Wednesday night's show at the Fox Theatre in Boulder was just the change of pace I needed. Just about every other show I've seen this month has been contemporary music, with much of it pushing boundaries by relying on technological advances and computer aids to create new and intriguing sounds. I'm not saying I didn't like seeing any of that, but it was certainly refreshing to catch three bands Wednesday night that incorporate more traditional styles of music, relying on good old musicianship to propel their sound.

Boom Chicken

The first band was the most traditional of the bunch, Boom Chicken, a bluegrass band from Boulder. This four-piece band used the traditional bluegrass stringed acoustic setup; Nick Dunbar, Dustin Grier, Jeff Kazmierski, and Kyle Ussery all on mandolin, banjo, bass, and guitar. They produced a very authentic bluegrass sound by performing traditional songs, covers and their own original Boom Chicken songs. Not only was the instrumentation spot-on, but the band traded off vocal duties to present crisp, clear, and impressively tight harmonies that were a joy to listen to.

Boom Chicken

Boom Chicken performed eight songs that showcased their plucking prowess. They played traditional bluegrass pieces like "Old Slew Foot" as well as any other bluegrass ensemble would. They covered prominent bluegrass musician Tim O'Brien, turning one of his pieces into an enjoyable four-part instrumental. The best part of their performance, however, was their original pieces. Boom Chicken created songs like "The Fowl's Descent", "Sea of Tears" and "Behind The Bar" that sound so authentic they could easily be mistaken for a traditional song from the late 1800s. If you are in the mood for high energy traditional bluegrass, Boom Chicken will deliver.

Jet Edison

Next up was Jet Edison, a Boulder four-piece band that performs a great blend of jazz, blues, rock and funk. Alex Johnson handles the drums, Phil Johnson plays the keyboards, Max Kabat handles the guitar, and Adam Mason holds down the bass. The quartet produces high energy music that is reminiscent of old blues bar bands, performing crowd-pleasing songs that do well to incite dancing. The band consists of very talented musicians, who aren't afraid to showcase their instrumental skill by doing live improvisation. Although they throw in a lot of improv, it is never so abstract or drawn out as to take away from the groove, thus maintaining the identity of each song.

Jet Edison + Euforquestra

Jet Edison performed seven songs that had very strong elements of jazz and blues. Songs like "Tennessee Takedown", "Alaska" and "Gold" managed to combine the energy of blues-laden rock 'n' roll with the technicality of improvised jazz, especially through the keyboard/organ work. "Air Rescue Alliance" showcased the musical skill of each member in the band, keeping the audience engaged and dancing throughout the entire epic 10+ minute song. For their finale, they brought up two members of Euforquestra for assistance; saxophonists Ryan Jeter and Austin Zalatel. They needed that horn power so they could play an awesome cover of Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" to the delight of the crowd. For those looking for great representatives of more traditional jazz and blues based rock, check out Jet Edison.


Finally it was time for the highly anticipated headliners, Euforquestra. This six-piece band used tenor and alto saxophone (Ryan Jeter, Austin Zalatel), electric guitar (Mike Tallman), drums (Adam Grosso), bass (Ben Soltau), keyboards (Matt Wright), and percussion (Matt Grundstad) to create a stunning range of a variety of sounds. Euforquestra is known for their ability to combine world music elements into their music, but Wednesday night they showed that they can pretty much handle any type of music they want.

Matt Grunstad of Euforquestra

The performance started with "Medicine Bow Run", a funk-rock song with a polyrythmic afrobeat base that immediately got the lively Fox Theatre crowd dancing like mad for the entire 10+ minute duration of the song. The song may have been lengthy, but from the dance floor it seemed to be over in an instant because it was just that much fun to listen to. After another lengthy dance fest, Euforquestra showed that they can give their signature treatment to cover songs as well.


Euforquestra transitioned smoothly from their prior afrobeat and reggae inspired songs to hit the crowd with some hard funk. Just in case there was someone still in the building not dancing, Euforquestra unleashed a James Brown cover that guaranteed nobody would be standing still; "Get Up Offa That Thing". From there it was more classic funk, this time from funk extraordinaire Herbie Hancock. Euforquestra kept it going, transitioning between afrobeat and funk-rock for a few more songs to keep people busy on their feet.

Ben Soltau of Euforquesta

As if to make sure everyone could endure the dance fest, Euforquestra slowed the tempo down with some reggae and dub. The intensity of their songs was still sky high, garnering crazy reactions from the crowd, but people transitioned from wild funk dancing to a more manageable and laid back groove. The audience wasn't ready to calm down just yet though, they just used whatever energy they saved from the slower-tempo dancing to loudly sing along to Euforquestra's songs in the most carefree manner I've seen in a long time.

Adam Grosso of Euforquestra

Towards the end of Euforquestra's set, they showcase their ability to meld songs together and show off their improvisation skills. Each instrumentalist had a chance to present their skill-set, and it all came together in lively performances of original songs like "The Events of December 11" and "Soup". But before Euforquestra ended their regular set, they had to sneak in one more cover, a thrilling rendition of Talking Head's "Life During Wartime", complete with the whole band running in place as they played their instruments.

Matt Wright of Euforquestra

By the end of that song, Euforquestra had played for nearly two hours. However, the crowd showed no sign of fatigue, and as the band left the stage, the crowd had enough energy to loudly call Euforquestra back for more. The six members of the band emerged from backstage still looking as energetic as ever, and obliged the crowd with one more song. They ended the night with an encore performance of the upbeat vintage ska inspired song "Feel Together", getting the entire crowd to jump up and down wildly to the beat as Euforquestra thanked the crowd through song. By the end, the exhaustion finally seemed to set in, as the crowd held nothing back for the last song.


Going to a Euforquestra show is not just about going out to hear some good music, it is about immersing yourself into an entire crazy experience. Euforquestra plays with incredible skill and energy that crowds pick up on immediately, and Euforquestra does a commendable job at mixing in a wide variety of musical influences into one coherent concert event. If you are a fan of afrobeat, jazz, funk, rock 'n' roll, reggae, dub, ska, and/or other types of world music, you need to experience the euphoria of a Euforquestra show.

See more pictures from this show in the Facebook photo album. Like the Concerted Effort page and stay updated!

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