The Warehouse at FTC in Fairfield, CT was alive with jive on Saturday August 13 with The Motet and special guest Mammal Dap lighting up the stage. The pit was near filled to the back wall with fans and every single person having the time of their lives. It would not have been the party that it was without newly added Motet frontman Lyle Divinsky, amping up the crowd and maintaining an inhuman amount of energy throughout the two set performance.
The opener Mammal Dap was a unique group that brought a big sound to the venue. The four mammals out of Massachusetts combine rock, EDM hip-hop and funk to make a sound that isn’t too avant-garde but was without a doubt an exceptional and intriguing performance.
At the start, there were several people in the front of the stage, most talking amongst themselves, distracted by friends and drinks with people of all ages and attire scattered across the venue. It was an unexpectedly diverse crowd with some kids, 18-year-old at least, wearing tattered Converse shoes, fishnet stockings, band t-shirt and a Hello Kitty backpack. Meanwhile upstairs, several men wearing three piece suits are sipping on mixed drinks talking and laughing with friends.
Most of the crowd’s attention was drawn to the stage when Mammal Dap performed their first song, “I Want To Be Your Friend.” The track had recognizable sounds from all different genres: a hip-hop drum beat from Colin Jambert, rocking guitar riffs from Killian Karlsson, the EDM aspects from the keys and synthesizers played by Zak Cross, and funky grooves from the bass performed by Rhees Williams. Picked apart instrumentally, the sound isn’t all that interesting. The drumming can be a tad bit repetitive and the main riff from the keys can get a little old as well, but take the music as a whole and it can really start to be appreciated. Saturday night was a party, and a party needs some background music. This is not to say the music wasn’t appreciated, and that there weren’t interesting drops and riffs, but picked apart player by player, the music loses its purpose. This is not to say the musicians aren’t talented. There’s a decent amount of improvisation and they mess around with some pretty challenging time signatures, like in their second song of the night, “Starbirth.” The performance is just appreciated better as a whole.
They jammed on for about an hour, accruing more and more attendees from the upper level and really setting the scene for the night. Some other hits from the setlist were ambient still, but tracks like “Lost” had more of a direction to them, unlike “Starbirth” which felt stuck in the same groove at times, although the beats were very grabbing. Nevertheless, it got the room moving and got people excited for the main event, The Motet.
“Good God,” was all anyone could say when the funky bunch hit the stage. They were simply electric, a constant flow of energy and power. And it wouldn’t have been the same show with Divinsky. His passion for the music was just infectious and one couldn’t help but feed off of his energy. He and Garrett Sayers were recently added to The Motet’s line up and fit in seamlessly. Someone naive to the band’s history would have no idea they weren’t the original members.
The group from Colorado defines themselves as having roots from funk, afrobeat, disco, electronic music and soul, while putting a modern jam and improvisational feel to their songs that gets the crowd moving and the party started. Their sound is tight, but very powerful, much like the styles of funk bands in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. These classic groups are what band leader Dave Watts used as inspiration when he first started to toy with the idea of creating a funk band. Their sound is like a mixture between Earth, Wind and Fire and James Brown: tight, funky and moving.