It is past midnight already, but procrastinating this post any longer won’t work this week. Tomorrow is the first day of Fort Collins’ biggest annual music festival, New West Fest, and this year I am a volunteer, manning one of the information booths for several hours each day. Thus, if I put off writing about yesterday’s concert any longer, I’ll be swamped with the music of some portion of the ~90 bands and artists I’ll be exposing my ears to all weekend. No doubt I will have a few hundred new photos to sort through by the end of the weekend, and lots more to write about as well.
Yesterday was the last show of the 2012 Lagoon Concert Series in Fort Collins, and the band for the evening was Funkiphino, pronounced “Funk-if-I-know”. According to a knowledgeable friend of a friend at the show, the people who make up this group are all well educated (several with some sort of music degree, and one who mentioned on stage that he is an alum of CSU from 2008), and very nice. They are also very good at playing music in a rather wide range of styles.
Funkiphino is a 12-piece cover band out of Denver that plays 80’s-90’s pop, soul, funk, R&B, etc. They sport two lady-singers, Valerie Rick and Brittany James, both very good singers who obviously enjoy performing. It is, of course, always so much more fun listening to good music when the musicians are enjoying what they do. At least a few of the members of this ensemble brought their families along to enjoy the show, and I’m sure, watching some of their kids, that there are at least a few great new stage performers among them. This cute little guy was particularly fussy about not being allowed on the stage as the show was setting up. I’m not sure what his instrument of choice will be, but he’s certainly well on his way already towards a bright future in music.
After a summer of dodging the careless feet of countless small children that have been left to run wild at the various summer shows I’ve seen this season, I was impressed at how little the flocks of small children bothered anyone at this show. There were a few near-misses, where giggly girls nearly tripped over various stationary, non-invisible strangers seated nearby, but as soon as the bubble machine was turned on, the kids all seemed drawn by it, like iron filings to a very strong magnet. Maybe next year I should just invest in a bubble machine of my own, a fan with a compartment that holds bubble solution so that when turned on it sprays a continuous stream of bubbles. If I am still blogging about concerts by then (and not broke and homeless, enjoying the great status of my new degree from the comfort of an underpass or neighborhood homeless shelter) a machine that could keep the kids occupied would keep me happier, and maybe result in more and better music blog posts.
Funkiphino’s horn section was actually what caught my eye first, even before the brilliant colors of Brittany and Valerie’s dresses. I am sure I’ve mentioned it before, but in case I haven’t yet- I really, really like hats, and the one Jessica Fischer, the sexy lady trumpet-player in the group, was wearing is one of my favorite types of hats. So, actually, I suppose the hat was what first caught my eye. But soon after, I was pleasantly impressed to see a woman on trumpet. For some reason, most horn players in most groups I’ve encountered are male. When I started trying to learn trombone way back in 4th grade, I encountered pretty much this same lack of female horn players, too. Ms. Fischer not only plays a trumpet, but she looks good doing it. I am sure she inspired a few new horn players among the young girls in the audience, at this concert and at any others where kids were present. I certainly saw a few girls watching her very closely, and while I didn’t ask any of them, I am pretty sure from their expressions that they found her rather inspiring.
Of all the bands this summer, Funkiphino was the one of the ones which inspired the most dancing. Perhaps in part this was because the turnout for the show was bigger- the advertising the city put out for this show seemed more visible than it had been for previous Lagoon Series shows. But it helped that their speakers were not set up so as to blast away your hearing if you were closer to the stage. And, of course, the music was very good, the performers seemed approachable, and there were a few people almost from the very start of the show who were dancing. Whatever the key was to their success, by the time the show came to a close, the area in front of the stage was full of people dancing, and when the band started into a rousing rendition of Fun’s “We Are Young”, there were quite a few people in the audience waving their arms in the air during the chorus. This was the level of audience involvement several of the earlier shows this summer needed and somehow never quite got.
And, with this extra energy, the band wound up on stage for several extra songs before they finally called it a night, ending with another song performed by otherwise guitarist Rob Caviness. I unfortunately put my camera away too soon, and missed what would have been an adorable shot of him performing with the help of one of the band’s munchkins. My brother’s an MC with apparently somewhat of a decent following in Pueblo, now, but if he had a cute little boy on stage to help him, I suspect his fanbase would triple instantly.
So, all in all, this was a really good show to close out a season of great live local music. Funkiphino is a really entertaining group, and well worth seeing if you get the chance. And, their kids will probably be the stars on this stage or one like it in 10-15 years. The gal manning the radio station booth (for Tri-102.5FM) said this was her favorite of all the shows she has been to in this series. The other shows in this series that I saw, Retro and the Indulgers, were both excellent, as well, and if they were not different genres, I’d have a hard time choosing a favorite. (I am still more of a Celtic music fan, though, so the Indulgers win my favorite Lagoon Series show rating this year.) If you’re in Fort Collins next summer, this series seems likely to be a great one next year too. For now, though, it’s time to plug in the battery charger on the camera and get some sleep before the music madness that is New West Fest begins(!).