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The Buzz is a melting pot band

They’re musically a melting pot band with a melting pot story of coming together. The five-piece, Denver/Front Range-based The Buzz formed member by member, partly by audition, partly by chance meeting and random luck. Bass player and vocalist Methiah Miller had been traveling back and forth between his new home of Colorado and his old home of Ohio when he started playing music with keyboardist Stephen Hardt. When Miller was taking another trip to return to the West, Hardt came with him. Upon returning to this side of the Mississippi, they started looking for other players, and it was a Phish T-shirt that helped things land in place.

This weekend, The Buzz are in the Southwest for a two-show run, performing tonight at Motel Soco in Pagosa Springs with P.J. Moon, and Saturday at the Animas City Theatre with Liver Down the River.

“It was just waiting for the right people,” Miller said. “My fiance works at a bar, and she had complimented Jason (Flinn, vocals and guitar) on his Phish shirt. They got to talking, and she mentioned I was looking for a guitar player. So some of it was just luck of the draw. Then when it did come to the point of needing a drummer, we held auditions. But we also had mutual friends connecting us, and it all fell together so well.”

Band members come from all parts of the country; both Miller and keyboardist Stephen Hardt are from Ohio; guitar player Carter Burgess is from New York; Flinn from the Washington, D.C., area; and drummer Tom Nelson is from Philadelphia. While all band members bring different musical influences, everything from a love of folkie, singer-songwriters to a love of jazz and funk, one similar influence is the jam. The Buzz are drifting, genre-mashing, switch-gears on a dime, psychedelia-influenced jam-band, where musical improvisation has a major impact in the design of their sound. They like taking musical chances, letting a guitar or keyboard solo charge ahead of the song with an unknown destination; that nod for improvisation also found its way into naming the band.

“The Buzz is a play on words for bees, but it’s also that sense of euphoria you get when you listen to music,” Miller said. “I feel like as a musician, I really experience that the most in those improvisational moments, when I’m taking that risk. That’s a high like no other, like no drug. And you hear musicians talking about it, that for me is what the buzz is, that feeling during that improvisation.”

If you go

WHAT: Rock, funk and jam with Liver Down the River and The Buzz.

WHEN: 9 p.m. (doors open at 8) Saturday.

WHERE: Animas City Theatre, 128 E. College Drive.

TICKETS: $18, available online at https://bit.ly/3BFu0YG.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit animascitytheatre.com or call 799-2281.

The Buzz are forging head first into the fertile jam-band scene that exists throughout Denver and up and down the Front Range. Colorado and Denver specifically have a love of the jam-bands, likely starting up when rock-improv and jam-band kings The Grateful Dead made their Red Rocks debut in 1978, and flourishing because of Colorado’s love of the festival, while also having numerous venues throughout the city that specify in jam-band shows. The Buzz is a young band that fits right in to the rock-funk-jazz-jam scene of Denver, and their placement within said scene has been a major way to improve their chops while influencing their sound.

“I feel like jumping into the fire of the Denver jam scene in general made me a better musician,” Miller said. “I really cut my teeth here. I came here as a songwriter and really fell in love with jam bands and improvisational music. And that kind of made me grow.”

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.