Motet drummer and founding member Dave Watts says he plays “music to get lost in.” Nicely matched, State Bridge has the venue to get lost in, and there's no better opportunity than this weekend's Take It To The Bridge festival. Co-headlining are Black Uhuru and See-I featuring members of Thievery Corporation. Supporting the three-day event along the Colorado River are Euforquestra, Nicki Bluhm and the Gamblers, That One Guy and many others. From Boulder, The Motet has been tearing up the national jam scene for 12 years, evolving and helping pioneer the electronic sophistication of that last decade.
“We get into some super heavy funk, electronic, afro-beat stuff for the entire show, from beginning to end,” Watts said. “I love doing the old school '70s funk, but the stuff we get into is a little more deep, heavy trance, heavy horns and psychedelic. It's really great music to get lost in. So it mixes up a lot of different worlds, but it's definitely a dance party.”
Featuring complex compositions written and arranged by Watts, the music tells a story through syncopated rhythms and melodies. As music and technology evolve at an astounding rate, so too has The Motet pioneered their unique sound while continuing to defy categorization. With roots in jazz, Afrobeat, funk, salsa and samba, The Motet keeps its audiences in a dancing frenzy by layering house and techno rhythms into a style that is uniquely its own.
Black Uhuru, one of the most successful second-generation reggae bands, maintained their high quality despite numerous personnel changes in their 40-plus-year history. The first reggae band to win a Grammy award, for their 1983 album “Anthem,” Black Uhuru was “The most dynamic and progressive reggae act of the 1970s and early ‘80s,” according to Reggae: The Rough Guide.
Black Uhuru, whose name comes from the Swahili word meaning “freedom,” was formed in the Waterhouse district of Kingston. After a tumultuous beginning, the band went on to created a sound that made it a match for any reggae ensemble. Their debut album, “Love Crisis,” released in 1977, included the anthemic hit “I Love King Selassie.” Three years later, the album was remixed and released as Black Sounds of Freedom.
For co-headliner See-I, the story begins with two brothers, Rootz and Zeebo, who found their way from college in North Carolina via the Caribbean only to end up in Washington, D.C. It was in the cultural melting pot of the nation's capital that they developed their creative and musical talents.
In the heady days of the late 1980s, the brothers Steele would launch the project that has defined their lives: See-I. They quickly became a fixture of DC's burgeoning reggae scene crossing paths with reggae aficionado Eric Hilton who was determined to include them in his future projects. Hilton was opening the Eighteenth Street Lounge and associated record label, and brought Rootz and Zeebo on board.
Throughout the '90s and into the coming millennium they would go on to record, perform and tour with Thievery Corporation. Then in 2005 Zeebo and Rootz started a regular Wednesday night gig at the Eighteenth Street Lounge that would see them coalescing into one of the greatest live bands the city has ever seen. Slowly gathering momentum, guest musicians and members — from the Thievery Live band and the Chuck Brown band among others — the See-I live band would grow into a nationwide touring phenomenon and is now considered one of America's premier reggae party groups.
Take It To The Bridge schedule
9 p.m. — Dubskin
8 p.m. — Mikey Thunder
10 p.m. — Bedrockk
10:30 p.m. — Euforquestra
11:30 p.m. — Mikey Thunder
Midnight — See-I
2:45 p.m. — Your Babies Dadies
3:45 p.m. — Jaden Carlson Trio
5:15 p.m. — Atomga
6:15 p.m. — The Whales
6:45 p.m. — Nicki Bluhm and the Gamblers
8:15 p.m. — Rally Around the Family (Rage Against the Machine Tribute)
9 p.m. — That One Guy
10:30 p.m. — Mikey Thunder
11 p.m. — Motet
Noon — She Said String Band (Bloodies & Bluegrass set)
3:30 p.m. — DJ Uplifter
4:30 p.m. — Nicki Bluhm and the Gamblers
6 p.m. — Policulture
7 p.m. — Black Uhuru