[Words by Brent Greene]
[Photos by Chris Monaghan]
One of the most important things to any act featuring live music is the interaction with their audience. The Motet on March 29th at Chicago’s Cubby Bear Wrigleyville did exactly this with a ferocity that I haven’t experienced in a long while. The enthusiasm displayed by the eight members on stage spread like wildfire throughout the crowd as the entire venue was sucked right in to the magical madness of pure funk. With a combination of horns, drums, guitars, keys and vocals, The Motet offers a complete package that explores multiple genres while still establishing a sound that is uniquely their own.
People filled the Cubby Bear wall to wall and it was almost impossible to get up to the stage as bodies were graciously flailing to the rhythm of The Motet. The Colorado based group has been around for quite a while and their sound has evolved with the times in the most fantastic of ways. While still sticking to their true roots of a funk and jazz, The Motet has since incorporated a bit of electronics to their music; not the wobbly womp bass dropping shit that has practically taken over music as we know it, but an electro addition with smooth well thought out synth lines and improvised jams with a housey feel that undeniably gets people moving. It seems as if the music industry across the board has picked up on the idea that there needs to be some sort of electronic aspect thrown in to every track that gets released. As a result, a lot of no talent garage is being produced out there and people are eating it up. Nothing is more frustrating but these are the times and we are unfortunately forced to be living in them.
It’s bands like The Motet that have a true grasp and understanding of how to keep up with the progression of music while still keeping a tight hold on originality. This was shown immensely at Cubby Bear as the band took us on a musical journey through time and gave us a taste of classics like David Bowie’s “Fame” and a teaser of Outkast’s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” which was an absolutely incredible addition to the setlist. All of this while still delivering their signature sound of get down funk made it the perfect party. This was my first Motet show and while having heard albums and soundboard recordings from the band before, the live experience was amazing. The energy was contagious and it was awesome to see such a diverse crowd at a show like this; of course it spanned from the entire wook/hippie/raver crowd but included all types of people, which to me showed the growing popularity of jam and funk music across the board. There was mentioning that this was The Motet’s first Chicago show ever. I could not confirm this for sure, but from listening to the band on stage, I got the feeling that they don’t frequent the Midwest as much as they should. You could tell at times they were surprised, almost in awe, of how involved the audience was and how much we were enjoying their performance. They repeatedly vocalized how enthused they were to the crowd’s participation and enjoyment that lasted from start to finish.
The Motet was one of many acts related to the jam scene to come through Cubby Bear lately and it seems the bar/venue is attracting more of these types of artists to revamp its image and status of a solid venue that will appeal to fans of this type of music; a smart move by Cubby Bear that will hopefully see both profitable results and favorable bands for fans of the scene. In regards to The Motet, if this really was their first time in Chicago, or even just the first time in a while, I wouldn’t be surprised if they came back soon; the turnout for the show was impressive to say the least and many fans in Chicago would be disappointed if they didn’t return for some time.