The first day of the CHUN Capitol Hill People’s Fair was warm, smelled like fried food, and teemed with folks seeking good entertainment. One of the favorite acts of the day was local funk/rock band Funkiphino (pronounced “funk if I know”), performing high-energy dance music. They have been a popular cover band in the area for years but have started work on their first set of original songs for an upcoming CD. They were enthusiastically received by perspiring fairgoers.
Headlining at the end of the evening was Jockamo, a collection of musicians with diverse backgrounds having more fun than should be allowed playing great Zydeco, reggae, and blues. Jockamo is fronted by veteran vocalist Jeri Yaussi and accordion guru Richard Johnson. Bringing a bit of the rockin’ bayou to Denver, they kept the waning audience in earshot until the end, clapping and ba-hooing for more.
Day two was hotter, smellier, and more crowded. Craft sales were brusque as people came prepared to buy everything from napalm-quality salsa to huge watercolor paintings.
Mary Beth Abella
As the sun kept watch directly overhead, Mary Beth Abella and her band took the Cricket stage by storm. Fans shouted from the few patches of shade as they rocked. Mary Beth’s catchy, complex songwriting is a little Alanis with a shred of Shawn Colvin, but darker and subtler. She surrounded herself with talented musicians on electric guitar, drums, and her brother on bass.
By the time Wendy Woo began to play, a very hot, dehydrated crowd had gathered to cheer her on. Hard core fans danced down front while others watched up to a block away. Music from her new release, Gonna Wear Red, sparked many a new fan to talk to the friendly folk rocker after the set and she sold an entire box of CDs.
Vocalist and percussionist MaggieJack played at the acoustic stage. Their Latin-beat rock was fun and danceable, and lead vocalist Lisa laughed and joked with the audience. Liz Clark also made an appearance at that stage, cramming her band under the tent for a spirited set. She travels between the electric guitar and her keyboard like she’s been doing it all 21 years of her life.
Towards the end of the day, Katelyen Benton and her band, all high school age, impressed the gathered crowd with their talent and energy. From Salida, CO, they make it to Denver once a month in the summer, when school is not in session. Their sophisticated rock sound with reggae and jazz influence shows off Katelyn’s powerful, fearless voice. They played a couple covers to get people in the mood, then launched keyboardist Katelyn’s originals off their album.
The sunburns and spent cash were worth the fantastic lineup of artists, and from the size of the crowds watching, everyone went away happy. For more information visit www.peoplesfair.com