TELLURIDE – The Washington, D.C. electronic scene has offered Telluride some incredible live shows this year with members of Thievery Corporation and Fort Knox Five in varying capacities. Next up from the Capitol City are the unique Latin-infused groove makers, Empresarios. The band claims a global fan base in part due to their mixed repertoire of go-ahead cumbia, reggae/dub and progressive house music.
At the heart of their Tropicaliente sound is a steady affinity for all things funk that is most apparent on their recent Funk The World mixtape for Fort Knox Recordings. Microcosmically speaking, the 47-minute tape is a nonstop onslaught of the band’s most appealing dynamic – utilizing DJs Sonny Cheeba and Sammy Arsam Khosh to seamlessly lay out varied movements that transcend genre identification. At one moment powerful Soul, before settling into dub pockets. Empresarios’ latest studio album, El Sonido Magico, is accompanied by two hefty remix versions that feature the likes of the All Good Funk Alliance and Basement Freaks. Missing the third faction of the District of Columbia funktronic triumvirate making their way to Telluride is not advised.
Empresarios, Thu., Jan. 30, Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, 10 p.m., $5
Juno What Gears Up for Friday Night Lights and Funk at the Moon
Keyboardist Joey Porter of The Motet may be coming off one of the biggest performances with the band last weekend, a 2,700 person CD release party at the Fillmore in Denver. Opening acts Orgone, who tore it down in Telluride the night before, and Snarky Puppy, who flew out to the Grammys the next night to win Best R&B Performance, made it even more of a big deal. Wasting no time celebrating the benchmark event for too long, Porter is now set to run through the Western Slope with his side project, Juno What. The trio, which has a cult following, is a futuristic tribute to the disco funk and electro soul of yesteryear. Equal parts organic and raw synthesizers, Juno What fans seem to appreciate both classic pedigree of vintage vinyl dance cuts and forward thinking bounce anthems.
Porter is joined by drummer Tyrone Hendrix of Stevie Wonder’s touring band and Steve Watkins on bass and additional keys. That is not to say special guests are not an option – they often seem to find themselves sitting in with the band, unannounced. The three-piece will warm up in Durango at the Animas City Theater, and then shoot up to the Fly Me To The Moon Saloon for a Friday night funk party. This is a do not miss show.
Juno What?!, Fri., Jan. 31, Fly Me To The Moon Saloon, 10 p.m., $13/$15
Mad Conductor’s Big Easy Sound Hits Western Slope
Not many emcees in hip-hop come off the release of their first full length album and follow up EP with the decision to transplant to another state in order to spend three years in intensive Kung Fu training. For MC Devlin of Mad Conductor, moving to New Orleans to get his black belt is exactly what he did before returning to his craft with the four song EP “Central America.”
Originally a duo from Pennsylvania, Mad Conductor has fleshed out into a full five piece Big Easy band that backs Devlin’s rap delivery with a multi-faceted genre approach. His style has created a dedicated cult following in the U.S. and Canada that allows the group to tour extensively. The martial artist/lyricist is also known to keep the crowd entertained with daredevil-like antics such as climbing up walls and swinging over the crowd from rafters. The whole Mad Conductor crew will roll through Grand Junction for a rare appearance at Cruiser’s Bar on Friday.
Mad Conductor, Fri., Jan. 31, Cruiser’s Bar, 9:30 p.m.