Other Black

Saturday Night - 8:30pm to 9:15pm @ Aggie Theatre | All Ages

Empowering Soulful Dancey

Musician Wes Watkins always lands on his feet -- usually with a trumpet in hand and surrounded by a band creating a sound you love but haven't quite heard before. For Wes, it’s always been about creating music that unites people who might not even really see each other, let alone groove together. His music comes from a uniquely American experience, shaped as much by performing with Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats to a standing ovation on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, as by what he learned playing for strangers on the streets of Denver or New Orleans early in his career, at times homeless.
Wes creates a sound and a moment in time where people can “experience and celebrate themselves in the music, because if we can be comfortable in our own skin, we can be comfortable with others,” as he said in a recent interview.
While he’s earned a reputation for genius with horns, playing with groups like Air Dubai and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (he wrote many of the horn lines that gave the Night Sweats their exuberant sound), Wes is actually a multi-instrument prodigy, writing for and playing guitar, keyboards and drums. He calls bringing talented musicians together his “superpower,” and is putting that power to work for his own band project, Other Black -- with its first album due out in 2017.
Described roughly as “if Outkast jammed with Sly and the Family Stone today,” Other Black brings the vibe of ‘60s and ‘70s Motown and Philly into the 21st Century with a wall of sound created by keyboards, guitars, horns and lush vocal harmonies -- a groove both familiar and new in the best way. “If it doesn't have soul, it doesn't belong on stage," he says. Watkins is the living and breathing sound of soul, a nod to generations past and yet inescapably current and new -- even his saddest songs are danceable.
Other Black’s distinct and exciting hooks bring together Wes’ musical roots in rhythm and blues, hip-hop, funk, gospel, soul and even classic jazz, honed while he was training at the Denver School of the Arts.