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Iowa-born band returns to Gabe's

BY JORDAN MONTGOMERY | APRIL 05, 2012 6:30 AM

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Eufórquestra's genre-blending sound melds Afrobeat, rock, funk, and more. With its new live album, Let Us In, music lovers can relive the group's shows long after the musicians leave Iowa City this weekend.

The band, whose roots are in Iowa City, will perform with Roster McCabe at 9 p.m. on Saturday at Gabe's, 330 E. Washington St. Admission is $10.

Eufórquestra fans know to expect something different at the group's live shows. The band has surprised audiences with entire sets covering the Talking Heads. And Eufórquestra has even been joined onstage by notable musicians like Kyle Hollingsworth of the String Cheese Incident and Page McConnell of Phish.

But saxophonist Austin Zalatel said that despite the group's unpredictability, a few things can be expected at a Eufórquestra show.

"Lots of high energy, positive music that encourages dancing," he said. "Excellent musicianship, showmanship, and 'personship,' if that's even a word."

Eufórquestra's current tour comes shortly after the release of its latest album, Let Us In. After nearly a decade together, Let Us In is the band's first live album.

Newer members bassist Ben Soltau and keyboardist Matt Wright had not yet joined Eufórquestra when the band recorded The Adventures of Glen Devey in 2005, Explorations in Afrobeat in 2006, or Soup in 2009.

One of the reasons the band wanted to record Let Us In was to show off its new talent.

 "We really liked the way the shows had been going," guitarist Mike Tallman said. "Because of [the new members], we feel like the live show had really been better than it ever had before. We wanted to capture that and be able to bring it to people."

After Iowa City-based recording engineer John Svec recorded nine Eufórquestra's shows, the band decided that tracks from shows at Fort Collin's Aggie Theatre and Davenport's Redstone Room would work best for the new album.

From those recordings, the band members created a mix of what they considered good representation of the live shows they perform. The album includes tunes from Eufórquestra's own catalogue and songs borrowed from classic bands, such as a cover of a Beatle's song and a portion of Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond."

"It has at least one track from each of our studio albums," Tallman said. "And there's some stuff that's totally spontaneous at the shows where they were recorded, like big percussion break in the middle of our song "Soup" because the percussionist from the Chicago Afrobeat Project jumped on stage to play with us that night."

In part, it's Eufórquestra's spontaneity that brings people to its shows.

"Everything we do onstage is directly related to the energy we're getting from the crowd," Tallman said. "And what comes back at them, it could be anything."


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