Powerhouse lineup closes out Free Summer Concert Series season
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Howelsen Hill will end summer on a high note thanks to the musicians set to headline the Free Summer Concert Series final event of the season — the second annual End of Summer Jam.
The mini music festival kicks off at 3:15 p.m. Sunday with performances alternating between two stages at the Howelsen Hill Amphitheater venue. Gates open at 3 p.m.
The free event features a powerhouse lineup with performances by The Motet, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Eric Tessmer and Pandas & People.
3:15 p.m. Pandas & People on the second stage
4 p.m. Eric Tessmer on the main stage
5 p.m. Pandas & People on the second stage
5:30 p.m. Kyle Hollingsworth Band on the main stage
7:30 p.m. The Motet on the main stage
Where: Sunday, Sept. 2, at Howelsen Hill amphitheater
Headlining the jam fest is The Motet, a Boulder-based jazz-funk band that is a well-known staple in the Colorado jam scene. In 1998, drummer Dave Watt founded The Dave Watts Motet in Boulder as a musical collective of rotating musicians, which then evolved into The Motet.
Known for hosting funky dance parties at Red Rocks and stages across the nation, Explore talked to soulful vocalist Lyle Divinsky about the group’s evolution.
Explore Steamboat: Who or what inspired you to start playing music? What about this style of music?
Lyle Divinsky: My father for the most part and my best childhood friends — Dan Boyden (drummer of Sister Sparrow) and Pete Genova. My pops is my favorite singer in the world, and I was lucky enough to grow up listening to him sing and play on and off stages from the day I came into this world.
Like any kid, you rebel and don’t want to be like your parents, even if they’re really cool, so I found different directions like basketball and other sports. But as I got older, music started to really find me.
ES: Do you think the culture and lifestyle of Colorado influences The Motet’s music? How does that show up?
LD: Without a doubt! As a relative newbie to the scene here, it’s plain and clear that the energy in Colorado is electric and just so contagious. Everyone is so eager to tackle life and have a great time while doing it. To play to audiences in this state is to absorb that energy and translate it into what you do, which for us, is funk music.
We bring that love, that knack for adventure and that undeniable energy into every note we play, and we know that love, adventure and energy will be reciprocated tenfold by our Colorado audiences. Plus, the mountains and what feels like unending stunning beautiful are so available and close that getting into them provides you, or anyone, with unmatched inspiration and space for reflection.
ES: How do you guys stay true to yourselves and the music you originally set out to play?
LD: We all come from different musical backgrounds and influences, with the common ground being funk. Because of that, we all bring unique sets of skills and taste to our creative process. As we all blossom as musicians and humans, the lessons and music we learn seeps into each song in different ways.
Being super nerds with incredibly high expectations of us, there is no way any of our decisions will be made hastily or without incredible amounts of forethought.
ES: This band has been ever-evolving since its inception, inviting new members and collaborations with almost every release. What do you think has been the consistent thread that ties the group together through all these changes?
LD: If there’s one constant in the two decades of The Motet, it’s change. As I was mentioning before, our fans provide us with a safe space for continual exploration and that includes the ever-growing Motet family and community. As someone who came in just two and a half years ago, I can attest to the unrelenting support, love and encouragement I felt coming into this band and joining this community.
Change can be difficult, but in this band, it’s inspiring and continually supported. But change isn’t only in the band members. When you listen to our back catalogue, you can hear that we’ve explored so many different genres and vibes. I think the thing that has truly tied this band together over the years is our willingness to create without boundaries, and our fans’ and families’ willingness to go with us while we explore.
ES: Where does the majority of your songwriting inspiration come from? Is that process typically a collaborative effort?
LD: For the most part, we have a bit of a conveyor-belt model of creation. For the latest record, which we just wrapped up the tracking for, one of the members of the rhythm section would bring an instrumental demo to the rest of the rhythm section, and they’d play around with them and create a form they really dug. Then they’d send it to me so I could write the lyrics, melody and background vocals. Then I’d send it to the horns, and they’d put their stamp on it. Then we’d all come together and work and suss it out so it’s in the best possible version of itself. It allows for a lot of really cool collaborative as well as individual creativity that is then fully agreed upon by the whole of the band.
ES: What can the audience expect for the show this next weekend?
LD: An all-out, nonstop, funk-filled dance party. The Steamboat Springs crowd and community gets down with literally everything they’ve got. I have such an incredible connotation with Steamboat, and I can speak for the rest of the band when I say, we are so excited to get back
End of Summer Jam acts
Kyle Hollingsworth, keyboardist with the String Cheese Incident, which coined the term “jam band,” will bring his funky, vintage keyboard lines and electronic synth textures to the Howelsen stage. The Boulder-based musician has garnered a strong following in Steamboat through his own group, The Kyle Hollingsworth Band.
This Austin-based guitarist is an up-and-coming musician not to be missed. Known for creating his own “blues-rock soul-chedelic sound,” Eric Tessmer has been headlining festivals in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Since 2014, Pandas & People has brought their unique sound, a blend of alternative folk and hook-laden songwriting, to national audiences. They recently released the album, “Out to Sea,” and they’ve also been named “Best New Artist” by The Colorado Sound. The group is also a two-time winner of “Best Folk Band in Colorado” in 2016 and “Best Americana Act” in 2017 by Westword Magazine.
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