Gasparilla Music Festival: The Motet
The Gasparilla Music Festival blew through downtown Tampa October 1-3 with very hot temperatures and even hotter music. It was Sunday, October 3, a day full of great music highlighted by Gov’t Mule, Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel, and The Motet.
Denver jam kings The Motet have been on the scene since 1998 in one form or another, founded by drummer Dave Watts, and their performance on the main stage strung together elements of jazz, soul, funk, jam, Latin, Afrobeat, and so much more in their tight 75-minute set.
The Motet haven’t played in this area in about five years, so this was heavenly, start to finish. They came out throwing funk in huge chunks with “Cretan,” a tune from Totem (2016). Drew Sayers on tenor saxophone took the first shot, followed by Joey Porter, the man with more bounce to the ounce, on synths, which segued into “Speed of Light,” the first of four songs from 2019’s Death or Devotion, featuring Porter on talk box.
We’ve had the pleasure of seeing The Motet numerous times, and this show demonstrated once again that the heart of the band is drummer Watts, who is relentless in his pursuit of the beat. He was joined by compatriot Jason Hann of The String Cheese Incident on percussion, and that is always a magical thing.
After “The Fountain” from their 2014 eponymous release, they tore into one of Watts’ amazing Afrobeat compositions from their 2004 masterpiece Music for Life, “Fearless.” Ryan Jalbert’s clipped guitar work (think Fela Kuti’s music) was incredible, and Garrett Sayers on bass and Hann on all manner of percussion just tore this up. DAMN.
Hold on a minute. Who’s the new guy who’s been standing center stage playing guitar with Jalbert? Porter said something to the effect of, “This is Collin!” That’s how we met Collin Miller, who proceeded to sing “Whacha Gonna Bring” and “Death or Devotion” (both from the 2019 album). There was a spirited “Drumz” with Hann doing his thing, again backed by Watts.
“Head” was more deep funk, this time with Miller’s falsetto vocals, before they romped through “Rynodub.” Drew and Jalbert crushed this one, and all too soon we were at the end. One more: Porter the Clavinet King and Miller singing “Get It Right.”
For damn sure The Motet did!
[THE MOTET: Cretan, Speed of Light, The Fountain, Fearless, Whatcha Gonna Bring, Death or Devotion, Drumz, Head, Rynodub, Get It Right]