Eufórquestra, The Fritz headline valley music scene

Even in the off-season, Buena Vista now provides weekly entertainment for locals and tourists alike, thanks in large part to The Lariat, which has quickly established itself as the premier music venue in the Ark Valley, providing two or more performances and a talent-laden open-mic night each week. The upcoming performances at The Lariat are no different with Eufórquestra returning for its third gig at 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, and The Fritz, from Ashville, N.C., making its debut appearance in the Ark Valley the following week.

The Eufórquestra performance will showcase the band’s original music, influenced by artists ranging from James Brown to afrobeat legend Fela Kuti. The seven-piece band’s music spans funk, reggae, soul and rock ‘n’ roll and incorporates drums, percussion, guitar, bass, keyboard, saxophone, trumpet and soulful vocals.

Originally from Iowa, Eufórquestra has been based in Denver for the past decade. Guitar frontman Mike Tallman describes their jam-packed tour schedule as high-energy and full of diversity. The Lariat is always an exciting venue with a fun crowd, he said, and the band loves to play there when they tour.

“I love experiencing new places, especially different types of foods. There’s not usually a lot of down time on a tour schedule, so my impression of the places we go is often based on the venue and show, the meal we eat and the hotel we stay in,” said Tallman. “We love the venue and the crowd in BV. The vibe is always really nice and we love coming back to play for the crowd there.”

The band’s name is a combination of the words euphoria and orchestra, described as energy and rhythm personified. Recently completing their fifth studio album, Fire, produced by Kyle Hollingsworth of The String Cheese Incident, there is no sign of their funky zest or fortitude slowing down. This full-length album once again blends the sounds of funk, soul, afrobeat and dub, bringing a modern twist to their musical roots.

“We have pretty diverse musical backgrounds between all our members, so everyone brings different influences to the table,” Tallman said. “We try to bring a high-energy show to our live performances. They’re a mix of a lot of different styles and sounds and the main goal is to make people dance!”

An exciting addition to an evening of Eufórquestra’s unforgettable music is Buena Vista’s annual pub crawl. As a casual celebration of the winter season, the pub crawl is for interested parties to experience a dose of all the evening merriment the town offers, ending at The Lariat with the band’s performance. Just like a game of five card draw, each pub crawl “player” will receive a card at each stop, and the best hand will win a variety of prizes, including a $50 gift card to House Rock Kitchen.

The crawl begins at 5 p.m. at House Rock with half off all draft beers then makes its way to The Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar for stein pours of Bierstadt Helles. The crawl will the make its way to Deerhammer Distilling Co. for special deals on craft whiskey and spirits. The Lariat is the last stop of the night, giving crawlers a perfect end to their evening with Eufórquestra’s dance music. For more details about the pub crawl, check out the official Buena Vista Pub Crawl Facebook event.

On Feb. 24, The Lariat does it again with another music-filled Saturday night and the Ark Valley debut of North Carolina band The Fritz. Another band that makes it easy to stay on your feet and dance to the beat, The Fritz emits soul-driven, danceable rock.

These road warriors perform around 90 to 100 shows a year, captivating music lovers by channeling sounds from Prince to Talking Heads. Band manager and percussionist Mikey Spice said The Fritz feeds off the energy of the crowd and loves to create the ultimate dance party.

“This is our first time in Colorado as a band, and we have heard so many great things about the music scene, so we’re excited to finally make our way out there,” he said. “Usually what I tell fans to expect is a really ripping show of original music and a really tight rhythm section, awesome grooves, powerful vocals, great guitar solos and a lot of crazy synthesizers and funk.”

The five-member band met while attending college at the University of North Florida and came together from musical backgrounds ranging from classical and jazz to singing church hymns on Sundays. Last September, they released their second album, Natural Mind, which will be highlighted throughout their Lariat show. As devoted, enthusiastic artists, the musicians of The Fritz have already begun writing and collaborating on their next feature album, and will include some of those songs in The Lariat show.

Spice elaborates on the excitement of finally bringing their music to Colorado and especially getting to perform in Buena Vista and the Rockies. Their approach to funk and soul gives listeners a unique experience in entertainment. As musicians who spend a majority of time on the road, the band loves being able to make new friends all over the country and enjoy regional foods, Spice said. They are always finding new influences for their writing from the people they meet and the intensity of the crowd.

“I feel more comfortable on stage now than I do being in a crowd,” Spice said. “It is just an absolute joy to see the connections people are making in the crowd while I get to play music for them. I feel more like a facilitator in that element.”