Thursday, January 1, 2004
The guys that are Bill Smith discussed which song they would open with for the first set last Saturday night.
They also wondered how many people would show. Keyboardist Ryan Chamlin asked me if I thought many people would attend.
Bassist Ean Smith wanted to know, too.
I told him I was sure the place would be packed.
It was their first show in more than two months, and 13,700 tourists were estimated to be in town. It would be packed, I told them.
Backstage before the show, the guys also mentioned press coverage, i.e. our fellow feature writer Autumn Phillips and her comment in last Friday's 4-Points: "The band is going to make it big. Just ask them."
The four musicians and several friends laughed at the comment. Drummer Eric Schuemann brought up a hypothetical: If someone walked up to the guys and asked, how would they respond?
"Yeah, we were going to play for the queen of England, just after Dank (the guitarist) got knighted," Schuemann joked, receiving a loud cackling response from friends. "We just decided to come back and play Levelz for kicks. We could have had 'Sir Dank' in the band."
Bill Smith is one of the most talented bands to come out of Steamboat in the 10 1/2 months I've lived here. It takes guts to come out and play nothing but original songs for two hours.
The Bill Smith crew stepped onto the stage and raged the entire time, each member driving each other's playing in all directions. While Chamlin pounded on his high-tech keyboard, he often opted for acoustic piano, evoking emotion in nearly every song.
And Dank had the crowd jumping.
Bill Smith has the ability to clear the mind of all thoughts and stress, so the listener is solely focused on the music -- like a deep meditation.
The band also had mellow moments, providing a spiritual aspect to the music.
After some hip-hop infused funk with Cody Smith (aka DJ Cocheze) on turntables, the band took a break. They talked to people in the small crowd for a few minutes and then went backstage.
Not many people showed up for the return of Bill Smith.
It was a shame. Where were the locals who have been praising the work of Bill Smith?
Although Bill Smith was a little let down by the poor turnout, Ean Smith said: "Let's just go out there and have fun."
After a 10-minute break, Bill Smith re-took the stage.
The second set was funkafied. People appeared to be having a great time, and the band did, too. Its groove got so intense, the dance floor bent with the movements of the dancers.
Bill Smith has extraordinary talent. These are true artists who listen to each other and feed off each other as did jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk and Charles Mingus. They invoke the tribal rhythms of American Indian, Latino and Caribbean musicians and summon the spirit.