WAKE UP AND LIVE at CERVANTES' OTHER SIDE | 2/6/14 Despite the negative temperature, people flocked to Cervantes' Other Side last night to celebrate Bob Marley's birthday with local tribute band Wake Up and Live and to welcome Portland's Quick and Easy Boys to Denver. While it didn't exactly feel like a night in Jamaica with people dancing in their overcoats, it smelled like it, and there was plenty of heat coming from the players on stage.
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Bob Marley would have been 69 on February 6, and he would no doubt be proud of the changes Colorado citizens have made with recreational marijuana laws. The night was hosted by Wake Up and Live, and the seven musicians played both an acoustic and an electric set over the course of the night.
The band first got together to play a show on Bob Marley's birthday last year, and last night showed that this may be a tradition that's sticking around. The all black (with touches of red, gold and green) wearing band kicked things off with "Trenchtown Rock" and had the already excited audience instantly dancing their confident, loose, swaggery steps.
Even in their acoustic set, Wake Up and Live had a very lively and upbeat full sound, and singer-guitarist Dave Halchak's smooth vocals and boisterous showmanship blended beautifully with the lovely backup harmonies from Naomi Ochoa and Phoenix Gayles. Not only did the lovely ladies bring lovely vocals, but their infectious onstage attitudes and synchronized dance moves gave the show an extra polished touch.
Guitarist David Lott stood out throughout the night with a plethora of pedals and tones at his command, as he played effortlessly but with patient purpose. He was a particular highlight in a quick tempo cover on Paul Simon's "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes." Staccato high notes rat-a-tated out to the crowd, while keyboardist Andrew Martin added a bluesy feel to various songs with a mouth piano.
John Hait, meanwhile, dropped bass bombs so loud that drinks vibrated off the stage, causing people to cheer in a celebration of volume. The band blasted through the reggae legend's hits, percussion and everyone just coming together to create some of the most high energy reggae in recent memory.
Rastasaurus also played an acoustic set of reggae originals for the crowd. While the band's shows are often filled with psychedelic swirls of guitar, last night saw lead guitarist Eric Ciccone keeping things pure and tearing up the acoustic guitar, with Jerry Garcia-tinged melody lines and great phrasing. Justus Lacewell's vocals were really on point last night, and sounded extra confident and growly performing above the front row jam-packed with beautiful women.
The Quick and Easy Boys from Portland, Oregon, also delivered an exceptionally tight set. Hard to believe that much sound is coming out of three guys! Mixing garage-soul falsetto vocals with crunchy grooves, hard-hitting drums and a fat bass sound, these guys provided a good face melting set, afterwhich the crowd was all abuzz about seeing the act again on Friday night warming up for the Funky Meters. With songs that blend honky tonk and funk with churning psychedelic guitar-driven jams, the outfit set the bar high for the remainder of the evening.
Personal Bias: While the Quick and Easy Boys seemed like an odd pairing for Bob Marley's birthday, who cares, they were awesome and won everyone over. Random Detail: Rastasaurus was selling seasonal scarves. I love shopping at shows. By the Way: A trashcan fire would have been a nice touch.
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