Sasquatch sighting at Tahoe: The Motet melts the slush

Tahoe Onstage
The colorful Lyle Divinsky bursts onstage.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Tim Parsons

As if The Motet needed to add intrigue to the wound-up audience, the band opened with an instrumental song before introducing its whirling dervish of a lead singer, Lyle Divinsky.

In Lake Tahoe onstage at elevation 6,300 feet, Divinsky sang “So High,” kicking a cord with his big foot and stomping a set list into a trampled wad as he smiled and danced about. That explains why he’s nicknamed “The Sasquatch of Soul.”

It wasn’t so long ago when Divinsky’s musical platform was in a New York City subway, where he busked for his meal money – a good way to develop a stage presence. He’s been with The Boulder-based septet for more than a year, joining at the same time as tenor saxophonist Drew Sayers.

Tahoe Onstage
The Motet play before a packed Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room on Feb. 3.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

Divinsky said it was great to return to the venue, which The Motet visits almost every year. The band was formed in 1998 and only drummer Dave Watts remains from the original lineup. The sound started with an Afro-Cuban vibe but it has changed over the years with the personnel.

On a slushy Sierra Nevada night, Divinsky quickly worked up a sweat.

“It may be cold outside but it’s hot up here,” he said.

The Motet, a collection that could be called the Colorado Chill Harmonic, offered the enthusiastic crowd of nearly 700 a variety of musical styles such as funk, jam and even disco.

It played six tunes from its 2016 album, “The Totem.”

Led by the powerful rhythm section of Watts and the band’s longtime bassist, Garrett Sayers, the musicianship was extraordinary and the Crown Room quickly filled with a dancing crowd. Keyboardist Joey Porter was in a playful mood, The Motet Horns – Drew Sayers and Gabe Mervine – popped and punched soul and guitarist Ryan Jalbert changed his tone and delivery to match the style of each tune. Jalbert bopped to the music moving just his fingers and neck muscles, tipping his head from side to side, a restrained contrast to the frenzied frontman.

-Tim Parsons

Related story: ‘The Truth’ about Lyle Divinsky. LINK

  • ‘An Evening with The Motet’
    Feb. 3, 2017
    Crystal Bay Casino
    Just Around The Corner
    So High
    Ain’t No Way
    Like We Own It
    Jam
    The Fountain
    Extraordinary
    Back It Up
    Fool No More
    The Truth
    Party Down
    Know It Too Well
    Rippin’ Herb
    Damn!
    Danger
    Keep On Closed
    Encore
    Mighty

    Tahoe Onstage
    Dave Watts has always been the driving force behind The Motet.
    Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
    Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
    Lake Tahoe is enlightened with the sounds of Drew Sayers, left, Gabe Mervine and Ryan Jalbert.
    Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage
    Mainstays of The Motet: Garrett Sayers, left, and Joey Porter.

    Tahoe Onstage photo by Tim Parsons
    Lyle ‘The Sasquatch of Soul’ Divinsky and The Motet rock Crystal Bay on Feb. 3.
    Tahoe Onstage photo by Tim Parsons

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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