I used to have delusions of being a rockstar before coming to terms with the fact that I lacked talent and drive, eventually figuring out I just wanted the party. So I adjusted expectations and realized the most rockstar thing to do would be to forget learning an instrument and just party.
Amoramora, a Boulder based multipurpose rock and jazz fusion quartet, doesn’t share my rockstar delusions. They’re actually doing it. Colorado, and Boulder specifically, has been a breeding ground for famous jam acts like Leftover Salmon and The String Cheese Incident. Amoramora has emerged from this dynamic scene, booking a show on May 11th at Boulder’s most iconic venue, the Fox Theater. The Fox, a Coloradan cultural monument, was recently hailed by Rolling Stone as the fourth best music venue in the country. “It’s our biggest show ever” concedes Eric Levine, bassist and vocalist.
I joined Levine and Danny Evans, lead guitarist and vocalist, over steaks at their house after they’d wrapped up band practice. “We’re still pictured as kids in the Boulder jam scene,” says Evans, “Every scene needs some kids.” They know selling out The Fox won’t be easy. “If someone tells you you’re not going to do something, you’re going to do it. Enough people told us we couldn’t do it. Oh yeah, we’re going to fucking do it,” says Evans.
Evans, a firm believer in Ayrurveda, an alternative medicine derived from yoga, believes himself to be in the Pitta classification of the three Doshas (mind-body types). The Pitta is defined as someone who, if they work hard enough, will get what they want. So far it’s been hard to argue with him. At 24, he worked at a grocery store writing set lists and booking gigs for the band in between bagging groceries. Evans put in his two weeks and subsequently devoted himself fully to Amoramora, serving as a marketer, graphic designer, set designer and pseudo manager. This was a year ago, when Levine was begging his friends to see his band at local Boulder dive bars and house parties. Now they’re about to embark on a national tour and are verging on selling out the Fox Theater.
Evans comes from Virginia and draws from “Bluegrass, kind of Country Western, Southern Rock.” But after finding out his parents credit card was linked to iTunes, he bought a live version of Phish’s “Heavy Things” and the studio version of “Farmhouse” and hasn’t looked back since. Levine, a college music major, grew up in Ohio and studied under “old school jazz gurus in Cleveland” as a kid. After their previous bass player left the band, Levine offered to step in, despite not playing the bass. Evans was more than skeptical. Levine mastered it within six months. Tommy Veronesi, drummer, grew up in Chicago and produced hip-hop before attending CU Boulder and making his way around campus jam sessions, eventually joining up with Evans and forming Amoramora. Michael Lenssen, their keyboardist, also plays an electronic clarinet called the Ewi or “electric wind instrument,” that gives them a distinct sound that many in the scene believe could push them over the edge. All four serve as composers.
The diverse background of their members has helped Amoramora standout in the over saturated Boulder jam scene. Their exact place in the genre is hard to pin down. “If anything is consistent, it’s our lack of consistency” says Levine. This may be part of the draw. Admittedly, they get bored quickly, which lends to their eclectic sound. If they feel like they’re leaning too much into a trance groove they’ll hop over to some funk in their next show before trying a drum break down in the same spot a night later. They resent what they refer to as jam bands cashing in on the scene with watered down radio hits containing catchy and predictable choruses. All four members are in it for the live experience, preferring twenty minute deep jams. “We like live bands. We all believe music is meant to be heard live” says Levine. So that’s what they’ve done. Recently, they’ve made a mad dash to venues around Colorado and it’s neighboring states, sometimes playing upwards of five shows a week.
They showed me what they’ve been using to make that mad dash: Evans’ four runner and the 6×10 Wells Cargo trailer that they hitch to it. If they sell out The Fox, a daunting feat they’ve nearly accomplished as of the writing of this article, they’ll purchase a school bus that they’ll renovate into an RV for their upcoming nation wide tour. The lack of “comfort is what’s going to kick you off the road” says Evans. Being stuck in Evans’ four runner next to Sam, the band dog, for long road trips could be cause for discomfort. But if their increasing following of “Amorheads” and “Amorons”, as their fans are affectionately called, is any indication, it seems like they’ll be getting that bus.
Listen to Amoramora: