‘Feels like the first time’ as The Motet eagerly returns to Red Rocks

The Motet, shown on the Summer Camp Music Festival stage in Chillicothe, Ill., in May, will play Red Rocks on July 5. (Spady Photography / Courtesy photo)
The Motet, shown on the Summer Camp Music Festival stage in Chillicothe, Ill., in May, will play Red Rocks on July 5. (Spady Photography / Courtesy photo)

By Quentin Young

This could be The Motet’s moment.

The popular Boulder band has scored two recent gigs at the Fillmore Auditorium, its brand is gaining fans in markets throughout the country, and its members’ various side projects are getting busier.

And now The Motet is scheduled to perform on July 5 at the venue to beat all Colorado venues: Red Rocks.

The Motet has played the venue before, but it was at least nine years ago (an Internet search indicates The Motet opened for Blues Traveler at Red Rocks in 2004 and 2005), and band leader Dave Watts says he can barely remember it.

But he and the band have been looking forward to playing the iconic venue for a couple of years, he said.

“It feels like the first time,” he said.

The Motet will open the show for Chicago jam band Umphrey’s McGee, and Nashville rock act Moon Taxi is also on the bill.

How do you prepare for a show at one of the most fabled concert venues in America? The Motet is taking the just-be-yourself approach. For past big shows, the band often has invited special guests to perform with them. Not this time.

“We really just want to be in our comfort zone for this show,” Watts said.

Their comfort zone is where a growing number of fans have found their own funked-up, dance-party comfort. The band has enjoyed hip-shaking approval for its horn-enriched grooves in Boston, Florida, Chicago and other markets across the country. But Colorado serves not just as the band’s home base. It’s also the epicenter of its fan base.

“Colorado is a great market … this is our demographic,” Watts said. “The band and the scene has grown together.”

The band’s popularity in its home state has translated, largely through word-of-mouth, to interest elsewhere, he added.

“It’s really blowing up all over the place, and it’s because of Colorado,” he said.

The side projects of individual Motet members are doing their own blowing up locally. Keyboard player Joey Porter’s Vital Organ and bass player Garrett Sayers’ trio, for example, often can be found performing in the Denver area, and Watts believes this can only help The Motet.

“I look at it like rising tides lift all ships,” he said. “We try to promote all our side projects on The Motet (web) page.”

Adding to the band’s momentum was the release in January of its latest studio effort, a self-titled album that reflects the band in an especially collaborative phase. Whereas songwriting previously was largely Watts’ province, all members contributed this go around.

If you miss the Red Rocks show, The Motet is preparing to announce several local dates, including its annual, always memorable, Halloween shows.

Tickets to the Red Rocks show that are purchased through July 1 at the Mountain Sun Pub in Boulder or Vine Street Pub in Denver are a flat $40, and they come with a free pint of beer.

If you go

What: The Motet, with Moon Taxi and headliner Umphrey’s McGee

When: Saturday, July 5

Where: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 W Alameda Parkway, Morrison

Tickets: Starting at $53

Info: ticketmaster.com

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