The Fort Collins-based band Euforquestra wears many musical hats. Unafraid of a musical challenge and willing to experiment and change things up, if the genre hat fits, they’ll put it on and style it to the best of their ability. World-beat, Afro-Cuban, Afrobeat, reggae, dub, rock or funk, they keep a hand in it all while keeping an ear to the ground for whatever sounds they may want to take on down the line.
Euforquestra will perform tonight (Friday) at the Animas City Theatre, a makeup show from when they were snowed-out back in February; opening the show will be local ska band Busters Ghost.
The chameleon motif stems from band members never having a set mission or diehard dedication to a particular style, but a willingness to learn and explore. They began as a pseudo Afrobeat band in Iowa, an unlikely place for a bunch of college student musicians who were diving head-first into the music of Fela Kuti. However, being students of, and more importantly, fans, there’s an underlying drive and need to explore.
“We’ve gone in lots of different directions. We released a record in 2006 that was Afrobeat fused with this Afro-Cuban music we’d been studying; that album was an academic study for us; it was music that’s very foreign to us, but we dove in, tried to do it justice and show it the respect it deserved,” said guitar player Mike Tallman. “We weren’t setting out to be an Afrobeat band. So, we’ve gone through phases where sometimes we’re playing reggae and dub, or sometimes we’ll be focused on straight-ahead funk music. A couple years ago, we did a whole show of Led Zeppelin; that’s school of rock right there. The reason we’ve had phases and eclectic tastes as a band is we’ve been open to trying anything along the way. Let’s try it, and if it works, it works, and if it doesn’t we’ll move onto the next thing.”
Iowa was never going to be a permanent home for the band. Early shows in Colorado proved that mountain towns with a large number of fans who latch on to high-energy, percussive and horn-heavy music were ready to adopt Euforquestra as their own. A 2008 show at the now defunct venue The Summit had people bouncing off the walls and dancing as if it was their last night on Earth; Durango and other towns in the state latched on, leading the band to move to the Front Range in 2008 for both business and pleasure.
“We started coming to Colorado in 2006 and made a lot of friends right away. We played Durango and felt a connection there” said Tallman. “On our very first tour in 2006, we met and opened for the Motet in Snowmass and immediately hit it off with those guys. So, our second trip the following summer they had us open at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. We just started making a lot of friends; it was a good thing for the band, but it was also a whole lifestyle thing, too. There are so many opportunities to play just within the state of Colorado, with more places to play than your average state.”
Currently, the band is releasing a steady stream of singles. While the band still hints around at Afrobeat and Afro-Cuban, the driving musical force is funk that can find itself wandering in whatever musical direction the band deems worthy.
“I think one thing about music is there’s no peak to the mountain,” Tallman said. “You can be a master of something and then there is still something else you can move on to.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.