Over the last decade, they’ve become local performing regulars, playing a couple times a year to packed houses. One is a funk and soul band with Afrobeat origins, the other a string band outfit hitting on bluegrass while exploring whatever they can with classic bluegrass instrumentation. The two bands’ friendship began when funk band Euforquestra played the wedding of a member of Head for the Hills. Both based out of Fort Collins, they run with similar crowds despite playing different styles of music. Both bands, who now annually play at least once a year in Durango, tried to book a show on the same night. Instead of one band bowing out, a double bill was created and two nights with both bands were booked.
Euforquestra and Head for the Hills will perform Friday and Saturday (Dec. 2 and 3) at the Animas City Theatre.
The two bands, which both have records coming out in 2017, play strikingly different genres: Euforquestra is horn and guitar drive funk, Head for the Hills an exploratory bluegrass outfit. But they’re also Colorado festival bands, where one genre can and should give way to another in front of audiences that have come to expect just that. It’s like putting your digital music device on shuffle and having Curtis Mayfield segue into Ralph Stanley. Or in a more perfect world, Frank Sinatra segueing into The Dwarves.
“I think people appreciate a diverse bill like that, and it gives us a chance to come up with some stuff that we’re going to do that will make it a special and unique thing for the weekend,” said Euforquestra guitar player Mike Tallman.
“We’re maybe coming from a similar place in terms of what we’re trying to go about musically, but obviously the expression of it is very, very different,” added Head for the Hills bass player Matt Loewen. “When you have that going on, I think people latch onto that. People get it. That’s what I’m getting at, and that’s what we’re going for.”
This show is ripe for some on-stage collaboration. With 10 musicians between both bands, and the genres they play, it may be safe to assume one member could jump onstage with another band. Both bands are game for some rehearsed or, perhaps, unrehearsed playing. Fans take the risk right alongside them; it’s part of the fun of having these bands that are described one way but make efforts to defy expectations. Maybe the bands worked out a collaboration prior to this weekend’s show. Maybe that music will get worked out tomorrow or Saturday backstage, or maybe they’ll just say “What the hell” and make something up on the spot.
“Its always interesting how sometimes you put a lot of effort into preparing something and it goes well or it doesn’t go so well,” said Loewen. “Sometimes you put no effort into preparing something and it goes really well, or it doesn’t go so well. So I think some of column “A” and sometimes column “B,” and it’s always fun to see how that dynamic plays out and I think people in general like seeing that.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected]