Hot Soup returns to Steamboat tonight and Saturday |

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Hot Soup returns to Steamboat tonight and Saturday

Hot Soup

— Matt Flaherty, lead guitarist in the Boulder-based band Hot Soup, has traveled thousands of miles and through a host of life experiences to become a professional musician.

"It's not like I'm making a killing with money, that's for damn sure," Flaherty said. "But I've always known that. I didn't go to school for music thinking I was going to have this great job out of school. There are a lot of challenges."

But as a high school rock star in Connecticut, he couldn't imagine doing anything else.

"Anybody, if you have all these musicians you like and you get to see them rock out, that makes you excited, so to be put in the other role is really awesome," he said.

The classically trained jazz musicians turned rockers comprising Hot Soup will warm up The Tugboat Grill & Pub this weekend with shows tonight and Saturday. Both events start at about 9:30 p.m. and cost $5 at the door.

The band formed about three years ago in Boulder and includes Flaherty on guitar, Adrian Engfer on bass, Mirco Altenbach on saxophone and keyboards, and Paul Kemp on drums.

They've been playing in Steamboat for about two years, a trip the band always enjoys making.

"We always just go crazy up in Steamboat," Flaherty said. "That house they give us to stay in … we've had some interesting times."

When the band first got together through the saturated network of Front Range musicians, they played a gig almost right away.

There were no catastrophes that night, Flaherty said, but their sound has come a long way from their first romp on the Conor O'Neil's stage in Boulder.

"It was much more instrumental then," he said. "We played more like jazz funk than we do now. But we started writing songs, and they just came out this way. I guess we stopped trying to be something and played what just came."

What came out was a multitude of sounds, from swinging ska beats of the 1990s to decidedly jam band-esque song structures.

The brightness of the brass and up-tempo tendencies lend themselves to a rowdy live show.

"We kind of bring it up and bring it down a lot," Flaherty said. "It's always a pretty good energy, and there's a good party vibe. I think we kind of excite people and with a lot of the improvising stuff, we take it way the hell up there."

There are plenty of other bands playing out on the Front Range, so what sets Hot Soup apart?

"We're not a bunch of hippies," Flaherty said. "I'm just kidding. We definitely just don't sound like a lot of people. I mean, Phish, they're a huge influence, but we don't sound like them. I think a lot of bands cop that stuff a little too much."

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or e-mail