Michael Menert Brings Out The Big Band at The Fillmore 11/7/14
Michal Menert, a Colorado local, threw it down for his hometown crowd on November 7th of this year at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver. For this show, Menert added an 18 piece band to his set, creating a new dynamic that was so perfect it seemed like it had been a part of his music forever.
Openers Marcelo Moxy, Exmag, and Orchard Lounge took the hype level high before the Big Band took the stage. With fresh, funkadelic soul, Exmag inspired the hip-grooving amongst the crowd, spilling out favorites such as “No Diggity”, “Obviously”, and “Tilt Mode”. Orchard Lounge brought the audience out of its sleepy, groovy trance into an upbeat and energetic state with its futuristic sounds. Once it was finally time for Michal Menert to hit the stage, the crowd was far beyond ready. Filling up the stage with more musicians than ever thought possible for an electronic show, Michal Menert and his Big Band played their hearts out. Two drum sets, three incredible vocalists including Keeplove, a trumpet, keyboard, clavinet, sax, trombone, guitar, bass, violin, cello, flute, and of course some decks made up the 18 piece band. Snug Harbor, a modern funk band hailing from the northwest, made up about half of the entire band, bringing life and soul into the music that Menert works so hard to personify. Also alongside Menert were two long-time musician buddies from the Pretty Lights Label – Mikey Thunder - who killed it on the turntables - and Paul Basic, who never fails to grace a crowd with his talent. Admirably, the PLM crew is always ready to creatively inspire and help each other to continue progressing to new levels.
Menert works hard to support everyone he surrounds himself with – long-time friends, fellow artists, techies, and especially fans - and it is reciprocated ten-fold, evident in the turnout of the audience. Because Michal goes out of his way to attend all his comrades’ shows when possible, the guest list at the Fillmore was full of artists on his circle of friends. Spotted in the crowd were the Krooked Drivers (Maddy O'neal and Donnie Dalbora), Alex Mendellin of Late Night Radio, and Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic. Menert’s music has a way of drawing in an array of people. The majority of the audience was comprised of Menert’s fans, but also fans of Super Best Records, Pretty Lights Music, Sonic Bloom festival-goers, and those who simply opted for a musical date-night.
The music itself was an all-encompassing manifestation of Menert’s soul. The passion in not only his face, but the faces of each of the 18 other people on stage was inspiring. It is fair to say the Band seemed a little unsubtle, maybe a little unpracticed, but was nonetheless fluid, enchanting, and harmonic. Some have said that Menert outdid Pretty Light’s live band, and others say that it was a great idea with impressive possibilities, but perhaps the amount of different sounds going on top of what he was spinning became a little too much – taking away from the majesty of the music. Either way, each member of the Band gave it their all and it definitely showed. Songs such as Happiness (a song Michal introduced as one of his own personal favorites), Your Ghost, and Sweet Remorse were impactful, showcasing the true talent of each individual playing on stage. In the middle of the show, Michal threw a curve ball by stepping out from behind the computer and bringing the microphone with him to spit killer rhymes for three or four minutes. Crowd roaring and sweat dripping from his face, a smiling Michal thanked the audience and returned to dropping his jazzy tracks. To close out the show, Michal and the Big Band threw down the popular track Summer Love, a song that basically summed up the entire performance in one soulful and upbeat tune, giving everyone in the audience a major case of the feels.
In the end, what Michal created through of the show was remarkable. He took his music to its furthest reach, expanded his heart and soul into a live performance and embraced the new possibilities that are now available with live instrumentation. Maybe now he has finally achieved what he was seeking in his 2010 album Dreaming of A Better Life. Fans of his music are already looking forward to the perfection and implementation of the Big Band in all of Michal’s future productions.
Written By: Jaelyn Kohl
Photos By: Hanna Danecker
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