The Funk of Nth Power and The Motet Hits Philly
April 16, 2016 – Theatre Of Living Arts
By Christopher Snyder
South Street was the place to be on Saturday evening (April 16) in Philadelphia. The doors to the Theatre Of Living Arts were open wide, so patrons strolling by could enjoy the evening’s soundcheck. The sign above the venue was illuminated brightly with “Tonight: The Motet & The Nth Power.”
Shortly after 9 PM, soul/funk/groove quintet The Nth Power were greeted onstage to a warm Philadelphia welcome. The quintet grabbed the attention of the audience with their opener, “Holy Rain,” led by Vermont native Nick Cassarino on lead guitarist/vocals. The group was gelling together early on with Nikki Glaspie nestled in the background on the drums, and Nate Edgar throwing in some funky beats on the bass during, “Right Now” and “Wolosodon.” The stage was packed when The Motet brass section (Drew Sayers & Gabe Mervine) along with Joey Porter on keyboards and Lyle Divinsky, joined The Nth Power for a flawless version of “Jupiter.”
Courtney J’Mell Smith, keyboards and harmonizing vocals, gave the quartet a nice, soulful sound. All eyes were glued to percussionist Weedie Braimah as throughout the hour long opening set, he took audience on a journey with his djembe playing. The Nth Power were the perfect way to warm up the crowd for the headliners, The Motet.
Hailing from The Mile High City (Denver), The Motet has been bringing their improve, funk show to audiences since 1998. Wasting no time, the septet got the floor movin’ and groovin’ with the set opener, “Funny Bone,” highlighting Joey Porter on the keyboards and voice box. Guitarist Ryan Jalbert wowed the audience as he delivered a roaring solo during “Keep On Don’t Stoppin.’” The band welcomed, very special guest Camille Who to join them for a upbeat rendition of “Gettin’ To Know You,” that gave lead vocalist Lyle Divinsky a chance to showcase his “pipes.” For all the old school Nintendo fans, the introduction to “Rynodub” was reminiscent of “The Underworld” theme from Mario Brothers. On this deep cut, bassist Garrett Sayers was zeroed in with his smooth bass notes. The dynamic brass duo of Gabe Mervine (trumpet) and Drew Sayers (saxophone), got the crowd energized with their addition to the number. At this point in the night, The Theatre Of Living Arts, was turning into an all out dance party and the band was setting into high gear.
In February, we lost one of the legends in the soul/funk community, the co-founder of Earth Wind & Fire, Maurice White. On Saturday evening, The Motet along with Camille Who paid homage to legend with an marvelous version of the 1977 Billboard chart-topper, “Serpentine Fire.” The R&B tune gave Dave Watts an opportunity to show his skills behind the drum kit with his impeccable timing.
After 2+ hours of pure funk, The Motet along with special guests, The Nth Power, proved that music is art that comes from the soul. The music brought everyone together for an evening that will not soon be forgotten.