good relationships with their mothers

saying they wouldn’t be where they are without them.

“People are always requesting Sweet Nectar at the music stores

here in Boulder,” said CU Engineering student Jay Price, “I caught

them at the Fox when they opened for Listen and couldn’t get them

out of my head.”

The band described themselves as a live band and said their

stage performances are irreproducible in the studio.

“We consider ourselves to be a live band more then any other

description given to us,” Smith said.

And fans seem to agree.

“I saw them last Friday at the Starlight and the sound was

amazing. I moved up to the front and couldn’t take my eyes off the

band. They were so animated and hot. Their lyrics were incredibly

quick and smooth. I’m a huge fan,” said Liz Zipse, a senior history


The band draws from a plethora of musical influences including

Tom Waits, Poets of Rhythm, Z-Trip, Quannum as well as many jazz

influences such as Charles Mingus, Charley Parker, Miles Davis and

John Coletrane. All contributed to their unrivaled sound. Their

debut album “Sweet Nectar” available at The Finest, features

varying sounds that allow it to make its mark as a serious CD, as

it includes many tone shifts of the energetic lyrical quality to

slower, smooth hip-hop featuring local musician Tom Topel on

trumpet and other purely instrumental songs.


Sweet Nectar will be playing with Lifesavers at the Starlight on

October 25, as well as November 7th with the Sweet Peas ensemble.

Sweet Nectar would also like to accept any challenges at Ping-Pong

or Street Hoops 2 and may be reached at (970) 419-8723.





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