Summer festivals provide opportunities for musicians to meet their peers, which leads to friendships, collaborations and tours. Dave Watts of the Motet was impressed with the Reno band Jelly Bread during last summer’s Guitarfish Music Festival and this week the two bands begin a short tour.
“I went out of my way to get them on this (Tahoe) gig and some other gigs,” said Dave Watts, who started the Motet in the late 1990s. “They have great players and they are right up our alley with the kind of funk they throw down. It’s going to be a perfect pairing.”
Watts at Guitarfish said he put a chair behind the stage to watch Jelly Bread’s set, focusing on a fellow drummer. “I watched Cliff Porter just crush it,” he said.
Jelly Bread opens for the Motet Friday in the Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room. Jelly Bread and Friends also headlines Crystal Bay’s Locals Last Waltz Nov. 30, and on Dec. 8 for the second time in two years open for the super group Dragon Smoke.
Watts was as effusive about the Crown Room as he was for Jelly Bread.
“People in Tahoe are really spoiled having that room right there,” he said. “It’s just one of the best rooms in the country.”
The Motet has had myriad sounds and lineups. Watts and Jans Ingber are the remaining original members in the nine-piece. The constant has been complex percussion-led arrangements flavored with electronics, which has evolved since the band’s inception.
“Back then it was a totally laborious effort to get the gear together and get just a little bit of sample time in,” Watts said. “Now since Ableton (software) and laptops have become so affordable and prevalent, anything’s possible with adding electronic music to your live sound.”
While drummers were the first to be replaced by new technology, they are getting “a little payback” now,” Watts said.
“I am amazed how many of these EDM groups are bringing drummers along with them to add to the live experience,” he said. “You see so much focus on the lights because there’s nothing much to look at when you’ve just got a guy up there pushing buttons. For us, we want people to realize, and not forget, really, the experience of a band playing music together and improvising without any preprogrammed, prewritten, prerecorded material coming out of the speakers.”
The Motet is in the mixing process for its seventh studio album which will be released early next year.
“We have a big (CD release) show that we are going to announce after Halloween,” Watts said. “I can’t quite tell you that yet but it will all unfold in a couple of weeks here.”
Contrasting from previous albums, the next by the Motet will be a “group effort,” with everybody contributing to the writing of all-original material. “It’s focused on songs and more funk grooves and production as opposed to different styles that we’ve put on records in the past.”
The Boulder Colo.-based band has learned to “tour smarter and not harder.”
“This winter we will tour in Mexico with the String Cheese Incident and play the Gem and Jam Festival in Arizona and get out to Southern California for the first time in quite a while as well.
“We used to do more Colorado touring in the winter and I’ve seen my share of avalanches and blizzards. We don’t need to do that anymore, so I’m happy to get a gig down in Mexico when it comes up in February.”
Opener: Jelly Bread
After-party: Thick Newton
When: 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25
Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room
Tickets: $15 in advance or $18 on the day of the show